Next stop: Guatemala

20140802-102643-37603852.jpgWhile last year saw us blogging throughout the many, many months of planning, organizing, research and bookings that led up to our amazing India/Nepal trip* in October, this year we’ve been mostly silent on this blog about where this year’s vacation is. Not because it’s a secret, but because compared to last year, this was a relatively easy trip to plan. All the pieces seemed to fall into place quite easily.

It started with a Groupon. I forget which of us came across it, but one of us said to the other, “hey, doesn’t this place look nice.” Something jogged my memory that I had seen the particular lodge in a travel magazine tucked under our coffee table, so we looked into it a bit more, and the more we did the more we liked what we read and saw, on TripAdvisor and YouTube and elsewhere. A small eco-lodge on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, with nature trails to hike and a kayak to take out on the lake, organic vegetarian meals and freshly roasted coffee, local Mayan villages to explore and volcanos to hike. Completely different than last year’s trip.

The more we thought about it, the more we loved the idea of a lakeside, laid-back vacation: a dip in the pool, some bird-watching, a nap before dinner. And we remembered how much we had enjoyed our previous two visits to Central America, Belize and Nicaragua. So it all really just clicked into place for us.

Once we started researching Guatemala itself, we realized it was ridiculous to travel there without working in a visit to Tikal, one of the most extensive archeological sites of pre-Colombian Mayan civilization. We’re starting with two days in Flores so we can do a sunrise tour of Tikal, before continuing to Lake Atitlan the next day. We’ll have five days at the lodge just enjoying the natural beauty, and then a couple of nights in Antigua before we fly home to Boston.

The really nice thing about this trip is that there is very little planning required. Oh, there’s some of course. We needed to figure out travel between the three locations, and research tour companies for Tikal. At the lodge we will likely book a day tour to Chichicastenango on a market day, and in Antigua we’re hoping to take a cooking class. But compared to India, this vacation is going to be a vacation.

One month out, we’re now in the happy anticipation stage, brushing up on our Spanish (well, Rob is brushing up; I’m learning it for the first time), watching travel videos, reading about Mayan history and culture.

Have you been to Guatemala? Please share your tips or experiences in the comments, we’d love to hear about them!

*Click India in the tag cloud to see the many posts before, during and after that trip.


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