Although a bit off topic from most of our blogs, I decided share a bit on why I love Guatemala. Specifically, Iâ€™d like to describe some of the non-work related cool things about Xela, where I have lived for about two years. Iâ€™ll sadly be leaving here in just two short weeks. In this blog Iâ€™ll write about some of the natural beauty around Xela.
As seen from the pictures above and below thereâ€™s some spectacular scenery and nature here. Thatâ€™s me and a friend Miguel climbing La Muela last Sunday. Thereâ€™s an abundance of hiking that is accessible within walking distance from Central Park. The closest is the hills overlooking the park, which Iâ€™ve named the Christo Viene hills as thereâ€™s a giant single billboard displaying in giant letters “Christo Viene” (Christ Comes) visible from the whole city . About 15 minutes from the city center you can be in trees and cornfieldsâ€”itâ€™s amazing. Another 45 minutes up into the woods is Los Vahos (natural steam bathes) and still further is La Muela (the tooth/molar), where I went rock climbing. About 20-30 minutes from Xela are 2 hot springs that Iâ€™ve frequented on weekends, Las Fuentes Georginas, and Aguas Amargas.
Other nearby great hikes are El Baul (The Trunk) which is right behind the AIDG-Guatemala office, Lake Chikabal (30 minute drive), which is an old volcano with a small lake in itâ€™s crater, and the mighty Santa Maria Volcano that looms over Xela (4 hour hike up). From the top you can see a smaller volcano that burst out its side that is still active and generally erupts every 30 minutes or so.
The real gem of Guatemala is Lake Atitlan. Itâ€™s giant lake surrounded by volcanoes, and is hands-down out-of-control amazingly beautiful. Itâ€™s about 2.5 hours away, and I made it a habit to sink into a hammock there with a book at least once a month. Below is a photo of my partner Lisa that her friend (and photographer) Debby Coleman took last spring.