My Guatemala-Mexico Holiday - 2000
It was a busy holiday. I met many wonderful people and saw
some absolutely awesome sights.
- To prepare for my trip I attended the local
El Salvadoran Spanish School run by Santos Garcia h
ere in Regina.
The rate was $100 for a 12 week course.
There were 8 people in our 2 hour per week class.
To contact the
school: Tel: (306) 543-6948 Fax: (306) 543-3815.
Santos also operates International
Trade Liason Inc. and set up my airflights to Guatemala and
my return from Mexico.
All of his arrangements went off like clockwork.
- The first 3 weeks of my vacation was in the city
in the Guatemalan highlands.
The countryside is fabulous with volcanic peaks (some smoldering),
mountain ridges and valleys.
Quetzaltenango itself is a bit grim from afirst world perspective
but when you get over the culture shock, you find the
people warm and friendly as well as fun loving.
- When I was in
Quetzaltenango, I took a total immersion Spanish language
course at the school called
Here is a link to the school's
They provided me with a fabulous homestay family,
one-on-one Spanish language instruction with excellent instructors,
and a great variety of school activities.
- Here are some of the side trips I took
San Fransisco el Alto - the biggest outdoor
market in all of Guatemala.
It was truly mind boggling to see so many people selling so many things
to so many people. The entire hillside village spilled over
with people selling everything from puppies to accordians to machetes.
This pretty city was once the capital of Guatemala but earthquakes
caused considerable damage and a new capital city was started some
It's a real eye-opener to stand just a few blocks away from a
- Zunilis a
small mountain village just minutes away from Quetzaltenango.
Amazing to see the small vegetable patches that are cultivated on
the incredibly steep slopes around this picturesque mountain village.
Lago Atitlan, surrounded by 3 major volcanoes,
is said to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
We got off at Solala and hiked down the mountainside to the lake.
It was an 8 kilometer walk down 500 meters of mountainside!
Hope you're reading this Bodel!! :)
Needless to say we were glad to relax at the lake.
- I left Quetzaltenango and the southern highlights to go
Tikalin the northern rainforest region.
Tikal is the site of spectacular Mayan ruins.
- After Tikal, I left Guatemala and went
in Chiapas, Mexico. Palenque is also a Mayan ruin site - to my mind,
the mostimpressive ruin site that I have seen.
Each Mayan ruin site has its own personality
but I like Palenque the best of the sites that I have visited
(Tikal, Uxmal, Chichen Itza).
There were some other lovely natural sites around Palenque
including the 110 foot Misol Ha waterfalls and the
Agua Azules series of cascades.
- My last stop was at
Villahermosain Tabasco, Mexico.
I've been fascinated by the giant Olmec head sculptures and wanted
to see them first hand.
(Olmecs were the great ancestors of the Maya.)
The archaeological park at Villahermosa also had quite a
good zoo with jaguars and exotic birds so that was an
A friend suggested that I add a note on the pictures in these pages.
Aside from scanned map on this first page, all of the pictures
were taken with my Sony Digital 8 Handycam camcorder.
(DCR-TRV510 if you are interested in specifics.)
Don't mean to sound like a commercial, but this camera really is marvelous.
I decided when I got home which parts of the video that I'd
like to capture as still shots.
You just run your video back in "play" mode and when you see
something you want as a still, press the "photo" button.
That grabs a copy of the shot and puts it into the built-in flash memory.
From there I downloaded them to a computer.
So almost all of the shots are captured from video
(some from bus and airplane windows).
I did take a few pictures direct into the flash memory at the
time but it's hard now to tell which are which.
Also the zoom is fantastic - check the crocodile on the Villahermosa page.
The jaguar on that page is also taken with the zoom.
You'll notice there though, how well the camera compensates for
the chain link fence I'm shooting through.
The jaguar is one of the pictures I took directly into flash
I can hardly wait till next year for another holiday and
another opportunity to use my Handycam. :)