Hope Smith, founder of Born to Vacation, used time in Guatemala with Maya Trails in December 2020, viewing famed places these kinds of as Antigua, Lake Atitlan and Tikal, as properly as checking out much off-the-crushed-path sights these as Semuc Champey and Rio Dulce. Here she shares some of the highlights from her trip.
It experienced been practically 30 several years due to the fact I previous frequented Guatemala and I was enthusiastic to get again. Would the sights be as fantastic as I remembered them? The society as vibrant? Would the ‘Land of Everlasting Spring’ delight me when once again? Would I come to feel cozy with the COVID protocols in the place? All have been answered with a joyful of course!
On arrival, I was met by my Maya Trails guideline, Juan Carlos. I know Jimmy Rogers, the operator of Maya Trails, from the luxury travel reveals “Emotions” and “Remote Latin America.” Our long-standing partnership meant I understood I would be doing the job with a person of the most effective operators in the state and that I could expect outstanding support ahead of and throughout what would unquestionably be a unforgettable journey.
Meeting the locals in Guatemala
I felt unbelievably risk-free in the course of my travels. From the moment I landed, protocols have been enforced all over the place, both of those by Maya Trails and every institution, market, and sight that I frequented. Even when we stopped to get fresh new tortillas on the facet of the road, sellers ended up masked, and hand sanitizer was obtainable. Mask sporting was obligatory, and these processes fade into the track record as they develop into plan. It was good to come to feel that the travel was harmless, the two for me and the people of Guatemala.
I selected Guatemala because I believed it would be uncrowded at the time, and I was ideal. Most of the spots I visited, I was the only vacationer. This gave me an amazingly special expertise. Luxurious to me is not just about thread rely and features, it is also the bliss of exclusivity. There has never ever been a time like now for travel.
The check out from the terrace of Casa Palopo over Lake Atitlan.
In Lake Atitlan, I stayed at the Relais & Châteaux assets Casa Palopo. The boutique hotel is perched higher than the lake and has unquestionably spectacular sights and amazing cuisine. The tranquil moments I put in taking in the volcanic views from the terrace with my morning coffee will stay with me permanently. The boutique, 16-room hotel was the ideal, magnificent foundation to take a look at the space, acknowledged for its charming villages, galleries, textiles and cooperatives. This location features community-primarily based tourism at its best.
Antigua was lovely as ever with its gorgeous architecture, stunning placing and vivid streets. I chose yet another personal spot as my base — Posada del Angel. There is lots to preserve tourists engaged in Antigua, and it’s worth using the time to slow down and take a look at. Maya Trails has some exciting adventures in the spot for their tourists. I adore to hike, so Maya Trails instructed I climb close by Volcan Pacaya, a single of a few lively volcanoes in Guatemala. It was definitely a emphasize. My guideline and I had the path to ourselves — other than the companionship of a sweet neighborhood puppy. You can also do an night hike with Maya Trails the place you can cook dinner pizza or roast marshmallows about the lava!
Avenue scene in Antigua, Guatemala.
The ancient Mayan metropolis of Tikal was yet another highlight of my trip. We had been early birds checking out the ruins, and as I entered the Wonderful Plaza, I recognized that however once more, we were being the only ones there. In the peaceful, I gazed on the pyramids and felt as although I may possibly have been the initially particular person at any time to see them. It was pretty much a spiritual working experience.
I propose being exterior of the park at either La Lancha or Las Lagunas. Just system for an early departure to get to Tikal when it opens. If you remain at The Jungle Lodge, positioned at the gate of the Countrywide Park, observe that it does not give in-home Wi-Fi (though it is accessible in the cafe) and it shuts electrical power down all around 9 p.m. It does, nonetheless, give you unique obtain to a sunrise or sunset tour of Tikal.
A place inside of La Lancha, a Francis Ford Coppola hotel.
Travel all through COVID may perhaps often take a bit far more patience, but the benefits are extra than really worth it. Possessing these incredible normal and historic sights to myself was a privilege I never ever imagined. Whilst I traveled solo, I was never by yourself. I was often accompanied by my manual, and I generally had the chance to join with Guatemala’s heat and superb people. Touring solo also permit me set the tempo — to slow down, acquire time to breathe, to sit and to really take pleasure in my surroundings.
The dock at La Lancha, a Francis Ford Coppola lodge.
I have to say a special gracias to the individuals of Guatemala for reminding me how much you have to present. Also, to each one of my Maya Trails guides and motorists who stored me risk-free and laughing just about every day on the road. Every single protocol and further than is taken in Guatemala — kudos to them for a work very well carried out!
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