One week Guatemala Tour

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We crossed the Gulf of Tehuanepec with no issues. We had absolutely zero wind for the entire trip so Samadhi was a powerboat for two straight days. We saw lots and lots of turtle and dolphins and we had beautiful sunsets, sunrises and full moons both nights. So, other than listening to the engine and burning diesel the entire time, it was a great crossing. We arrived at the very industrial Port of Quetzal in the late afternoon. The Port Captain was super friendly and very helpful in directing us to the tiny marina that rarely sees visiting yachts. As we hesitantly approached the docks it seemed that all the fisherman that were working on their fishing boats stopped what they were doing and waved us in. We were more than a little unsure as the marina’s depths were uncharted and there was no sign of a sailboat or larger boat with any kind of draft such as Samadhi’s. (Draft is how deep our keel reaches below the water. Samadhi’s draft is 7 ft.) The docks were also not near long enough to fully accommodate Samadhi’s length. We yelled across the water if it was deep enough and if we would fit into their slip and we were met with a phrase we would soon be hearing a lot. “It’s O.K. no problem!” So in we went. It did make docking easier when we had no less than 7 men there to catch our dock lines with another 4 or 5 standing by in reserve if we need to be helped further. We squeezed into the slip and got tied up as best we could on the short dock. Samadhi stuck on of her slip by about 8 feet. But hey, “It’s OK, no problem”.  Everyone welcomed us to Guatemala and thanked us for visiting their country. They all let us know that if we needed anything at all that any one of them would be happy to help. It was a welcoming like none other.

Our time in Guatemala is very limited and we had grand plans for a whirlwind tour of the country. I took a taxi an hour and a half to the mountain city of Antigua and rented a minivan. By time I returned to the boat Ashley and the kids had everything ready to be loaded up for our trip. The everything included clothes for a week, swimming and dry bag gear, backpacking equipment, our good camera, Ranger, and the two cats along with everything involved with traveling with pets. Now we had heard horror stories about driving in Guatemala. The road were awful, the traffic constant, banditos robbing people, aggressive driving you name we heard it from many sources. We saw none of this. The roads were in very good shape. We did see some traffic but nothing like Seattle traffic. We saw no sign of threatening people or local residents that looked nervous, in fact we saw an above average amount of law enforcement who were very nice and surprised to see touristas driving in their country. (We talked to them at the few military or police checkpoints that we drove through). The driving could be characterized as aggressive but the long story would explain why it really is not. So the short version is, you get used to it and when you drive that way too, it seems normal and not unsafe. In short we loved the drive across the country. We drove 1700 km thru mountains, under volcanoes, along the Pacific coast, to the northern border with Mexico, to the Caribbean coast and close the southern border with El Salvador. We didn’t see it all, but we did see a large variety of terrain as well as both rural and urban areas of the country. I will go more into detail about each of our stops in the next two posts. We each loved every moment of our time in Guatemala. The food was excellent, the country breathtaking and the people were kind, always willing to help and very appreciative of us visiting. Below is a mix of pictures of our time in Guatemala. There are pictures of our arrival into the industrial port city. There are many pictures of our view from the car as we drove through the towns. And finally there are just a few pictures from the picturesque hotels that we stayed in.

Entering the Port of Quetzal
The breakwater for the port
Alexander raising the Guatemalan courtesy flag after the officials cleared us for entry
The little marina with the big, dirty and noisy neighbor
Loaded up and ready for a road trip!
Ranger and I wanted to be in the picture too
This is a Chicken Bus. Because you can bring anything on it including your chickens.
Our first hotel
Just outside the door to our first hotel was amazing gardens!
The gardens fed the staff and guests at the hotel restaurants.
The hotel donates excess crops to those in need from the local village
Exploring the grounds of the hotel
Here we are sampling some of the fresh grown peas
They also have beautiful flower gardens throughout the grounds
More flowers
Alexander loved how they matched his shirt!
We climbed a rickety fire tower on the grounds of our hotel. It took us above the jungle canopy!
Having a farm to table dinner at the hotel. This hotel was simply amazing, allowed pets and cost less than $75/night
Driving into the mountains and into rural Guatemala
Urban Guatemala
These bus waiting areas are nicely built to withstand the rainy season.
We thought it was a nice touch for the govt to build them so well and they were everywhere
Yes this is right along side the road.
We have 100s of pictures like this of lush, green farmed valleys surrounded by jungle
OK maybe there are no seatbelt laws but this was crazy and all too common to see
Some of the best bananas and plantains we have ever had were here in Guatemala
A cemetery along a hillside
The ferries across the Rio Dulce.
The walk-on ferry or one car whoever shows up first
I think that that load may exceed the manufactures recommended weight. And probably purpose, too.
Entering Guatemala City. The capitol.
More Guatemala City
Still on I-5!?! And yet lots of traffic here too!! (Get it? Pan-American Highway)
The suburbs of Guatemala City. They were beautiful with so many parks and people playing and enjoying life!
One of the many small colonial towns we passed through. Or squeezed through would be more precise.
The roads were very well signed and getting around would have been easy had we not had google maps.
Guatemalan roses come from the farms in the distance
That is not a cloud but steam from the slowly erupting volcano!
The rock in the shape of a Mayan woman has been sacred to Mayan people for centuries.
Another of Guatemala’s 37 volcanos. This one is not erupting.
Another of the quaint little villages on our route
Look kids an elephant in Guatemala!
My best buddy behind the camera on one of our little walks in nature
This is from one of the 5 passes we crossed on our trip. We were over 7000 ft in elevation!
We stopped for some fresh coconut water!
Loading up on the ferry
Alternate means of transportation in Guatemala!
Another roadside stop. This time for the world’s best grape juice. I think Ashley still has hers hidden somewhere waiting for it to ferment enough to deal with the three of us a little easier.
This was an unbelievable trip in an amazing country!

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