I spent a night in Guatemala City after landing at 9:30 at night from an exhausting flight from Boston. The next day I got picked up in a van to head to Panajachel but first stopping in Antigua to pick up other passengers along the way. I couldn’t be more excited to explore Guatemala for the next few days and seeing what it has to offer. I will be spending a couple of nights at Balam ya villas and hope to find some great relaxation from after my big trip in Japan. I got to spend a couple of nights in what seemed luxury and peaceful. There is a big lake on the property where you can take a kayak and just paddle away into the view of nothing but perfection with mountains in the backdrop. I stayed in a 2 bedroom villa with a full kitchen, 2 and a half bathrooms, three balconies and a lovely living room that had wonderful natural light coming in the daytime. The villas have snacks and beverages provided for a small cost and everything you need in reference to utensils, pots, pans and coffee etc. They also serve free breakfast in the morning but you have to let them know in advance. I never felt so relaxed in my travels in such a long time. People think a third world country can’t be relaxing but of course it can be. Finding beauty in anything is a gift. Seeing the reality of poverty is always awakening and makes you appreciate the good in your life. I’m also considering going back to volunteer my time to the children in some parts of Guatemala.
After the first night, and the next morning, I took a tour with a couple that runs the tour to a hot springs called Fuentes Georginas which was about 1.5 hours away. It’s near the agriculture part of Guatemala high in the mountains where it gets a bit cooler and cloudy which is wonderful for a hot spring. It is best to go early before the big crowds and before the chances increase for rain. One thing I learned about the agriculture in Guatemala is that they do unfortunately plump up their veggies to have more access to food without having to buy multiple small veggies at a time. Families can eat more and pay less. But it was beautiful to see people working and wave as we drove by that were working so hard in the fields producing food. The hot springs were well needed. It was natural and some was man made but the misty and gloomy weather added a great touch to it. It was so cloudy and full of fog that it felt like you were in a sauna but outdoors if that makes any sense. They have a little restaurant on site that sells lunch with big portions. It wasn’t too crowded but the earlier you go the better as I said before. That’s crucial. We stopped at a cafe that roasts coffee beans right on site and it’s the best way to get fresh coffee. The cafe is called Crossroads Cafe and it’s hands down the best in Panajachel. It’s a must stop by place. I finished my day off with some pizza and just looking out into the view and had a great rest.
I used my drone on this trip and it was one of the best thing I could’ve brought with me. Even though TSA in Guatemala stopped me and asked me questions about after it went through screening and even how much it costs. So be ready to be stopped if you bring one but don’t worry, it’s legal to bring. I caught some sick footage of the property I stayed on and wish I had more time to use it in other parts of the country. I had a great convo about life with the property manager about life positivity and social injustices and how life should stay in balance. That was the cherry on top of my stay. It’s always great meeting people that has the same mind set about life as you do from around the world. I must say I’m glad I decided to go to Guatemala even a day after getting back from Japan which in itself pretty crazy and I don’t suggest anyone to plan a travel like that because it can be hard on the body traveling in three continents within 48 hours. The culture and beautiful colors of the dresses and bags reminded me of Peru. The women in Guatemala are beautiful as well. One thing I learned is that the reason a lot of women are short is due to their diet and climate. One documentary I recommend people to watch about how the real struggle of Guatemala is like, is called ‘Living on one dollar” and it is Soo great and almost shocking to see how people live off of little to no money. It’s real and it’s raw.
I highly suggest more people to visit Guatemala and although it’s stamped with being dangerous, it’s safe as long as you use the same caution you would anywhere else. The culture and food is beautiful and people are seriously missing out by skipping this lovely country. I give it 8/10.