Guatemala... a land of fire, water and ancient ruins!

What a busy month it has been! After being onboard by myself it was great to have a visit from Mum and take some time off to see Guatemala and more of beautiful Costa Rica.

 Stunning Lake Atitlan

Stunning Lake Atitlan

Our trip began in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Lake Atitlan is located 1500m above sea level and was formed in a massive volcanic crater. The views around the Lake are stunning; Volcanos, sprawling villages and green foliage. The main highlights of our trip were exploring the artisanal markets, eating delicious local food, visiting the nature reserve and of course exploring the lake itself.

AS always I couldn’t resist getting a little veterinary work in… walking down the main street of San Marcos I saw two young backpackers peering into a cardboard box, which in a veterinarians mind can mean only one thing; abandoned puppy! I just couldn’t walk past and so offered my assistance. The poor little mite was suffering from a severe respiratory infection so we all hiked up the pharmacy and got her some medication. The lovely young backpackers planned on caring for her for two days until the closest veterinarian could come through town and get her.

 Volcan Pacaya... bubbling away. Local dogs do the 7km hike regularly because they often get a little nibble of the tourists food!

Volcan Pacaya... bubbling away. Local dogs do the 7km hike regularly because they often get a little nibble of the tourists food!

I also did some volunteer work at our next destination – Antigua. Antigua is a beautiful town with a real European vibe. It is also surrounded by Volcanos, how ever two are currently active and Volcan De Fuego recently erupted, wreaking havoc on the local towns. I assisted a volunteer group with the feeding of animals that had been left behind at the houses when their human families fled the area. Thankfully things are slowly returning to normal in the area. Somewhat counter intuitively mum and I decided to hike the other active volcano in the area, Volcan Pacaya. And a hike it was, but we were rewarded with amazing views and volcanic-rock toasted marshmallows!

 The views from the look out at Semuc Champey

The views from the look out at Semuc Champey

 Stairways to heaven... or hell for our legs... 

Stairways to heaven... or hell for our legs... 

We also hit the famous tourists spots of Semuc Champey and Tikal. Semuc Champey really is a natural wonder, although the road leading there is long and bumpy! We stayed at the Jungle Lodge closest to the entrance of the park, which meant we could wake up and go straight in. Another arduous hike... with a lot of stairs... but worth it - I will let the photos speak for themselves… 

Tikal is also a wonder but of the human constructed variety. Coming from Australia we are lucky to see structures over 100 years old, but these ancient temples were built almost 2000 years ago by ancient Mayans. There is something quite surreal about standing on these structures in awe of their constructions even by todays standards, let alone when they were built.

 The Grand Plaza at Tikal... WOW!

The Grand Plaza at Tikal... WOW!

 We also briefly stopped in at the Rio Dulce, often joked to be the river that swallows cruisers because once they go in they never leave! For me it had a similar vibe to Golfito – somewhat dilapidated but very relaxed with a friendly atmosphere. And there were indeed sailboats everywhere!

The episodes of Guatemala will start coming out September so keep an eye out for those... they are looking good... not that I am biased...

I will continue this blog with our Costa Rican adventures and Mum’s first time aboard Chuffed… needless to say she was not impressed by my bedsheets so I soon scored new ones 😊 thanks mumma!

 

Until next time,

Stay Chuffed everybody!

What Billie the Turtle taught us...

What Billie the Turtle taught us...

Billie is a critically endangered hawksbill turtle that we rescued from a tangled fishing line. Our weeks with Billie taught us a lot... and I hope can teach you something too. 

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