We knew our time in Guatemala was coming to an end and we decided to treat ourselves to a few days up in the hills at Earth Lodge – a mountain lodge and avocado farm just outside Antigua.
The trip back from San Pedro was nice and quick, and we met our driver in Antigua who took us up the hill to Earth Lodge.Â We drove onto a dusty track which stopped in the middle of nowhere and were told to just walk along a little path and turn left down another little path and then we will see the lodge.
After sliding down a steep dusty path, we eventually arrived and were greeted by an incredible view down the valley with 2 volcanoÂ´s in the distance.Â The main house consisted of a bar and restaurant with big windows and doors opening onto a lawn with deck chairs, hammocks, garden games and view you could look at all day long.
We checked into one of the tree cabins which are dotted around in the trees and took a stroll around the lodge.Â We found a Mayan sauna which looked quite basic but apparently works like a bomb.Â If it were cooler we would have given it a go but it was far too hot, and there wasn’t anywhere to cool off afterwards, so we stuck to chilling out in the garden and watching the volcano’s puffing away.Â Over the next few days we drank sangria, ate fresh guacamole and read a few books – it was delightful!
After the struggle back up that steep path with our heavy backpacks on (NOT fun), we got a lift back down to Antigua and checked into El Hostel for one more night before our border crossing into Honduras the following day.Â We booked our shuttle and then enjoyed a few cocktails and a delicious lunch at Sky Bar.
The next morning we were picked up at 6am and spent the rest of the day in the mini-bus.Â Joy.Â We crossed the border into Honduras at about 6pm and got to Copan about 10 minutes later.Â We had managed to book a room in a hotel as the hostels were full, so we enjoyed a bit of luxury before moving to great hostel the following day and joined up with the peeps we had met on the shuttle.
It was time to get to Utila.Â We wanted to do it in a day which meant a 6am busÂ to San Pedro Sula, another bus to La Ceiba, a taxi to the dock and the 4pm ferry to the island.Â We did it, and we have been on this island for 5 weeks now – all that news in the next blog post!
Best padkos ever - a bag of mixed chips (doritos, cheese puffs and pork crackling)
This is on the main national highway - yes, those are dudes hanging off the back and side of the truck. Only in Central America.
McDonalds courtyard, Antigua. Is this posh or what? Even Ronald takes his breaks in the garden.
Lift up to Earth Lodge in a bakkie - nice furry dashboard cover.
Dyl going economy class on the back.
Making our way up the hill - looking back onto the volcano.
Looking for Earth Lodge.
Found it! Chilling out looking down onto the valley - the most amazing views.
Hails gets introduced to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The view from our little tree cabin.
Our home up the hill.
Lunch time snack - guacamole and a view.
Little Mayan sauna - you have to stoop to get in.
Inside the sauna - the fire is made in the oil drum at the back.
The dorm which sleeps 8 people - in the middle of nowhere.
Afternoon entertainment. Wobble board, bean bag tossing, juggling, table tennis and hammocks.
Dyl showing how its done.
Night time view of Antigua below.
Our little home in the trees.
One of the other tree cabins below ours.
View from Earth Lodge looking down into the valley. The volcano on the left is Agua, on the right is Fuego and Acatenango.
Earth Lodge View
Fat kitty getting some loving.
One of the volcanos having a little puff.
Dyl enjoying his sangria - yum.
Jeffrey making the delicious sangria which assisted us through a hot afternoon.
Hails having a sleep on the mattresses where the dog usually sleeps. So comfy.
The main house - bar and restaurant area complete with fireplace for the chilly evenings in winter.
We enjoyed a few table tennis championships which Hails won.
Inside the main house.
A bit of backgammon.
Making our way back up to the road - hard work with a backpack on and a very steep hill!
The main square in Antigua - awesome fountain.
One of the best fountains we've seen.
One of the official buildings off the square.
Lunch at Sky bar on the roof terrace - best views.
Hails after a few cocktails - happy as.
One of the local craft markets. A lovely new chunk of turquoise around the neck.
One of the main streets in Antigua - tourist shot.
Awesome graffitti on one of the derelict buildings.
One of the old churches.
Braai in one of the shop doorways - the most amazing smells.
In Copan, walking through one of the main streets trying to find our hostel, and we pass a cow munching on flowers in a window box.
First cold beer in Honduras - Salva Vida.
After a great nights sleep, we looked forward to a delicious breakfast.
Our posh hotel for 1 night.
A little nap after breakfast.
We moved to a more affordable hostel and enjoyed quick showers hoping not to be electrocuted.
The main street through Copan - electric wires everywhere.
We bumped into Tina who we met in Caye Caulker and convinced her to come with us to Utila.
Tina and Andreja - coming with us to Utila.
Our bus from Antigua to San Pedro Sula.
1 bus from Antigua to San Pedro Sula. 1 bus from San Pedro Sula to La Ceiba. Taxi to the dock moments before the 4pm ferry to Utila. Just made it!
A stunning welcome to the island.
March 3, 2011
After Antigua, the obvious route would have been to head South or South East further down into Central America, since this is our vaguely planned route. But we had only seen on of the big Guatemalan lakes so far, so instead we decided to follow Tom and Sara and head up to San Pedro up on Lake Atitlan.
The trip up wasn’t too bad actually, we’d been used to full days in the shuttles and busses but this only took a couple of hours, with maybe a third of the whole journey time just making it oven and down the windy road over the mountains and then down to the lake.
We had had several recommendations for a place called Zoola so when we arrived we checked it out and weren’t disapointed. They had an awesome chillout area, a restaurant serving great looking food and they had a pool and bar.
We probably could have done a lot more there, but we were in the mood to chill out and slow down a bit – all the rafting and volcano climbing and all that the previous couple weeks had hit us and so apart from heading across the lake by ferry the one day to the market at Santiago town, we just vegged out, swam, ate delicious food, played lots of cards, wondered around the local town, that sort of thing.
The market was pretty cool though – the village is on a hill, the main road up the hill is chocka-block full of craft stalls selling all the various traditional Guatemalan handcrafts (lots of woven goods and plenty brightly painted carvings). Such awesome treasures there, and for amazing prices (you could haggle big time there). If we’d been at the end of our trip we probably would have just dumped the contents of our bags and refilled them just with new stuff from there! But alas we were not even close to the end, so we just had to look and take the odd sneaky photo here and there. At the top of the hill the traditional local market starts and thats where it got even better. The market was a standard market – nothing special there (except maybe the abundance of dried fish – if that lake had a type of fish, you could buy it up at the market dried out!) except the people.
Being a Sunday, they were out in their traditional dress which truely was a sight to behold. The woman generally wear dresses made from stripy purple woven fabric with lots of edges embroidered by hand. But it was the men’s dress style I thought totally rocked out. They all wear knee length baggies!! White baggies with thin maroon pinstriping. Collared shirts tucked in. An embroidered sash as a belt. And to top it off, a cowboy hat! We noticed some of the men had a lot of different types of bird embroidered on their baggies, and when we passed a store selling them we popped in to see what the deal was. Turns out the birds on the baggies are hand embroidered, a job which takes a skilled artisan 6 months of working 8 hours a day to do just for a single pair of baggies! Absolutely crazy! I would have bought a pair but for obvious reasons they were not cheap at all.
Anyway, yeah, we had a nice chilled relaxing time out there, recharged all the batteries so to speak and by the time we were finished at the lake and ready to head back onto our Southern route we felt ready for it!
Leaving Antigua, the view from outside our hostel. Yup, that's a Volcano.
Our hostel entrance. Doesn't look like much from the outside but it opened up onto that awesome courtyard almost straight away.
Hails showing us how its done. Our shuttle to the lake.
In San Pedro, taking a stroll around. Tom and his bag of orange juice. They don't rock the whole disposable cup thing here, if you want a juice or smoothie from one of the takeaway joints it comes in a clear plastic bag with a straw.
Chilling out at Zoola. They have this big colourful tent-type thing with loads of low tables, pillows and blankets. Super chilled.
Having some food there - the portions were HUUUUUGE, and super tasty too.
Our guest drawing entry in Tom and Sara's crayon diary - this of our fated rafting trip.
Hails and one fat cat. He was super chilled. To the max.
The chillout area at night, taken from in the garden.
Breakfast at a pub in town before we headed off to the markets across the lake.
This is the view from our breakfast spot. Can't complain too much about the lack of window between us and this.
View down one of the side streets down towards the lake.
Our ferry across to Santiago for the markets (ours was the bigger one behind the boat called Rosalita).
Selfie on the way over the lake.
Hails so not posing on the way over. Thats just her style.
Tom and Sara chilling out on the boat - we had all climbed up onto the roof to sit in the sun.
Another one of those top-down paintings. Cool market scene.
And another - this one of coffee pickers.
And the final one, this of another market scene at the bottom and corn sellers at the top.
In the market - its not a great shot but it shows the traditional dress styles of the locals. The dudes have it best - those long white and maroon stripy shorts, tucked in checked collared shirt and cowboy hats!
Baby turkey and chicken seller in the market. Also interesting is in the foreground is one of the stripy long shorts. Except these ones have the embroidered birds on them. We saw some in a shop and went to find out about them - the embroidering is all by hand and takes approximately 6 months working 8 hours a day to do. As expected, those baggies cost quite a bit..
Another shot of the chick seller - this one shows off the traditional dress of the local women quite well - long woven skirts and purple stripy tops.
Kewl little chair Hails spotted in the craft market.
View from outside our little room at Zoola. These are all private doubles, leading down to the pool with the lake behind it.
The pool at Zoola.
Daytime shot of the chill out tent.
Restaurant area just off the tent.
And finally, just for Hails, Kitty!
For the picasweb gallery of the pics, click here.
February 23, 2011