We got up bright and early for some breakkie before jumping on an 8am shuttle towards Lanquin, the town next to the beautiful Semuc Champey. The 8 hour shuttle actually ended up taking 10 hours, but considering we didn’t get caught up in a political roadblock, we were actually pretty lucky.
Our whirlwind tour of Guatemala coincided with the lead up week to their presidential elections. In Guatemala, political rallies and protests mean one thing - roadblocks. Yep that’s right. To protest against one political party or to show support for another, people will literally block major roads and hold a rally in the middle of the street. This includes major highways. We heard a nightmare story from a french couple who’s relatively short 5 hour hop turned into a 24 hour debacle. Hence, every single time we hopped in a bus or a van in Guatemala (which was lots in our mental week here), we did so with crossed fingers that we could somehow avoid one of these random and spontaneous commuting nightmares.
We got to Lanquin, and from here jumped in a Ute tray with all of our bags and other travellers for a half hour journey through the outskirts of town to our hostel - Utopia. We got here just in time for the big communal dinner, and shortly after hit the hay.
The next morning was Bec’s birthday! Although we were in these beautiful surroundings, it was bitter sweet for Bec due to us being on the other side of the world to both her parents and her twin brother, and even more so because the wifi in our hostel never seemed to work, hence we were unable to contact them.
We walked to Semuc, and spent the morning climbing up to the lookout point before swimming and exploring in the pools for a few hours. We’ll just let the photos do the talking here.
We headed back and along the way grabbed a delicious late lunch from a stall set up on the side of the road. Back at the hostel we tried calling home again unsuccessfully before giving up and having a few cheeky vinos on the back deck of the hostel. Pros and cons of travelling - you get to see so many beautiful places, but you can’t help but get homesick on days like this when you’re thousands of miles away from the people you love.
Next stop Lago de Atitlan!
After a mental full day of travel through 4 different countries in one very crowded van, we arrived in Antigua. We got into town around 7:30pm after leaving Leon in Nicaragua at 2 am the same morning. Needless to say we were pretty shattered, so we had a shower, a quick dinner in the restaurant at our hostel "Bigfoot" and jumped into a comfy bed for some well needed sleep.
Due to our recently made change of plans, we weren't going to have much time here in Guatemala, so we spent the whole next day exploring markets, eating at plenty of funky little cafes around town and taking in the sites.
We've seen plenty of cute colonial towns throughout latin america, but we both have to say that Antigua was one of our favorites. The city itself is beautiful, the surroundings are beautiful, and for the most part the locals are really friendly. Similar to Cuenca in Ecuador, this city is cool in the fact that it feels actually livable. There are plenty of locally owned businesses and local kids roaming around in school uniform, unlike some other pretty colonial towns that feel quite false and a little "Disney-fied. "
Our only regret is we only got to spend 3 days here all up on our whirlwind tour of Guatemala.
Next stop, Semuc Champey!
Our last stop in Nicaragua was the Corn Islands, off the east coast in the Caribbean.
After spending the last 10 days on the the pacific coast surfing and relaxing we headed back to Managua to get our flight. The journey from Popoyo to Managua on the chicken buses was a story in itself, but that's for another day.
To get to the Corn Islands you can go via plane or via a combination of land and sea. We opted for a flight that cost less than $150US per person, an easy choice when faced with the prospect of hours and hours aboard buses and boats. We had booked accommodation on Little Corn, however all flights go direct to Big Corn, and from there you can get to Little Corn via a quick boat trip.
We arrived on Little Corn after our flight and boat combination and headed for our accommodation at Carlito's Place, on the other side of the island. Along the way we passed all the shops and restaurants on the island (all 20 or so of them) and noticed a dive shop. We had already decided whilst here we would check out the underwater world.
We dropped off our bags at our modest, $15 US a night accommodation (only $7.50 each!!). It was a tiny shack on the beach, but it had a bed, a mosquito net, a shower and toilet and the water was quite literally lapping at our balcony. This was where we would call home for the next 4 nights.
Whilst on the island we explored, swum, snorkelled and dived. Theres not much more to say except that the water was warm, the sun was hot and the diving is very cheap! One highlight was an awesome night dive we did (sorry we didn't get any good photos). We had a great time. Next stop, Guatemala!
G'day I'm Bec
I'm an Aussie who loves travelling, hiking, trail running and pretty much any activity you can do outdoors.
This blog may contain several affiliate links to products and services that I use and love. By clicking on these links, I might get a teeny tiny contribution towards my travel fund, at no extra cost to you!
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