Vacationing in Guatemala

Trip Start Dec 13, 2006
Trip End Jan 31, 2011

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Where I stayed
4a Avenida Sur #3

Flag of Guatemala  , Western Highlands,
Saturday, August 7, 2010

Leaving our boat secured at the dock at Marina Carenero in Bocas del Toro, Panama, we left Bocas at 7 a.m. by ferry to Almirante, 30 minutes away.  There we hopped a taxi for a 30 minute ride to Changuinola where we had breakfast while awaiting the bus's departure to the Costa Rican border, an hour away.  At Changuinola we disembarked from the bus to check out of Panama, cross a rickety, high, wooden bridge and check into Costa Rica.  (The bus could not cross the bridge with passengers.)  Of course,seeing long lines at the check out office and not realizing we had to check out of Panama first,  Mike and I went on, crossing the rickety wooden bridge to the Costa Rican Immigration -- only to be told we had to clear out of Panama first.  Another trek back and forth on the horrendously rickety bridge!!!  Of course, our bus was waiting by the time we got through with Costa Rican Immigration the first time, but the driver said to hurry, that he would wait.  Sweating profusely, we arrived at the bus only to find they were doing a little maintenance--that is, replacing the fan belt.  Three fellows including the driver and the conductor were huddled around the engine attempting to replace the fan belt!!  An hour later, they were ready to go...and so were we.  Four hours later after a lunch break in Puerto Limon, we arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica, and our fabulous hotel, Hotel Aranjuez.  The hotel is an unusual concept:  a hotel made up of adjoined older homes in San Jose.  There are various kinds of rooms with and without private baths.  Houses and rooms are interspersed with sitting rooms adorned with plants.  There are lots of nooks and crannies where one can sit and read or simply rest.   In the morning an amazing breakfast spread greeted us:  omelets to order, pancakes, an assortment of breads and fruits, and the most wonderful coffee.  Two hours later we were on the plane to Guatemala City.  

We were met by a prearranged shuttle,  Arsoturs, who had been recommended by fellow cruisers and arrived at our home in Antigua an hour later.  Elizabeth Bell, who manages the property, greeted us and gave us the keys to the charming home.  Elizabeth is a well-renowned tour operator in Antigua.  In fact, we took her walking tour on Tuesday, and, as we had been told, it was unforgettable.  We learned so much.  Other than that, we have been enjoying the high country.  Antigua is a mile high and, yes, it's the rainy season, but we only sometimes have rain in the afternoon.  Our house looks out on the Volcano of Water, Volcan de Agua, although there are two other volcanoes surrounding the town of Antigua.  It is usually shrouded in clouds, but still beautiful.  The town's people are very kind and friendly.  We are thrilled to have a month here.  Our daughter, Brooke, will arrive Wednesday for a few days; then Mike's brother and sister-in-law will arrive at the end of the month.  In the mean time, we are enjoying the cool, pleasant surroundings, wonderful local market and restaurants galore.  



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