These cold days of winter make a perfect time to take a vacation and visit Central America. Guatemala’s seasons are opposite to ours so February can be its busiest time of year. With reasonable rates on Spirit Airlines, a round-trip ticket can cost less that $400 after taxes. So what are you waiting for? Gozamos headed down south past Mexico to visit a region no bigger than Tennessee but full of sightseeing opportunities.
After arriving at the airport, George Sansoucy and friends from George’s Travel Club greeted us at the gate. We immediately hit the ground running by visiting Guatemala City and dropping in on their National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, located close to the city’s zoo. As we followed the path around the place, we were able to travel through time and see replicas and statues from Mayan culture.
We continued our journey to Antigua, a nearby historic city and arrived at Casa Concepcion, a stylish boutique hotel transformed from a residential home by the manager Julio Aceituno Bell. LGBT travelers need not worry because Julio and George did just the right amount of hand holding and treated us like the family we all are.
We were set up with a walking tour to learn about this ancient area. The City Hall Palace and the Jade Museum were all part of this instructional stroll, along with Paseo de los Museos at Casa Santo Domingo. The VIGUA, or Museum of Pre-Columbian Art and Modern Glass, was a standout amongst these sights. The exhibit currently shows ancient objects placed next to modern interpretations from the collection of Edgar Castillo Sinibaldi.
After all the walking, massages were offered from David Elron’s Holistic Health Services and gave much needed relief.
There were many options to add on to our adventure, such a zip-line tour over a valley or two and half hours from here Chichicastenango is located, which is one of the world’s most famous outdoor markets.
Later we were transferred to Lake Atitlan where our guide Lee of Los Elementos Adventures took us to a private dock and brought us by boat to Village Sumaya, where we stayed. The patio from the hotel opens directly onto the lake, with a pool, yoga room, and restaurant located conveniently in this retreat center in Santa Cruz Lagoon.
We woke to a three-village boat tour and visited San Marcos, San Juan, and Santiago. This is where we met weavers, painters and cliff divers. Lee can take travelers on a two person kayak tour (send him an e-mail him at his website).
We returned back to Antigua to experience amazing restaurants such as Hector’s and El Pescador’s Italiano. A big group of us went out on the town in city to dance at the Genetic Majestic Club while drinking Zacapa rum.
The next day, we climbed an active volcano named Pacaya and even spotted magma in a fissure. A horseback ride was offered by the locals to the weary traveler for the steep climb if needed. We returned to Guatemala City to stay near the airport at Barcelo, a 395-room resort style hotel.
Knowing Spanish in Guatemala is helpful, but not required, as this country speaks over 23 separate languages. This warm weather excursion showed that for a reasonable price, gringos may visit a foreign land full of volcanos, ruins, and adventure!
Need more information, happy travelers? Check out these websites to start planning your trip: