A Travellerspoint blog

Chichicastenango

overcast 20 °C

Hello!

After spending a week in Panajachel learning the basics of the Spanish language, we headed to the small city of Chichicastenango for the big Sunday market :)

To get there we had to back track from Pana, and after several boat and bus rides we crashed at the first and best hostel. The second we layed down on the bed for a little power nap, a band started playing on the street just outside the hostel. Anyone who has ever been to Central America knows that when it comes to volume, there are only two options; max or off. With napping out of the question we sat on the roof top balcony and watched the show

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Hungry!

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Locals getting their dance on

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Chichi cemetery seen from the roof top

Despite the spectacle on the street we crashed pretty early as we had to get up early the next morning wanting to hit the market before the tour buses rolled in.

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Chichi church

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Child labour?

Having been to a few smaller markets in Guatemala we (Anne) already had an extensive shopping list. After trailing the market for hours, with almost all the items on the list ticked off, we watched the stall owners pack up their stuff and head back home. A couple of hours after the market was over the city returned to its sleepiness, and as the cold set in we decided to call it an early night and head to Antigua the following morning.

Posted by CanWay 08:16 Archived in Guatemala Comments (2)

Spanish in Pana

semi-overcast 20 °C

¡Hola! We decided to go directly from Zipolite, Mexico to Panajachel, Guatemala without stopping. Because of detours due to mudslides from the recent hurricanes, this turned out to be grueling. We left Zipolite early on Saturday, Oct 22 and after travelling in the back of a pickup truck, 2 buses, a minibus, across the border, another minibus, 3 chicken buses, the back of another pickup truck, and finally on a boat in the dark to arrive at the shore of Panajachel late Sunday night. After 30+ hours of travel we grabbed some eats and a much-needed cold cerveza and crashed at the first hotel we found.

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20 or so hours into the trip

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Capricho, the hotel parrot

Panajachel is a nice little town on the shore of Lago de Atitlán. As the largest and most 'connected' of the towns and villages around the lake, it caters to a lot of tourists. Due to recent rainfall, the once nice shoreline was a mess of fallen trees and crumbled concrete walkways. This, combined with the recent bacterial sludge that covered the lake, made swimming less appealing. Instead, we spent a couple days familiarizing ourselves with the market stalls, restaurants and cafe's, non of which are in short supply.

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Torn up shore line

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Pano of Pana

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Anne's new friend

Our Spanish skills were seriously lacking and making it difficult in many situations, especially with transit, so we enrolled in one of a few Spanish schools in Pana. Our maestro, Johnny was barely old enough to order a beer but seemed knowledgable enough and, in the end, turned out to be a pretty good teacher and guide. One afternoon he took us to the nearby village of San Antonio Palopó for a more genuine indigenous exprience. We wandered through narrow winding cobblestone streets and into adobe huts to look over handicrafts and to watch the traditional weaving process used to create the multicolored fabrics that are visible everywhere. Anne even had her hair styled the traditional way. We wanted a picture with some local kids in their traditional dress and asked them if that was ok, to which they responded "un quetzal". It was worth the 10 cents.

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Spanish class with Johnny

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San Antonio Palopó

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Anne getting her hair done

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Mau taking a nap on the weaving machine

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Local kids in traditional dress

After a week in Pana and a headful of Spanish knowledge to absorb, it was time to get going. Unfortunately this meant fighting the arduous detours again. On the plus side, we had better grasp on the language and were headed for one of the biggest markets in Central America, Chichicastanengo. Although I was looking forward to it, markets are really Anne's department and she was pumped to do some serious bartering. Pics from Chichi soon!

Posted by CanWay 11:21 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Zipolite

sunny 30 °C

¡Hola! The last couple of weeks have been very busy for us (at least when you're used to laying on the beach drinking beer and the occasional Margarita...), as we have been trying to learn Spanish and cover multiple cities simultaneously. Therefore we have been way too lazy to deal with the blog.

After Puerto Escondido we traveled to Zipolite, a small beach town only a couple of hours drive away. Because it is such a small town, there are no buses that go there. You can get an air conditioned shuttle, but because we're cheap we decided to do it the hard way, getting a bus to Pochutla and catching a ride with a camioneta from there. Camioneta is fancy for "sitting in the back of a truck".

The first bus we got on is mostly used by locals, and doesn't stop unless you tell the driver to do so when you want to get off. This can cause problems when you don't know where you want to get off, and especially if you fall asleep. We got off the bus 20 minutes later than planned and felt pretty lost. Fortunately there were some very helpful children around who helped us find a camioneta, and we were back on track again.

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Jason seeking help from Lonely Planet

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Are you going to Zipolite?

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In a camioneta, finally heading for Zipolite

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The Power Stance

When we eventually got to Zipolite we ended up staying a few days longer than planned. There is not much to do here but laze in the sun, drink beer and eat. All of which we have become fairly good at.

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Much needed Tequila Sunrise upon arrival

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The beach

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Its a hard life...

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Zipolite sunset

Zipolite has a bit of reputation of being a nude beach. Turns out this is not true, for the most part. The West end of the beach had a few nudists strolling around/ lounging around in awkward positions on sun beds. Jason decided this was a little much for, in his own words, "a small town Canadian dude" so most of the time we kept to the center or east side of the beach. This wasn't very hard considering that our hotel was right on the beach.

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The view from our balcony

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The balcony

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Theres really not much more to say about Zipolite. It is a very relaxed place with a beautiful beach were you could easily end up staying a week longer than you planned. After Zipolite we headed for Guatamala, planning to go all the way to Lago Atitlan in the Guatamalan highlands without doing any stops. Pictures from Guatemala will be up soon :)

Posted by CanWay 17:50 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Puerto Escondido

overcast 30 °C

Puerto Escondido, our favourite place so far! To get here we had to first get a bus from Zihuatanejo to Acapulco, and from there we got a night bus to Puerto Escondido. Again, Puerto is supposed to be a surfer town. Unfortunately it looks like the storms have ruined all the surf for us, as waves continnue to be choppy and useless. Still we decided to stay here for four days, relaxing on the beach is a good alternative to surfing after all :)

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Home

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Tomato flavoured chips, not the same as ketchup chips... But at least he's got a big beer.

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We had a cat hanging out outside our cabaña for our entire stay. Once he got inside and decided to have a snooze, luckily I found him before Jason.

The first day here, we again decided to walk to another beach outside of town. What we thought was gonna take about half an hour ended up being a two hour hike in the midday sun. But in the end it was all worth it :)

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En route to Carrizalillo beach

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Sheikh Brooks

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Carrizalillo beach :)

Puerto Escondido is also the first town we've hit that has a decent bar scene, although it did't get too messy.

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With Vlad and Aylon at Babylon

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Jason and Aylon getting their chicken dance on

Other than eating, drinking and lazing in the sun, not much was accomplished in Puerto Escondido.

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From here we went to the small beach town of Zipolite to get the last beach dose before heading to highlands.

Posted by CanWay 10:24 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Zihuatanejo

overcast 30 °C

Hola!

Our next stop after San Blas was supposed to be Sayulita, followed by Puerto Vallarta and some other small beach towns. Unfortunatley we weren´t able to stop at these places because of incoming hurricanes. From San Blas we spent two days on the bus, stopping for a night in Manzanillo, before we finally arrived in Zihuatanejo.

Zihuatanejo is another beach town, quite a bit bigger than San Blas. On our first day here we went on a small hike to a nearby beach called Playa La Ropa, where we spent the day

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Us at Playa La Ropa

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Playa La Ropa

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Playa La Ropa

We stayed at a really nice hostel which housed several cuddly cats adding to my amusement and Jasons frustration

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Hostel Cat

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Spot the cat

One of them had even figured out how to get into the hammocks and could stay here swinging away all day

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Hammock Cat

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Hammock Cat

Staying at a hostel also allowed us to cook, which we intially thought was gonna save us loads of money. In the end it turned out to be almost as expensive as eating out, but at least we learned how to make real salsa and peel monster shrimp.

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Lunch time

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The Market

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Shrimp time!

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Jason cooking

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Endless chopping

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Jason loving the cat

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Viking cider, for vikings only

Close to Zihuatanejo is the more tourist developed Ixtapa, and after a couple of rainy days we took the bus here for some beach time. Just as we got there we sold our souls to time share pushers for free beer and dinner, but respectfully declined their offer.

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Ixtapa

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Ixtapa

After pretending to be "Mr. Brooks age 36" and "Mrs. Brooks age 26" for a couple of hours we were quite content with our 50 dollar dinner certificate, and also fairly tipsy.

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Free dinner :)

We left Zihua after four days, and headed further south to the surf town of Puerto Escondido. The surf seems to be either too choppy, or just too crazy to get much surfing done, but so far we are loving it here :) Pictures will be up later!

Posted by CanWay 10:46 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

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