Guatemala

While we were in Guatemala we were travelling with a lovely Australian couple, Alex and Vanessa, in their camper van. So we didn’t use public transport or hostels throughout

Destinations Visited

  • Tikal
  • Flores
  • Las Conchas
  • Coban
  • Semuc Champey
  • Antigua
  • Lake Attitlan

Tikal

Layin in the Guatemalen rainforest is Tikal one of the ancient mayan ruins. This site is more impressive and less crowded than chichen itza.

Its best getting an early start to avoid the crowds and heat. We started around 6am and there was hardly anyone there. The site is massive and it can take a while to get around the whole thing. Recently a young american boy actually discovered another ruin on google maps as he recognised the site matched a star constilation and that there should be another ruin in a certain spot. Which there was and now they are doing work to restore it

Tikal ruins

Flores

This is a really cool little town out on the water. Good place to do some relaxing. The lake doesn’t look to appealing to swim in but we are told you can.
A good cafe we found was Cool beans cafe, free wifi, good food and chill out area

One habit the locals seem to have is every morning they set off firecrackers at 5am! Not conducive to sleeping in

Las Conchas (Oasis Chiyu)

As we were travelling in a camper van, we were able to access places that are generally difficult to visit if you are using public transport, which make its much more off the beaten path and your limited spanish knowledge needs to step up

Las conchas was a place we read about where there is a small village on a river and apparently a nice waterfall. So we decided to give it a go as it was a good stopping point between Flores and Coban

We arrived and went for a swim in the river, checked out the waterfall and relaxed. Alex did some impromptu english lessons with some local kids. We also saw a scorpion on the way back to the camper van.

When back at the camper van we had a local guy offer us a homemade dinner which we greatfully accepted. Later when it was getting dark he gave us warnings of ‘Los Colombians’ chopping people’s heads off. Great! local Colombians apparently have been around and chopping people’s heads off. Just what we want to hear now its kind of to dark to leave and negotiate the roads we came in on
He told us if anyone knocks on the camper van windows or doors, pretend you are not there and don’t answer.

We were pleased to wake up with our heads still attached

Waterfall at Las Conchas

Cobán

It was going to be too difficult to drive the camper van to Semuc champey so we decided to stay in Coban and catch public transport from there. We stayed in national park in town next to playground. There is a nice little bush walk in the national park which took about an hour. We wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to visit this town

Locals on their way to school

Semuc champey

It’s a crazy road from lanquin to get to Semuc champey. Steep and narrow gravel roads on cliff edges. We decided to go to semuc champey for the amazing waterfall and tubing down the river. We didn’t realise the better tubing is actually down the road in Lanquin. We mistakenly did tubing at Semuc instead of lanquin so it wasn’t very long

We also did a cave tour which was awesome, jumping of sides of cave, down water spouts, waterfalls all in cave. You had to navigating around the caves with a candle. Anna banged her head on rock when going through a water shoot and got swollen eye which was great for the picture later

Semuc Champey in Guatemala

Antigua

We stayed in the tourist police car park in Antigua. They let camper vans park up here for free. The only thing which wasnt ideal is they didn’t provide access to toilets or showers so we had to use the campers.

Volcano Acatango 

Top tip:

If you want great banana bread freshly baked. Every day at 2pm from, fresh warm and with butter at Dona Luisa Xicotencatl

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Market in Antigua
Volcano erupting next to Acatango

Lake Attitlan

We stayed in the camper van in Panahatchel but went in taxi boats to a few towns around the lake. There is a good jumping spot at the eco park opposite side of the lake from San Pedro as shown in the photo below. The lake water is super clear and very deep immediately, so great for swimming in if you don’t mind the deep water

There is a cool hostel in San Pedro called Zooma. Is has a kind of bohemian vibe and reaches out onto the lake.

Alex with a dive into Lake Attitlan
Local kid escaping the heat

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