Guatemala – Maya and Mountains

I wake up and hear steps outside. Somebody is walking arround the camper. Guatemala generally does not have camp grounds and RV parks. So we ended up in a public park next to a lagoon near San Cristobal Verapaz. When I opened the Velcro window I see a cow walking close by and feel relieved. While people are mostly friendly and welcoming , I do feel a bit on the edge,if we are not sleeping in a secured parking area. The difference between rich and poor is just so extreme here that the historical social unrest seems deeply embedded in Guatemala.Just that evening we talked to Udo from Germany who drove by in his Porsche with his wife ,originally from San Christobal where they still own a hotel. In Coban we walked through the glizzy mall ,just like in the bay area. While 10 minutes outside town , Mayan families live of a few dollars a day . Women with water, vegetable bags or laundry walk alongside the steep roads. Man and boys walk with large bundles of wood on the back and a rope arround the forehead to help with the head to balance the heavy load. The veggies, live chickens and fruit,needs to be brought to the village on market days,and small pickups are filled with people and goods. The major highways we have been driving suddenly loose pavement, stop at a river to use a ferry or had been washed away in last rains and must be surrounded offroad. Our first week in Guatemala we had spent at lake Peten Itza (in Flores and El Remate ) and Tikal, the impressive Mayan city in the jungle. Now in the Coban area in the highlands, we visit the beautiful mountain town of Lanquin and the natural limestone pools in Semuc Champey. The roads become so steep and narrow ,that we also take a collectivo, small 4×4 trucks where you stand on the back in a metal cage to hold on for dear life.But what a reward , natural swimming pools and waterfalls along a deeply cut gorge. We are exhausted every night from our adventures….all the impressions, nature and our attempts to have conversations in Spanish. Life is good!

3 thoughts on “Guatemala – Maya and Mountains”

  1. Spectacular and real photos. Great cenote experiences you describe. Want to return just to do that! Reminds of the resonances with Ixchel. (The name that Stu and Mags gave babygirl.

  2. Even in established campsites in the U.S. I am always a little on edge at night. We don’t have a roof-top tent or a pop-up camper, instead, we have a 15-year-old dome tent that I will use until it dies! I hate that tent and I love that tent, but that’s beside the point. When we are camping around others, we try to do little things to help make sleeping a little easier. I keep my car keys on me so I can trigger the car alarm and scare away invading creatures (mostly raccoons and black bears where we live). I also keep a hatchet under my pillow. A hatchet in hand when a couple of drunks drive up to your camp sends a pretty clear message to move on. If it’s legal (and it isn’t always) mace or pepper spray can be an effective deterrent too.

    Vehicle security can also be a problem too. In the summer we run a soft-top on our Wrangler, which means we have to worry about break-ins from vandals or animals. We haven’t worked out a solution to that just yet.

    All that being said we try not to let these concerns bother us. We often camp in remote locations that very few people even know exist and as a result, we seldom ever have a problem.

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