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hopefulist Apr 6th, 2019 11:11 AM

1st Winter visit to Guatemala
Hi, all -
When my husband Mike and I left our home in NE Oregon in early March, our thermometer said it was 9 degrees F out; we enjoyed glorious weather in the 'Land of Eternal Spring' for just over 2 weeks and came back to spring here: 70 degrees when we landed back at PDX.

On arrival in Guatemala we spent one night in Antigua (Casa Cristina) before heading to our place in San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlán for the majority of our time. As always we loved hiking, kayaking, exploring the town and surrounding countryside, taking in local sporting events and celebrations, visiting coffee and weaving cooperatives, shopping in the market and preparing most of our own meals, and sharing time with close friends. We visited the homes of our newest Beca Project scholarship students, bumped into dozens of students and family members in the streets and market, and took dozens more shopping, always highlights and major reasons we return to San Pedro several times a year.

We took a long weekend away with close friends to the cloud forest south of Coban (Ranchitos del Quetzal) and to Lanquín (El Retiro) and Semuc Champey. We had a fantastic trip, loved the scenery and adventure, but the road conditions and hours on the road - more than 25 hours in 4 days, half of that the last day - were grueling. Thank goodness for great company!

We spent a final night in Guatemala City 2 minutes from the airport (Villa Toscana) ahead of an early flight home . We arranged our transportation aside from the road trip (friend of a friend) through Alfredo Garcia and his family, highly recommended. [email protected] or

If you'd like to check out a blog post from the trip, click HERE.

All of our photos including a collection from this trip are on THIS PAGE, blog posts linked on the main pages.

Happy to answer questions! Happy trails!

Daniel_Williams Apr 8th, 2019 09:05 AM

Hi hopefullist,

I enjoyed very much looking at your pictures of Antigua as it reminded me of my trip there in the summer of 2016. I have a general question for you though—I noticed in your Flickr that your travels have been heavily weighted toward the northern tier of Central America (especially Guatemala, Belize and Honduras). I’m curious what prompts your decision to hop on a plane and do repeat visits specifically there from Oregon, as opposed to other parts of the world (such as, say, Central Mexico or Asia).

Best wishes, Daniel

hopefulist Apr 8th, 2019 10:03 AM

Good question. :-) If you scroll way down through you can see collections of repeated visits to the UK (I was an exchange students there in the late 70s and still visit my host family in Scotland plus our son and his wife studied in Cambridge, England for 4 years so we visited them, too) and to add'l places like Iceland. We also travel extensively with a micro trailer in the US, road trips to national parks, don't always post whole photo collections but there are blogs for much of it here: Hopefulist in Other Places

In 1986 we visited Guatemala for the first time and then returned in 1989 to adopt and bring home a 4-year-old from an orphanage in Guatemala City. He's in his mid 30s now and all of us have been interested in the country and the Maya culture through him. In 2003 we visited as a family (kids were 17, 18, and 20 at the time) and in 2007 I started heading back to Guatemala to study Spanish in immersion programs (a few times to Honduras and México, too). My best fit school is in San Pedro La Laguna and in 2009 I learned that a huge chunk of the local population is finished with school after grade school due to lack of money; long story short my husband and I started a scholarship and social aid no profit in the community to help keep deserving kids in school and now have a home there and visit 2-3 times/year.

I'm a diver and Mike is an avid flyfisherman so some trips we also hit the water in Belize or Honduras. I thought years ago I'd continue to head south through Central America and into South America a country or 2 at a time but we love Guatemala (and Belize and Honduras) so much, that hasn't happened. Yet. :-) We did split a month between Ecuador (mostly Galapagos) and Perú (Sacred Valley, Cusco, Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu) in 2016 but have yet to visit the other 4 CA countries. A close friend just purchased property in El Salvador so I'll be there in the fall, not sure about the rest. The others just don't interest me as much - historical and contemporary Maya culture is a trip priority for us. So that's your answer! Let me know if you have add'l questions.

Daniel_Williams Apr 8th, 2019 04:24 PM

Hopefullist, Thanks for sharing the reason! So few people I know have chosen to visit (and sad to say, a number have little interest in visiting!) that part of the world and those that have, go once and then are off on a new adventure elsewhere. So the concept of repeat visiting seemed interesting and novel to me.

I personally have ended up a repeat visitor to Mexico & more recently northern Central America due to an appreciation for overland travel (starting in the northeast). It’s about as far as I can get to that way with my summer breaks and the wealth of things to do in that neck of the world draws me back!

best wishes, Daniel

hopefulist Apr 8th, 2019 09:50 PM

For some of us 'intimacy of place' (a phrase close friends introduced me to years ago) becomes more important than having a big bucket list of places to check off one at a time. That keeps some folks comfortable at home and others of us that plus heading back over and over to explore favorite haunts more deeply.

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