James-Robin couldn’t believe that he was reaching his halfway point while in Guatemala. He started his Guatemalan adventure in Antigua and was automatically struck by the cool evenings due to the higher altitude, a pleasant contrast from Nicaragua. Antigua was beautiful: cobbled streets, colourful houses, and the backdrop of Volcan Agua. James-Robin loved ambling the streets and trying out all the cute cafes. It strangely reminded him of a Guatemalan version of York, UK.
What made Antigua different from everywhere else he had seen so far was the strong sense of tradition in the city. The majority of women wore bright and colourful dresses, some altered to be more fashionable, but the pride in their Mayan heritage was evident. James-Robin visited Lake Atitlan in the mountains and surrounded by volcanoes. It was beautiful and surrounded by little traditional villages which he visited.
The next destination was a 10 hour journey through the windy mountains to Semuc Champey, a national park filled with many natural pools and waterfalls. James-Robin did an hour’s hike up rocks to the view point of the pools, but it was worth it. In the afternoon, James-Robin enjoyed a cave tour of one of the extensive cave systems. What made this experience unique was that the only light everyone had was from the candles that everyone was holding. The tour involved some swimming and even climbing up a ladder by a waterfall inside the cave! It was a little scary but James-Robin really enjoyed it. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to take a picture of that because his camera would have broken, but he hopes he has some good video footage on his gopro!
Finally, James-Robin made his way to a small colonial town called Flores, that was on a small island. The main reason James-Robin was there was to see the Mayan ruins of Tikal, some lost temples in the middle of the jungle that were only found a couple hundred years ago. They think the Mayans left because it ran out of water! The name translates to the City of Voices because if you clap in the middle of the main square, the temple creates an incredible echo. He arrived before sunrise and heard the jungle wake up, including all the Howler Monkeys (the world’s loudest land mammals), and watched the sky lighten to a misty view of the temple. James-Robin was so immersed by Tikal that he forgot to take a picture with it, although he took plenty of photos of it!
It was time for James-Robin to leave Guatemala, his favourite country so far. He was a little sad to leave but is excited to explore the only English-speaking country in Central America: Belize!