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Huehuetenango (way way), Guatemala: The end of Central America

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

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There is not a lot to see or do in way way in regards to tourism, but as I was a bit heavy on Quetzals and the slightly expensive room that I was in had a nice 27″ tv, I decided to burn an extra day and hang out for a bit living like a local. Hanging out at the small central park, a stroll through the market, and a hike up the hills surrounding the town pretty much rounded out my last days in Central America.

I am not sure if or why Mexico is not considered to be Central America in some peoples point of view, but as it has its own guidebook, I am treating it as such. The Lonely Planet is gospel I guess. Regardless, I am going to treat it as a part of North America, somewhat like I figure Canada is as well. Soon, when the revolution comes and we use our troops wisely and instead of the Middle East we focus on invading our neighbors and become the United States “and then some”, of America. First we kick the French out of Canada…. Anyways, back to traveling stuff, here is a bit of my feelings of the Central American portion.

My favorite countries are Panama, Costa Rica, and Belize. I didn´t spend a lot of time in Panama, but the couple of highlight towns and islands I visited were really nice. Costa Rica probably ranks at the top as it had a great mix of everything with a well structured tourist trail and activities galore. The mountains, volcanoes, and jungles for some reason seemed more dynamic than the other countries, perhaps because I saw a lot of sloths. Belize was primarily due to their reef system, fishing, the easy exchange rate, and the main language was English. I also like a bit of a mix in my populous so the Black Caribs added a bit of flair. Although they were tops in Central America, I still have a bias towards South America and would probably only return to Belize as I just clicked more with SA. However, as I am going to build a touring motorcycle when I get home, there is a good chance I will cruise back through the Central Americas.

Guatemala would probably fall into my B category with Nicaragua following a little bit farther back. Both of these countries would score a lot higher if you are interested in the older cultures as both are heavy on Indigenous peoples. Nicaragua is probably the least developed of all the CA countries and has the least tourist traffic making it the most popular for those who want to get off the normal tourist trail and rough it for a bit. Guatemala is a big country and has a wide variety of cultures, landscapes, and activities. If I had to recommend one country for the virgin CA traveler who had limited time or money, Guatemala would probably be my pick. Both of these countries are also the cheapest of the CA´s which only add to their appeal.

Although El Salvador would rank at the bottom of the list, it did have its highlights. Of all the countries, El Salvador seemed to have the most connection with the US as much of its income is mailed back from the US by relatives who are living and working in the US. The “Jackie Chan” factor was probably lowest here because so many of the people had either worked or visited the US and were more worldly in that they understand the mix of cultures in the US. Outside of that, the colonial towns were pretty nice, but in reality, for the tourist there just aren´t that many highlights and what they do have can be found in better form in the other CA countries. The negatives of a high gang problem just didn´t seem like a factor to the layman traveler so I think has been blown out of proportion to a negative detriment.

In general, the CA´s are a good place to go especially because the countries are very small and if you didn´t have a lot of time you would be able to sample a lot with minimum bus time. I was surprised at how cheap flights are (at least from the west coast) and like I did with South America when I was living in Miami, it will be easy to jump on a plane down to the hub cities for a quicky weekend or longer. As this was just a decompression trip prior to heading back to the US, it worked out perfectly as traveling with the comfort of knowing the language and familiar with how things worked, just made it a easy place to visit.

And now, off to Mexico we go… Damn, Mexico is big. And expensive. But they have tacos so everythings going to be alright.

Xela, Guatemala: Happy Easter, Sunday, Semana Santa

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

The Resurrection.

The activities for Semana Santa hae just finished. No more processions, pardon the pun, but Thank God. No Easter eggs to be found, and I looked. Today is more of a relax, tourist stalls in the central park, the last procession, and a relax day as pretty much everything is closed up except for restaurants and internet cafes/tiendas.

Tomorrow I get to leave and will be one more stop away from Mexico. Viva Mexico.

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Xela, Guatemala: Saturday, Semana Santa

Sunday, April 4th, 2010
Saturday´s procession was dedicated to the Virgen de Soledad. Sabadao de Gloria. This was a mixed procession where men and women shared the duties of carrying the image. saturday.JPG [Continue reading this entry]

Xela, Guatemala: Good Friday, Semana Santa

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010
friday1.JPG friday-1.JPG friday-2.JPG friday-3.JPG friday-4.JPG [Continue reading this entry]

Xela, Guatemala: Wednesday, Semana Santa 2010

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010
My week of laying low in Xela has paid off as I am in the middle of the Semana Sanata celebrations. Not exactly my thing, but having no ability to move on, choosing Xela as a good mix of ... [Continue reading this entry]

Waiting it out: Quetzaltenang (Xela)

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
dscn1737.JPG I kind of had to do some strategic planning as I was reaching my last country of Mexico, but more importantly the holiday season of Semana Santa was quickly approaching. Semana Santa ... [Continue reading this entry]

Responses to Comments: Late again, sorry for the rudeness.

Friday, March 26th, 2010
1. Mark in Delhi To the author of this misinformed and patriotic blog post about India, accept it - India is one of the filthiest places on the planet. I am a well traveled expat, I’ve been to China, ... [Continue reading this entry]

Photos: Chichicastenango (Chi Chi), Guatemala, market day.

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
dscn1701.JPG The church overlooking the market. It is a standard Catholic affair but as the locals had been primarily Mayan, a lot of the ritual is a sort of mix. Throughout the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Chichicastenango – Guatemala’s Largest Market

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
dscn1705.JPG Chichicastenango (Chi Chi) is a small Mayan town in the western highlands of Guatemala which is famous for its traditional market. Market days are Thursday and Sunday and, each week, the colorful scene ... [Continue reading this entry]

Photos: Lake Atitlan and Panajachel

Friday, March 19th, 2010
dscn1677.JPG Unfortunately a bit hazy for photos but you can make out the many fingers sticking out into the lake. dscn1680.JPG The water taxi depot. [Continue reading this entry]