After a trip from Lake Atitlán via Chichicastenango (where we visited the market and did test our bargaining skills), we arrived in Antigua on Thursday evening.
Antigua was founded in 1543 and served as the colonial capital for Guatemala during over 200 years. The city is nestled between three volcanoes and with its cobbled streets, colourful houses and colonial buildings it is a favourite place with many tourists. There are also hundreds of language schools all over the place and therefore you meet a lot of students from all over the world as well.
I really liked this charming city and could have stayed on for a bit longer.....

Catedral de Santiago, dating from 1542, which was damaged by earthquakes many times and only partially rebuild in the 18th century.

Palacio de los capitanes (old governmental center)
Iglesia de la Merced

Lake Atitlán

Our next stop was in Panajachel, at the beautiful lake Atitlán. The lake is surrounded by three volcanoes and we also made a boat tour and visited some villages around the lake.

Two local men in their traditional outfit

Fiesta in one of the villages at the lake

On the road to Guatemala

On Monday July 23, we traveled from San Cristóbal de Las Casas across the border into Guatemala. It was a very interesting trip with some rides on so called "chicken buses" to Quetzaltenango, where we stayed for one night.
Have a look at the very colorful old school buses from the US, which were converted into public buses in Guatemala; what great fun!


Mayan Villages around San Cristóbal

In the meantime I have joined my tour group and we have quite an interesting mix!

Including the guide we are 10 people (with one exception all female) and we also have quite a few nationalities represented:
- Tour leader is Greek
- 3 girls from Switzerland
- 2 girls from the UK
- 1 mother and here son from South Korea
- 1 Canadian girl and 1 girl from Ireland
We will travel in this group until the end of next week (Antigua in Guatemala), then a few more people will join for the second part of the trip until Costa Rica.

On Saturday we had the chance to visit some Mayan Villages around the hills of San Cristóbal. We first stopped in Zinacantán, where we visited the house of a local family and could see how they produce very colourful carpets, wall hangers and blouses.

We then stopped in San Juan Chamula, where they have a colourful (catholic) church where the local Tzotzil population performs their ancient Mayan rituals. It is not allowed to take pictures inside the church but we could observe the ceremonies, which they carry out sitting on the pine needle covered church floor, chanting their blessings, drinking coke and using eggs and chickens to keep the evil spirits away. Quite an amazing sight indeed........

San Juan Chamula

Family home in Zinacantán


Back in San Cristóbal

After almost two weeks of travelling together with Lara, our ways departed yesterday. While Lara is continuing here trip to Tulum and Mérida, I returned to San Cristóbal, where I will join a group and participate in a three weeks tour through Central America.
Our trip will take us to the South of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and into Costa Rica. Watch out for some updates on this site soon....

Tikal (Guatemala)

From Palenque we continued the next morning to Tikal in Guatemala. The trip by taxi, boat across the river bordering México and Guatamala and then by bus to Flores took almost a full day and was quite an adventure itself.

On Wednesday morning we had to get up early again, as we were leaving our hotel in Flores at 3:30 am(!) in order to be at the ruins of Tikal in time for the sunrise. The unique atmosphere in the jungle at this early morning hour was well worth it....

Tikal was only rediscovered in 1848 and is nowadays a Unesco World Heritage site. During its prime time around the mid 6-th century, Tikal spread over 30 sq km and had a population of about 100'000 people.

Early morning in the jungle of Tikal

On the way to Guatemala...

From San Cristóbal to Palenque

We started the week very early and left San Cristóbal on Monday morning at 6:00 am to visit Agua Azul, Misol-Ha and finally in the afternoon the Mayan ruins in Palenque.

The Mayan site of Palenque was first occupied around 100 BC and it's prime time was around 600-700 AD, during the reign of king Pakal. Palenque was abandoned around 900 AD and was only rediscovered in 1773, after having been completely hidden in the jungle.

Waterfall of Misol-Ha

Waterfalls of Agua Azul

Cañón del Sumidero

On Sunday we made a trip to the Cañón del Sumidero, where you can take a boat ride and admire the 1'000 meter high cliffs, see some birds and and crocodiles.....

can you spot the crocodile?