Guatemala Rocks!

Benny ClimbingAlthough a bit off topic from most of our blogs, I decided share a bit on why I love Guatemala. Specifically, I’d like to describe some of the non-work related cool things about Xela, where I have lived for about two years. I’ll sadly be leaving here in just two short weeks. In this blog I’ll write about some of the natural beauty around Xela.

As seen from the pictures above and below there’s some spectacular scenery and nature here. That’s me and a friend Miguel climbing La Muela last Sunday. There’s an abundance of hiking that is accessible within walking distance from Central Park. The closest is the hills overlooking the park, which I’ve named the Christo Viene hills as there’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 cornfields—it’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 I’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 it’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. It’s giant lake surrounded by volcanoes, and is hands-down out-of-control amazingly beautiful. It’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.

Lisa at Lago Atitlan