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1 – Guatemala City. Home and volunteer place our first three weeks. We were outside of the city proper and, unfortunately, did not explore much of the city. Sophie and Igor were great hosts, and the Center was a great place to work and learn Spanish our first few weeks.
2 – Antigua, Guatemala. The site of our first “traveling”. We had a few day trips to Antigua, as it was a short drive from home. It is a beautiful colonial town.
3 – Panajachel, Guatemala. Our first weekend away was here on Lago de Atitlan. An old hippy hangout filled with plenty of expats and volcanoes.
4 – Rio Dulce, Guatemala. After three weeks in Guatemala City we headed here. We made our first traveling friend. Cool hostel on the water, which was the gateway to the Caribbean Sea.
5 – Flores, Guatemala. We didn’t want to spend the night here, but we’re glad we did. The town is a small island full of gringos going to or coming from Tikal.
6 – El Remate, Guatemala. A simpler jumping-off point for Tikal than is Flores. Also, the location where we taught an afternoon class for village kids for a week through Project Ix-Canaan. Located on a pleasant, large lake, with a “Biotope” and small Mayan site nearby, there was plenty to do when we weren’t preparing for class or teaching.
7 – Tikal, Guatemala. Guatemala’s biggest tourist site is this humongous Mayan ruin. Even though we weren’t happy with our guide, the place was awesome. We need to return.
8 – Lanquin, Guatemala. The closest town to the wondrous Semuc Champey. Caves were also close-by. Semuc Champey ended up being the most impressive site we visited in Guatemala. From here we left for El Salvador, though we spent one night back in Guatemala City (#1) with Sophie and Igor on the way.
9 – Candelaria, El Salvador. A small town just a few kilometers into El Salvador. We spent our first night couchsurfing here. Heather, a Peace Corps volunteer, was a gracious hostess.
10 – Ataco, El Salvador. This small town is located on the touristy Ruta de las Flores. We couchsurfed three nights here with Atilio and Rosario. Impressively gracious hosts again. We went to the beach, watched the sunrise, and enjoyed excellent food.
11 – San Salvador, El Salvador. Despite suffering greatly during the not-too-distant Civil War, the capital city was impressive. One impressive site a bit outside of the city was Puerta del Diablo, which offered government forces a great place to discard bodies during the Civil War and offers impressive mountain views today.
12 – El Tunco, El Salvador. A chill surfing community not too out of the way (El Salvador is so small that most everything is pretty much on the way). While we didn’t catch any waves, we enjoyed watching from the beach.
13 – Suchitoto, El Salvador. A colonial town where fighting apparently first broke out during the Civil War. Our Civil War guided tour didn’t go as well as planned. Two more nights couchsuring, though this time in a hostel dorm room. Strange arrangement.
14 – Perquin, El Salvador. The guerrilla headquarters during the Civil War were located here. Also close to the site of an 800-person massacre (all civilians) carried out by the government forces early on in the war.
15 – Leon, Nicaragua. We arrived here four days ago after a long day of travel from El Salvador. A young Wabash alum who is volunteering here is providing us a room for a few days while we seek out volunteer opportunities and our own accommodations. The plan is to work with Las Tias, a group offering street kids meaningful afternoon alternatives.