14 octubre 2011 viernes
¿Porque no? I jumped at the invite to go camping with fellow PCVs in the Southwestern corner of Guatemala last weekend… new territory for me (both the site and camping in Guatemala). Hanging on tightly, my bus wound its way the 2hrs west from Xela to San Marcos. Leaving behind the cool mountain weather, I embraced the warmth of the nearby coast. In San Marcos, a group of us splurged on crepes at a restaurant overlooking a rather European style park. A chocobanano completed my evening …after all, who can refuse a chocolate-covered frozen banana on a stick that costs a mere $0.15?
Saturday morning found us loading into a camioneta to San Pablo where we transferred to 2 vans which proceeded into the forest on rocky roads. Wimpy vehicles don’t survive here. The intent of this trip: support the work of Mike, an ecotourism volunteer, by demonstrating the tourist potential of this site to his host community …we probably won the prize of largest group of gringos as all 20 of us unpeeled ourselves from the vans.
Taking advantage of a momentary break, Mike, our resident magician, had fellow PCVs and Guatemalan kids begging “Otra, otra!” after fooling us with disappearing coins and cards. One PCV mused, “Why don’t I have such a handy talent?” Yep, definitely a portable talent that draws a crowd!
Performance time was put on hold as backpacks leapt to our shoulders and off we trekked down the trail. An hour later we arrived at our camping location complete with waterfall and hot springs…Yep, paradise!
Restless to explore, some of us trekked another 20 minutes to the tallest waterfall in Central America. MAGICAL!! The mist generated by its power quickly soaked onlookers. This tropical landscape is what so many envision about Guatemala.
The following morning we visited the waterfall at dawn in search of exotic fauna….reluctantly leaving the warmth of sleeping bags at 4:30am to hike in darkness. Shivering a bit until the sun arose, we listened to frogs croak and other creatures calling out…the birds kept hidden in the trees, but it was still magical to welcome in the morning to the sound and sight of this huge waterfall.
Other activities included braving the cold water of the smaller waterfall of our campsite, then plunging into the hot springs…when activities wound down in the late evening, a small group of us females enjoyed the liberation of a skinny dip session! Community members served us hot Chapin(Guatemalan) meals…camping has that ability to increase one’s appetite , although we never did move onto Smores. Lastima!
Conclusion: definite tourist potential with 5 stars*****!!