Permanent Vacasian

The traveller sees what he sees; the tripper sees what he has come to see. – G. K. Chesterton

Rose-atan

March 29, 2013
by Tina
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Editor’s note: Stuart was in such vacation mode that he couldn’t even be bothered to take his camera out of his backpack. Thankfully, Rose did and even let us use some photos for this post.

Roatan, Honduras – To get from San Salvador to the Bay Island of Roatan in Honduras we had to first take a bus to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. It was a long (8 1/2 hours) and expensive ($35) bus ride, but they served us breakfast (that the bus pulled over to pick up), drinks and snacks. Crossing the boarder was smooth. The El Salvador boarder agents boarded our bus and checked our passports there. On the Nicaraguan side we had to get off and wait in a short line to go through immigration.

Tina and Stuart at sunset.

Tina and Stuart at sunset.

We got to San Pedro Sula (aka the most dangerous city in the world) around 3:15pm and bought tickets for the town of La Ceiba – where the ferry departs for Roatan. We had to wait for the 4:30pm bus that was rescheduled to 5pm and didn’t actually end up leaving until 5:15pm. The ride was supposed to take three hours, but it took over four so we didn’t end up checking into our hotel in La Ceiba until 10pm.

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Una semana en El Salvador

March 17, 2013
by Tina
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El Salvador – Because we had to meet my sister, Rose, in Roatan, we only had a week to explore El Salvador. We thought it would be enough time to get a sense of the country considering it was small, and not very many tourists seemed to travel there. Heck, Lonely Planet doesn’t even make an El Salvador guide book – so we had to settle for an electronic copy of the El Salvador chapter from their Central American guide (not very handy when you need a map in the middle of downtown).

El Rosario church in San Salvador

El Rosario church in San Salvador

When we arrived at the bus station at 5:30am in Guatemala City planning on catching the 6am bus to San Salvador we were told that there was only one ticket left and that the next bus didn’t leave until 2pm. We really wanted to get on that early bus – the thought of spending eight more hours in Guatemala City and then arriving in San Salvador at night was highly unappealing. The sales clerk took pity on us, I guess, and told us to “just wait and see – maybe there will be tickets.” Sure enough, 10 minutes later, we were forking over the cash and boarding the bus. We even got to sit together.

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Trekking with Tina

March 11, 2013
by Tina
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Lago de Atitlán and Chichicastenengo, Guatemala – Our timing wasn’t ideal so we only had half a day in Quetzaltenango (Xela) before we had to leave on the trek to Lago de Atitlán that we had signed up for. We spent a little time in the town square and got some yummy hot chocolate (oh how I miss the hot chocolate in Mexico) and then had to attend a pre-hike meeting at Quetzaltrekkers. We learned that we would be hiking with 20 other hikers and four guides – a huge group! We also picked up all the gear we would need for the hike and some food for group’s meals.

The hills around Xela.

The hills around Xela.

Quetzaltrekkers is an interesting organization. It’s all volunteer run, and the guides are all foreigners. They volunteer for at least three months to lead hikes and run the organization. All the proceeds are donated to a school, run by the founder of Quetzaltrekkers. This model has its advantages and disadvantages: It’s great that all of the money goes to the kids and the school and that it directly benefits the community, but we felt more disconnected from the villages and people we encountered on the hike than we usually do when taking hikes with local guides. Because all the guides are volunteers, it makes sense that local people can’t afford to donate three months of their time, but it did make for a different kind of hike.

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