GuatemalaPosted: August 12, 2014
James and I have been busily preparing for both our wedding and our honeymoon. Planning for an international trip can get a bit daunting, what with having to figure out even the smallest of details such as where will there be public restrooms, how much are toll roads, and how many pairs of socks we will need. The last couple of international trips we took together were a bit calmer. Our trip to Québec last September only lasted a weekend, and our trip to Guatemala in summer 2012 was easy considering that we were staying with family, I had been several times before, and I speak Spanish fluently. For the two week trip, all we had to worry about was relaxing, and having fun. Even though I had been many times when I was younger, visiting my native country as an adult and with James was absolutely wonderful.
One of our first stops was Puerto San José, where my parents own a house by the beach. We spent two days enjoying the weather, pool, and the coconuts freshly cut off the trees on the property.
On our first day, we discovered that this little crab had found it’s way into the house from the beach, and took a dip in the pool. Luckily he was quickly caught and taken back to the beach.
Through the back gate of the colorful wall, we were able to access the dark volcanic sand.
We then visited Antigua, a beautiful city that was once the capital of the country, until an earthquake destroyed many of the Spanish Baroque structures. Among the rubble, vendors have set up shop, creating a very vibrant market atmosphere.
One of the things that James found so striking were the colors that we saw all throughout the country. From the fruit, to the paint, to the textiles, and even the buses, its an entirely different color palette than you see in the United States.
The rough, discolored textures of the crumbling stone have weathered the elements for centuries, withstanding not only natural disasters, but numerous regime changes as well.
We did most of our traveling by car, which enabled us to view so much of the natural beauty of the country.
Perhaps James’ favorite place was Río Dulce. We took a boat down the river, surrounded by jungle, and docked for lunch at a restaurant with postcard views by the water.
Another stop off Río Dulce were these stalagmite caves. We took a short tour through the humid caves where we spotted some bats on the ceiling. In this photo I turned on the flash so that we could at least see something, but our only source of light inside were small flashlights that we each held.
Next we went to Tikal, my personal favorite place in Guatemala. Of course this particular view is recognizable to many around the world as the exterior location of the Rebel Base on Yavin IV in Star Wars: A New Hope.
Climbing the myriad of temple steps was exhausting, but well worth it.
At one point we reached a clearing, and suddenly saw a large gathering of these little creatures run by. One of them stayed behind the rest of his pack, so we were able to get a bit closer for a photo before he scurried off.
Aside from the natural beauty of the country, we also saw many fascinating towns and cities on our travels from destination to destination. We later visited a cemetery that looked very similar to this one with very brightly colored stone tombs.
Another location we visited was Panajachel, a small town on Lago de Atitlán with spectacular volcanic terrain.
Here you can see as the silhouette of one volcano reveals two more sitting behind it, as we travel across the lake.
On one of the last days of our trip we went to the Palacio Nacional de la Cultura, and walked around the colonial district to look at the government buildings and museums in the area. I am so glad that I was able to take James to visit my family’s country, and that my parents came with us for the lovely trip. We hope to do a lot of travelling together in our lives, and know that we will definitely return to Guatemala someday.