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Friday, March 5, 2010

Well, we finally left Mexico....can you believe it?

I am really really bad at this whole blog thing....its really hard to find / make the time to track down a computer that will actually allow me to update this site, so I do appologize for the lack of current happenings. Nonetheless, I will attempt to share our going ons with much more frequency in the future.

So, we left mexico....it only took us 4 months, but we actually managed to leave the lovely place that I could easily call home. We made a direct dash for the Guatemalan border leaving Melaque by bus. We took 2 days to go direct to Puerto Escondido, where we spent the night to sleep and shower before continuing from Pt.Esc. to the Guatemalan border. The total trip time from Melaque to Antigua came up at around 50 hours... which isn't that bad considering the distance.  We arrived in Antigua where we stayed for a day before going to the coast for a surf camp called El Paredon. Apparently El Paredon has the best break in Guatemala....it was alright, but definately not something special. The camp is located on an island, and you have to get there by boat from Sipicate. It is really secluded. The people there are antisocial, and there are no grocery stores...so the fact that the food at the camp was probably some of the worst I've encountered ever, was not a good thing. Anyone going to this camp should seriously consider bringing their own food supply. On the plus side, while we were in El Paredon, we met up with an  American named Steve, and two Norwegians: Morten and Jonas, with whom we would continue to travel with throughout Guatemala.

From El Paredon we went back to Antigua. We spent 3 days there. We stayed at a hostel called the Black Cat, which was a really good value, and included a free breakfast. Antigua is a really cool old colonial town. The food there is really really good, and there is a decent night life....there are also a lot of travellers there, so its really easy to meet people. While we were in Antigua, Owen and I decided to go to hike Volcan Pacaya, an active volcano just an hour and a half from Antigua. The volcano is really neat....its a long hike, about 5km, but is really worth it. The trail is really sketchy...infact, it really is nonexistant once you reach the base of the volacano, so hiking up the volcano through the lava fields is a bit tricky, and definately would not be allowed if located in Canada or the US....it really could be dangerous, but that is what made it fun. We hiked up to the top where you could watch the lava pumping out of the volcano. You could feel the lava moving under the rocks we were walking on, and if we weren't careful where we walked, our shoes would actually start to melt.

From Antigua, Owen and I decided to meet up with Morten (the Viking)  in Lanquin, a small mountain town outside of Coban, which has a series of caves, and the amazing Semuc Champey river pools. The journey from Antigua to Lanquin took us 7 hours by shuttle through the mountains...it was a very beautiful journey. Once in Lanquin we went to El Retiro Lodge, an eco hostel run by the local mayan indians. It was really nice, with all you could eat dinners....and good prices for tours. We stayed for 35Quetzales each, which works out to less than $5 a day.  Our first day in Lanquin, we went to Semuc Champey and the caves. The caves are really cool, but you must have a guide to go in them. The caves go on for about 15km into the mountain. We only went about 1 km deep, but that was enough. The caves are formed by an underground river system, so as you can imagine, we had to swim through them...it was amazing. Swimming under the ground, in caves, with waterfalls and pools...by candlelight. It was one of the coolest things I have ever done. After the caves, we tubed down the river, then hiked another 2km or so to Semuc Champey, a series of clear blue pools formed by the underground river. The water is unlike anything you have ever seen, clean & clear....
From Lanquin, Owen, Morten and I took a shuttle to Flores to check out Tikal, and were met later that night by Steve and his friend Travis. We stayed at the Los Amigos Hostel in Flores, and were able to rent hammock space for $2 a night. The food at the hostel was really good, boasting the only all vegetarian menu in Flores, which was especially nice for me, after eating nothing but rice and beans for the last little while.  oh shoot....computer time is up...i have to continue next time...anyhow...right now we are in Nicaragua, will fill you in on the in betweens next post.
Lots of love to everyone!!!


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