Cruise Day 7 – Guatemala

It is actually day 12 but I need to catch up the rear if possible. We have had several days at sea and our last port had no signal at all. Today we have 3G in Lima so will see how this goes.

We opted for a bus ride to Antigua so that we could walk around town on our own and not be restricted to what a tour guide would show us. I’m sure we missed some things that way but that’s okay. It was a 90 minute drive from the port and we climbed to an elevation of 5,000 feet, all the while with a view of volcanos out the front of the bus. The one named Fuego is active and would spit smoke and ash regularly throughout the day. These volcanos make for a dramatic backdrop to Antigua.

On the way we passed many small coffee farms and our excellent tour guide told us quite a bit about them. He explained that coffee growers only want women to plant the little trees and also to make the grafts that have to be done to each and every tree. The reason? Women are more careful, have small hands, and they have a different PH balance than men. I first thought the guide was joking but he wasn’t. He said that if a woman grafts the coffee tree the success rate is 95% but if a man does the success rate is only 45%.

We passed by a large shop that modifies the US yellow school busses into the very colorful city and rural busses for the people of Guatemala. I don’t know about the rest of Guatemala but in Antigua these busses are decked out to the max with lots of very shiny chrome, designer mud flaps, and a more professional looking paint job. The guide explained that many men haven’t gone to school and can’t read or write, therefore the wildly painted busses have a purpose. Based on their design, the illiterate men know where the bus is going. Most women have gone to school but in poor families, the boys are kept home to work in the fields.

Antigua is a small city founded in the early 16th century and was formerly the Spanish colonial capital of Latin America. It is a world heritage site and has a vibrant culture. The streets are all an uneven cobblestone so we had to be extra careful walking. Antigua is a fascinating city and a few hours was not nearly enough to take it all in. Every single building is worthy of several pictures. Almost every building has a massive front door that stays open to show off a lushly landscaped courtyard. Add all the beautiful architecture to beautiful and gentle people, and it is one of the top places we have ever been to.

Now hopefully I can get some pictures to upload:

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Volcano Fuego

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Iglesia La Merced

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Couldn’t leave without trying some Guatemalan coffee and  yes it is delish!

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Antigua, like all Latin American cities, has a large plaza in the town center

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Not a very good picture but you get the idea

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We found a restaurant whose menu looked appealing. The waiter sent us up a narrow spiral staircase to a rooftop patio and this is the view we had from our table of the Ruins of Antigua. It doesn’t get any better!

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