Emma and Sarah's Mayan Adventure May 2008 travel blog




Today was a pretty manic day! It was an early start as we had to leave before breakfast so we were up at 615am to finish packing (such a hassle packing and re-packing 3 months of stuff every other night!) Then we jumped in 4 taxis to go to the bus station and our coach left at 845. After about an hour on the coach we arrived at the Mexican migration offices. Here we got off the coach and collected our bags while our tour leader collected all our passports and Mexican tourist cards so we could get an exit stamp to leave Mexico. We then all climbed into taxis and went off road across some No Man's Land between Mexico and Guatemala for about 5 minutes. We then got out with our bags again in the middle of a bustling market at the Guatemalan border. You wouldn't know it was a border though! Here we had to fill in a form and que up with our passports to be checked before ducking under a makeshift barrier into Guatemala! Guatemala is also an extra hour behind so we had to change our clocks (now 7 hours behind UK). Then we had a fun trip in a tuk tuk - these are just like a rikshaw but powered by moped instead of a bicycle. We had to squeeze 5 in each and put all our luggage in another, and our little convoy of tuk tuks led us to the chicken bus. A chicken bus is an old American school bus from the 60s but painted in all bright colours. They get their name because everyone is crammed on like chickens, even with the occasional live chicken! Seats are designed for 2 but all have at least 3 sometimes 4 and everyone else stands down the aisle and holds on for dear life! Our bags were thrown on top onto the roof rack and off we went! Pretty hairy at times as the drivers go very fast overtaking at speed on blind bends along the mountain roads! However it was all part of the 'cultural experience' and after 2 hours we got off and had a quick lunch before getting into minibuses just for our group. We then drove a further 3 hours through the mountains of Guatemala to our hotel in Panajechal on the shores of Lake Atitlan. The scenery here is so beautiful, lots more greenery and many active volcanoes. The temperature is also far more bearable - warm and sunny but heavy showers in the early evening/night. In our hotel there is even a talking parrot that lives in a tree growing in the courtyard by reception! We went for supper in a local restaurant and then went to bed as everyone was so tired.

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