We are back from an AMAZING trip to Guatemala. We've been back a week tomorrow and already miss it so much. If you're looking for a fairly inexpensive vacation and are adventurous, GO! We are actually talking about moving there at least six months out of the year, we loved it that much. Let me say it's not for everyone. It's a developing country, so there is a lot of poverty, it's dirty and noisy. The countryside is SO beautiful and the people, well... they are the kindest most agreeable people. We loved the people of Guatemala. We didn't come across one angry person.
We stayed six nights in Panajachel on Lake Atitlan. We went during the beginning of rainy season and I guess it there was more rain that usual. We were also there for the 7.0 earthquake. That woke us up quickly in the middle of the night. The epicenter was only 100 miles northwest of us, but there was little damage (none where we were) and I think there was a few injuries, but no deaths. Miracles.
We loved San Juan la Laguna. This is where they have several weaving cooperatives. The weavers there grow, spin and dye (with natural dyes) all their own cotton. I brought some back and it is lovely stuff.
I took a backstrap weaving workshop with Maya Traditions. My teacher, Zenaida, was very pleasant. With my minimal Spanish, we made it through the morning just fine until my husband (who's fluent) got there. She reported to him that my Spanish wasn't bad. lol She's from the village of San Antonio Palopó. It's about a 25 minute pick up truck (Guatemalan taxi) ride from Panajachel. We went to visit her the next day. They are wonderful weavers and all wear the same blue woven fabric. I was dressed up in it and put at a loom to weave a bit. So much fun. They also make some gorgeous pottery in that village. We just brought back a few pieces as we were afraid of weight and breakage in our luggage. Probably a good thing for our bank account that Guatemala doesn't have a postal system.
I'd like to add in here, if you are interested in learning backstrap weaving, it couldn't be cheaper or easier and it's awesome for travel. I've been following Laverne Waddington for years. Check out her blog here. She now has a great DVD out and a couple of books.
To be closer to Guatemala City for our return flight home we splurged and stayed at The El Convento Hotel in Antigua. Oh. My. Word. The most beautiful hotel we've ever stayed in. It's built in an old Convent and just gorgeous. It was a splurge, but we would never have been able to afford this place in the States. We paid about $350 for the night and that was with roses, dinner and breakfast. It was our 25th Anniversary celebration so we did the package deal and the meals were out of this world. I will just leave you with a modge podge of photos from our trip: