Monthly Archives: October 2011

Making a Break for the Coast – Xela to El Tulate, Guatemala

We love Xela, we really do, but the mountain highland location makes it hard to remember that it is still summer. We are not the sunbathing, hammock-lazing, piña colada sipping types (although sometimes we like to see how the other … Continue reading

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Would You Like a Handbag With Your Mayan Ceremony? – Chichicastenengo, Guatemala

Chichicastenango is a typical Mayan market: chaotic, colorful, dirty, and full of locals just dying to sell you handbags/jewelry/leather shoes/tablecloths/live chickens/lightbulbs/plastic bags. So why is it such a huge tourist attraction? Because it is the biggest market of it’s kind. … Continue reading

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Is It Hot In Here? Or Is It Just Us? – Fuentes Georginas and Zunil, Guatemala

Xela is not on the radar of many tourists who come to Guatemala on the whirlwind sightseeing tour (Antigua, Tikal, Semuc Champey, Lago Atitlan); this town rewards those who stick around for a while. And one of those rewards is … Continue reading

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Sticky – Quetzatenango (Xela), Guatemala

The first question you are asked when you meet another traveler here is ‘How long have you been in Xela?’. It is a subtle difference from other common traveler’s get-to-know-you questions like ‘Where are you from?’, ‘Where else have you … Continue reading

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Let’s Make a Deal – Quetzatenango (Xela), Guatemala

We often go to the local markets here in Xela for groceries and whatever other needs pop up. There is a definite, recognized hierarchy of value here as far as the markets are concerned and, like the good little backpackers … Continue reading

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Atitlan or Bust! Seriously. – Xela to San Pedro de la Laguna, Guatemala

Not even a week after our arrival in Xela, we found ourselves spandexing up and heading out to meet a group of strangers at 6am for a ride to the much-hyped Lake Atilan. Attila, our first friend in town, organized … Continue reading

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To Guat or Not? – Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala

We decided to come to Guatemala only after wrestling with the safety issues for the better part of the previous 4 months. Stories of violence and crime here are real, but you always have to wonder what the context is- … Continue reading

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Sierra Madre High (Day 103) – San Pedro Sacatepéquez to Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala

We got up early this morning to do the day’s ride into Xela (SHEH-lah), which is the mercifully shortened version of Quetzaltenango.  First we went by the local market, where women were selling all manner of excellent breakfasts.  We had … Continue reading

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Who You Callin’ Chicken? (Day 102) – Malacatán to San Pedro Sacatepéquez, Guatemala

The ride from Malacatán to Quetzaltenango, which is where we’re going to spend a couple of weeks learning Spanish, is legendarily difficult.  M looked on (which is a website that collects other bicycle-travelers blogs) for accounts of other people … Continue reading

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Goodbye Mezcal…Hello Rum! (and toilet seats!) (Day 101) – Juchitan, Mexico to Malacatán, Guatemala

We caught an overnight bus out of Juchitan, in order to skip about 4 days of riding through the brutally hot region of the Mexican Isthmus.  The Mexicans we spoke with assured us that we were missing nothing, and we … Continue reading

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