Our trip took us to the countryside of Guatemala. Traveling from Guatemala City to Antigua and the Mayan ruins, we saw many things along the way. I took hundreds of photos on the trip, many of them on the road between the city and the country. Here are a selection of my favorites.
Driving through the countryside, this is what I thought ALL of Guatemala would be like. I was surprised how quickly the city stopped and the country began. No suburban communities, housing developments. Just city, then country.
One of the coolest things about the Guatemalan roads is their busses. Our guide told us that they are school busses that are drivable but no longer up-to-code for driving in the USA. (I guess all those smog tests really do mean something) I could tell that there were emission problems with some of the busses, but most of them seemed to be a lifeline in the countryside communities. The busses are much like the run-of-the-mill city busses in LA. They always seemed full of people when we were on the road. Often, people’s luggage was stored on the racks installed on the top of the bus. It reminded me of Romancing the Stone.
I think my favorite part about the buses is their fabulous paint jobs. Our guide said that sometimes the drivers will either paint the bus themselves or hire an artist to do the detailing.
Once we made it into smaller cities outside of Antigua, I saw the Guatemala I had been imagining. The rural areas were full of farmland and shops selling the necessities.
Once we arrived in Antigua, our first stop was in a monestary. It was a beautiful space full of beauty and a little mystery.
Our guide said that this was a destination spot for tourists and locals alike. The space housed many private and semi-private areas that would be perfect for parties or even weddings. There was a beautiful garden with all manner of plants and a man who had performing parrots with him. There was a wedding in one of the private areas.
As we were exploring the grounds, an incredible storm rolled through and we made our way to the covered shops. I was able to buy some fantastic coffee and some chocolates to bring home with me. My coworkers purchased some other (fancier) goods from street vendors including a jade jaguar for Paul’s wife and Toni got a blanket for her mother. Both got great deals. I wasn’t so good at haggling, but I did get some trinkets for my family back home.
After we purchased (more than our fair share of) treats from El Rosario, we headed on our way to see the Mayan Ruins. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to see them!
And now we begin our journey to the ruins…