Guatemala (28-Jul/01-Aug)

After Salvador, my trip led me to the country just north of it, Guatemala. In practice, the only thing I knew about Guatemala was Tikal, the famous Maya site. This was therefore the main aim of my stay there.

flores.jpg
From San Salvador, I took a day bus to Guatemala City (I've had been advised to stop taking night buses in Central America as they may be subject to robberies) and arrived there in the evening... How can I resume my impressions about this town... Ugly and dangerous sounds like a good start. Everybody kept saying "be careful", don't walk around at night, and technically there were several people who started to "annoy" me but did not do anything as the streets were still busy. I guess they may have been less shy at night. Still I met nice people willing to help, a woman owning a small shop offering to prepare any dish I wanted even if not on the menu (for cheap). As for the hotel (expensive) it featured a full colony of cockroaches... One thing leading to another I decided to leave the next morning while I was planning to stay longer. I headed north, to a small town named Flores which lies on a peninsula on a lake. Actually from there I took a small boat to a nearby island where my hostel was. It was what they commonly call here an eco-lodge. Basically it's just a (quite comfortable) caban in the woods. It was really a good choice as the owner was really nice and helpful... and I stayed there more than expected. From there I made a day trip to the world famous Maya site named Tikal. This town in the middle of the jungle used to host 200.000 people... and it was built from 400 BC to 700 DC... which is more impressive than Machu Pichu which was built in the 15th century. Still I was surprised that there were very few people visiting the site, and mostly backpackers or local people, no travel groups as I had expected. In the park I walked most of the day, climbed several pyramids... under a very hot sun, while being bitten by mosquitos :P. Still this was really a nice visit. Then at 5am I took a bus destination Mexico, and the nearby town of Palenque.... Well it's nearby on the bus but I should have checked a map: there are no roads between the two towns, this trip implied therefore taking a minibus on muddy and bumpy "roads", then crossing the border in a pirogue... and was quite long.

Photos here