Final thoughts on Antigua
Antigua is really unlike any other place in Guatemala, whether that is good or bad depends on your point of view. It is touristy, the high end restaraunts have menus in English and prices in dollars. Of course that means you can get a decent cup of coffee and a slice of New York cheesecake anytime you want it, not to mention being able to see the Packers on Monday Night Football at a sports bar, even though the Bengals handed them their asses, but it also means that you aren't seeing what most of Guatemala is like if this is the only place you go. There is a big expat community here, from what I've seen, mostly British and American. A fair number of people are here taking language courses, as well. There are some really nice places here, I walked around in the Hotel Santo Domingo, which was built as a convent in the 1700's. Bill Clinton stayed there once when he was president, and is is quite posh. The town is also a weekend getaway for Guatemalans fron Guatemala City. I have seen all kinds of high end vehicles here with GT plates on them, from Range Rovers to BMW motorcycles. I'm told that on Sunday mornings as many as 100 motorcycles from the city show up on the town plaza. I was on a volcano hike at the time, so I can't verify that.
Speaking of volcanoes, the volcan Pacaya is very active now and this is a great time to see it. With Sunday off from Spanish school, I took a guided hike up the volcano to the crater and got to see some flowing lava, up close and personal. The guide was a guy Who was born in GT, but grew up in California, then moved back to GT as an adult. He had hiked up the vaolcano more than a hundred times and was able to tell us when the different lava flows had been made. I had seen the volcan Arenal in Costa Rica spit out lava from a distance before, but this was a whole different thing. I got to within 30 feet or so of this moving river of molten rock, before the heat got too fierce. Just like on National Geographic, it was truly an awesome thing to see. Makes you think that the earth is 5 billion years old, and still it's core is hot enough that it boils up to the surface like that. No matter how powerful we think we are, Ma Nature can still kick our asses anytime she wants.
Ok, all you married guys who want to do some Latin American riding, but don't want to go on vacation without your wife, listen up. The two of you get on a plane to Guatemala City, and take a shuttle 35 miles to Antigua. Get set up in one the the many hotels, and spend a couple days walking around, checking out the bars, restaurants, jewelry shops and art galleries. Then the fiendishly sneaky part of the plan kicks in. You go see Dave, a bloody British bloke, at the Moto Cafe (www.catours.co.uk), and he will rent you a motorcycle ranging from a 175 Yamaha 2 stroke to a KLR650, and you can go riding. "Honey, look. I didn't know they rented motorcycles here." Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. If your wife rides, great, if not take a KLR two up, maybe up to Lake Atitlan, or get some other pointers from Dave. You get to ride, and at the same time get major bonus points with the ol' lady, and Dave gets to eat and buy beer. Everyone is happy, and you can thank me for your marriage being stronger.
I bought a few t shirts, and wanted to send them home, along with a CD copy of the pictures I have taken so far, and some other stuff. I had seen a DHL office in town, and figured it would be no big deal. Turns out they only offer express service and wanted $137 to ship 4 kilos to the US. I think I'll wait till I find some ground service somewhere.
I'm leaving in the morning, and the next post should be from Honduras.Posted by Andy Tiegs at August 30, 2006 03:37 AM GMT
HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!
"The calendar is magnificent!"
"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"
We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!
Next HU Events
- USA California: Sep 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Germany Autumn: Oct 23-26
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! USA Virginia: Apr 9-12, 2015
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!
Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).
"Inspiring and hilarious!"
"I loved watching this DVD!"
"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!