Posted by: Jack | January 1, 2008

Guatemala – San Pedro to Santiago Sacatepéquez

Upon returning to our hotel after the morning’s rigorous hike of Volcán San Pedro, the plan was to relax for much of the afternoon. This proved difficult with presidential elections coming up in just a few days. The moment we collapsed into the bed for a nap, a deafening political rally filled the streets with chaos. Louder still were the joyful (but unbearable) screams of children flying kites among the webs of power lines in preparation for Todos Santos, the following day’s holiday.

The crowd dispersed as the daylight faded and we once again made a tremendous meal from leftovers and various market purchases.

A number of hours following this dinner were spent on the doorstep of our hotel conversing with other young travelers, primarily about everyones’ experiences with languages. Everyone else was from somewhere in Europe and had a non-English first language. English was typically the second language and most had a solid grasp of Spanish as well as at least one other language. Among the six people present I would guess there were over ten languages with Anna and I only contributing two which everyone else had anyway. It came as a great shock to these other travelers, that we had not been forced to learn at least a second language early on in our education. After many such encounters on this trip, I find myself disappointed about this as much as they were surprised. Now you may be thinking that I had plenty of opportunity to learn another language in school…which is true. But, the easy time to do so came well before I was given that option and when the option was actually presented, I was thirteen and had no sense of the value of such a skill.

We hit the town in search of entertainment but in true style of all things trendy in underdeveloped countries, came across a bar that was bumping Big Willie Style. On top of such ridiculousness, the club boasted a special deal like those seen at steakhouses where a courageous customer consumes some obscene quantity of food for a reward/free meal. Except here, the deal was: drink six long island iced teas and you get the seventh for free. I can’t say for certain, but I’m assuming such a promotion would be quite illegal in the states.

Many more aspects of this club turned us off and eventually we ended up just buying a liter of Sol (a beer that is similar to Carona yet superior in both price and taste) and returning to the hotel to play cards on the roof.

We woke early again the next morning and surprise, surprise…watched another gorgeous sunrise.

I ended up taking excessive photos of this rise and so many turned out well so instead of choosing one, I settled on five…but assembled them into a progressive sequence.

With remaining fruit, granola and even some yogurt which was certified in Madison, WI, we made a refreshing but massive breakfast. It may have led to the first food coma I’ve experienced which was induced primarily by fruit.

Packing up, we went to meet a bus to San Lucas but missed it by just a couple minutes. An hour later, when the next bus was to depart, we were told that no more buses would be headed for San Lucas because of the holiday. Refusing to believe this, we waited around for another hour before catching a bus which would at least take us in the direction of the main highway. As this bus climbed the walls surrounding Lake Atitlán, cornering around switchbacks that would seem tight on a bicycle, we enjoyed one last expansive view of the area.

When we reached the highway, the driver, aware of our intended destination, pointed to another bus and basically implied we should run to catch it. This convenient timing proved a bit of a mixed blessing as both of us were eager to relieve full bladders but had no choice but to immediately take what was perhaps the only bus going where we needed to go. Nearly three hours later we met the nicest young Guatemalan of the entire trip at a coffee shop where he let us use the restroom without purchase.

Our intent for this holiday was to reach the town of Santiago Sacatepéquez where an enormous kite festival takes place each year. Our guide book implied we were just over a mile away so we found the right road and started walking. About an hour later, as our packs were growing heavy, we were growing skeptical of the guidebook’s accuracy. After what was probably closer to four miles we reached the small town where the narrow streets were overflowing with those congregating for the festival.

Yellow line on the Progress Map

Next: Santiago Sacatepéquez and back to Antigua


  1. […] Next: More time in San Pedro and onto Santiago Sacatepéquez […]

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