So... I've been busy learning Spanish, but the best way to learn a second language is to speak with natives and to be out and about. In that regard I've been venturing around, here in town and other places around. I've taken a few weekend side trips to some nearby places. These side trips have allowed me to bond with my fellow students, explore the nearby locales and attractions, while retaining that traveler's spirit. There is always something going on and there is always something to do... This is where I've been going:
The Coast - A quick trip to the Pacific turned into a manageable fiasco - a bus route was temporarily cancelled and an accompanying friend got ill. We are all seasoned travelers and found our way around and down to the coast by other means, our final destination was Tilapita, a small village perched on a sandbar accessible only by boat. As far as being ill on the road, that is no fun but we take good care of each other; out of common human decency but also because sooner or later we know it's going to be us that needs the helping.
Lago Atitlan - The next weekend we ventured to San Pedro La Laguna, a small yet quite touristy town. Just three hours by bus from Xela gets you to one of the most renowned places in Guatemala, the famous Lago Atitlan. Quaint little towns and villages dot the waters edge each with unique characteristics. San Pedro is one of the larger settlements and is bustling with activity, this is a mainstay for water lovers and volcanoes climbers.
Fuentes Gorginas - We made our way here for a Saturday soak. The bus to Xela's neighboring town Zunil stops just a few blocks away from the school. After a 15 minute ride you then must bargain for a ride in the back of a pickup truck to the hot springs. The springs are absolutely wonderful. On our way back we stopped at the Zunil Market for lunch in a small typical Guatemalan comedor, back on the bus and back to Xela - a perfect half day trip.
Also in the area... Baul, a public space atop a nearby hill. Less than an hours walk up from the school, it offers a quick get away, and great city views. Chicabal, a sacred volcano and caldera lake. Located 30 minutes by bus this is a must do day trip from Xela. Its an easy walk up and over the rim then down to the waters, ceremonies, both Mayan and Evangelical are preformed around the waters edge. Coming up next... Antigua, Volcan Tujamulco, and a Mexican Boarder Run.