A Travellerspoint blog

Guatemala

Crossing from Guatemala to Mexico

Sneaking between the Cartels

sunny 93 °F

Our crossing from Guatemala to Mexico included a minibus, boat, taxi, and another minibus. After all the bus hijacking stories we read about, to say we were a little nervous, is an understatement. We had traveled so far over 51 borders without any problems, and we were hoping that our last border crossing would be a smooth one.
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We stamped out of Guatemala and enjoyed a pleasant 30 minute boat ride down the river to the Mexican immigration station. Why the cities don’t have their immigration directly across the river is a mystery to us.
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Thankfully our over preparation and stashing of our valuables was in excess and we made it safely without a hitch. Unless you count the bus driver stopping at his house for a quick bite to eat, or waiting in a gas station to meet up with his buddy’s truck load of passengers.
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Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 06:50 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Flores, Guatemala

A tourist hamster wheel

sunny 95 °F

The first day we walked around Flores, we found the water’s edge and strolled along looking at the shops. . . eventually we ended up right back where we started! We took advantage of this by running laps around the island (each taking slightly less than 10 minutes). The island is mostly for tourists, with all of the colonial streets filled with hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops. However, a short tuk tuk ride away and we were in the heart of a bustling market and the most delicioso banana bread we have ever had!
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We then discovered where the locals ate, and we were in a schmorgusborg heaven! Every evening, 6 or so ladies set up food stalls that looked like an supersized bake sale on the water front. They sold tortas, burritos, tacos, tamales, and our new favorite way to cook a banana: plantains stuffed with frijoles and topped powdered sugar!
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At the supermarket we saw the biggest bag of refried beans, which gave us a real chuckle.
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We also stumbled on a brand new mall between the island and the city that was pretty fancy for the neighborhood, but we didn’t mind the air-conditioning or the Mayan artwork.
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Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 06:50 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

El Remate (Tikal), Guatemala

On top of the Mayan world

overcast 96 °F

This ancient city once dominated the landscape of the ancient Mayan Kingdom. We stayed a few days near the ruins in the small village of El Remate and took some time to enjoy the tranquility of lake.
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We headed into Tikal at 3:30 in the morning so we could make our way up to the top of Temple IV before sunrise. The howler monkeys were out in full force, echoing throughout the forest. it was a truly an amazing experience to look over the ancient Mayan world from atop the tallest of the Mayan temples.
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Navigating through the masses of complexes took about 6 hours, at which point had seen about 90% of the uncovered complexes and an abundance of wildlife. There are so many animals in the park that this place should actually be marketed as a nature park! Scientists have counted more than 3,000 individual structures at Tikal, and lots of them still appear as mounds of dirt and trees that could still contain some important undiscovered artifacts.
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Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 06:50 Archived in Guatemala Comments (1)

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