Today we saw the Guatemala City garbage dump, the main dump for the capital of Guatemala. The garbage dump is about as large as 24 football fields put together. We viewed the dump from a cemetery above the valley, it was a chaotic site. Garbage trucks moved in and out and people flowed like water in a stream, trying to find treasure in the trash. Vultures circled, seemingly to mock the poor people who had to sort through garbage just to make a living. The birds rested on the ground, in trees, and feasted on anything they found.
The smell was horrendous, a sickening smell like old compost or rotting eggs. The ground was littered with piles of garbage that seemed to multiply in just the few minutes we watched. People raced to the newest trucks in hope of finding something valuable, others simply tried to find what people may have not seen in hopes of finding a hidden gem. These were the people who had been kicked to the bottom or even kicked out, they could not escape and were destined to stay here digging in the dirt and acting like a pack of starved wolves.
The Guatemala City dump is a sad place full of people who can’t find opportunity elsewhere. The sight of so many poor, homeless, pathetic people is saddening and it’s hard to look past how unfair it is. It was almost overwhelming to stand there and have so much more than these people, what must they have gone through to be forced to do this? How could they continue to live like this? It gave off a feeling foreboding as if this was what would happen if you didn’t succeed, it made you want to turn away and run.
There are many places that are fun to swim in Guatemala, these range from swimming holes to rivers and swimming pools. The few places mentioned in this post are my favorite and sort of not really favorite places that we as a family have swam during our 2.5 months living in Guatemala.
1. (Not because it’s the best) Semuc Champey
Semuc Champey is a series of pools located deep in the jungle, it is only accessible by an approximately (traffic and such) six hour drive (it took us about 8 hours). So why should you risk an aching butt and a stuffy car for this? Well I don’t really know because it’s not that amazing. This place is very beautiful full of small falls and crystal clear water but it’s not all amazing and great, the rocks are slippery and the water is cold, there isn’t many deep areas and places to jump are limited. Semuc Champey is one of the most advertised place along with Lake Atitlan (later) so it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to go.
2.(because It looks nice) Lake Atitlan
To avoid saying the obvious Lake Atitlan is a lake called Atitlan, no it’s really quite beautiful, it has clear water and very cute villages and lakeside homes. We stayed at a hotel on the lake known as Casa Del Mundo, it is situated on the edge of the lake terraced down a steep mountain. Travel is mostly by boat and there are many fun activities, this may not be the number one place to swim but it is a very nice place to stay, cool off, and just relax.
3.(it’s a cave!) Cueva Setzol
Cueva Setzol is a cave filled with water! After a small hike you will arrive at a large open cave with several areas both underground and above. The rocks are sharp but its alright when you are in the water, the water is deep enough to comfortably swim and there are several places to jump, the caves are large, stretching in many different directions. There are wonderful stalactite/stalagmite formations and interesting flora. After or before your swim you can explore numerous caves with some cool places! Remember to bring your flashlight and have a wonderful time!
4.(Numero uno) Las Conchas
Las Conchas is my personal favorite swimming area, comprising of several pools and waterfalls it is very beautiful. There is even a rope swing and pools of different depths. The area has places for camping and a waterfall to jump off, it is about twenty feet tall! The nice atmosphere combined with the water and waterfall make it worth it! It is not as famous as Semuc Champey but in my opinion is way more fun! The only downsides are that it can get cold and that it is out of the way and a bit of a hike without a car. It also has nice smooth not slippery rocks (Makes more difference than you think).
In conclusion these are all fun places to swim and you should definitely check out at least a few. The beaches I have gone too have been cool although I am going to Roatan so I may have different opinion (Roatan is in Honduras though so….)! Safe travels. 😀
1. Listen to the names the driver of a chicken bus is calling out:
Guate: Guatemala City
Everything else is close to the actual city/town you go to.
2. You will probably get sick around the third week you get here, be prepared. Do not eat food that you drop on the floor.
3. Do not touch the animals before confirming they are vaccinated, they can have rabies.
4. Do not eat the street food, or you will get stomach problems for a week.
5. Do not play soccer next to a team, or you will see them snickering the whole time.
6. Understand Spanish. It will prove very useful.
7. Make sure you do not let your kids roun on dirt hills covered in trash.
I hope you enjoyed my post, and I will post again soon!
We eat a lot of fruits in Guatemala. Some are fruits I have eaten before, but sometimes we get to try new fruits. It is exciting to try new fruits because you don’t know what they are going to taste like. Some fruits look good but they are not always good. Some fruits look bad but they taste good. For example, the Granadilla looked orange on the outside and was gray, black, and slimy on the inside. I was brave and I ate it. It tasted like a pomegranate. It was a little tangy and very sweet with a lot of juice.
This is a concise guide to living in Guatemala.
- Don’t get hit by a car, seriously.
- Don’t drink the water or you may end up with a slight case of amoebic dysentery.
- Eat as many tacos as possible.
- Always bargain at markets it’s part of the fun.
- Remember that baño is bathroom in Spanish.
- Try and get a guide for climbing a mountain. It’s generally an alright idea.
- Don’t be kidnapped!(or adultknapped when applicable)
- Watch out for fruit worms in your mangoes.
- Remember that it is roughly Q6.3 or 6.3 quetzals to one American dollar.
- Don’t clog the toilet by putting toilet paper in.
- Be super awesome! And say hi to everyone you meet, or good morning/afternoon/Night.
That was a concise post on how to live in Guatemala. From Ethan in Guatemala.
The routine of daily life is kicking in here in Guatemala. The difference between vacation and living could well be the propensity to clean and the necessity of doing laundry. Freeing the outdoor hallway of dusty volcanic ash only to know it will return tomorrow seems an exercise in futility. But it is in the mundane that today I find tranquility.