A Different Guatemala
Just returned from a fantastic trip to Guatemala. This was our third trip to Guatemala and it keeps getting better. We arranged our land transportation with Elizabeth Bell's company, Antigua Tours. Elizabeth is fantastic and offers great trips in the Guatemala area. All of her drivers are prompt, efficient, and truly excited about their country. Our first stop was to Montericco; a beach town on the Pacific. It is not a tourist destination...yet. We were told that it is mainly visited by Guatemalans on the weekends. Our stay from Sunday to Tuesday was sooo peaceful. We stayed at Dos Mundos. Dos Mundos has 14 stand alone bungalows on the beach...lovely. It is Italian owned. We could walk into town (about 1 km) and enjoy small restaurants. Montericco is known for its turtle rescue efforts. We were able to also go out on the estuary with a local man on his boat. Great and inexpensive day trip to see the birds and learn more about Mayan culture, etc. The weather was absolutely perfect. The beach is black sand so by mid-day it is hot!! The waves are also HUGE. Not a great swimming beach but Dos Mundos has a pool on the beach.
Our next destination was a 5 hour drive to beautiful Lake Atitlan. The drive was truly beautiful but a lot of traffic and road constuction. We stayed at the magnificent Casa Palopo on Lake Atitlan. This property is a 7 room villa in the village of Santa Catarina. We had won this property on a LL auction. Our room, a junior suite, had a beautiful terrace looking out the lake. The room was almost like an indoor/outdoor living area. The wall was actually a glass sliding door that we mainly kept open. At night, we could sit outside with all the candles lit (they had a hanging candle holder) and watch the stars and fireflies!! BEAUTIFUL. Mario, the chef, was wonderful and could whip up anything you liked. We were fortunate to follow a fellow LL traveller, Omeget to the property. He had set us up with wonderful ideas. (see his post on Guatemala.) We did use Carlos for his services to the Markets and for a lake tour. All perfect! The only intersting thing to note is that for the first time in my life.....I WAS PICKPOCKETED!!!! Well, to be honest, I couldn't really be bummed. Mario's great cooking had left me feeling so big and my pants felt so tight. I still can't believe someone could have stolen $33 from my pants pocket!!! Crazy...I just had to laugh AND LEARN MY LESSON!!!! Oh well, someone needed it more than me.
Our last dayour driver took us to Antigua. We had lunch at a friend's restaurant, La Calle Del Fonda. This is our favorite Guatemalan restauant in Antigua. After lunch we headed back to Guatemala City and stayed at the Westin. Nice property but very commercial and PACKED (weddings, tourists, etc.) We enjoyed dinner at Fridas (there is also a Fridas in Antigua) and then went pub hopping (it was Valentine's Day) to some nice small properties.
This trip was fantastic. Tourism is slowing growing. It is so lovely to visit a country as beautiful as Guatemala!!!