Live #26, Xela & Volcan Santa Maria, Guatemala
12/01/2015 It’s my second day at beautiful Lake Yojoa and I will check out the PANCAM National Park today before heading down south to Tegucigalpa via Comayagua. Today’s live update is from another location that was added to my journey last minute: Xela, short for Quetzaltenango. I would stay here for over a week to do a short spanish course and also to climb Volcan Santa Maria.
Getting there was pretty fun on the steep and serpentine road from San Pedro at Lake Atitlan in a Chicken Bus. I have met some people before that came down here with their own modified US school truck and they had been stuck in exactly this area for a few times because of it’s narrowness on the steep passage. Upon arrival in Xela, I waited at Casa Seibel to get picked up by Couchsurfer Becky, who owns a spanish school called Forest Academy, providing me with a teacher for a 25 hour class over the next week. She came together with her frien Moses, who would take good care of me in the following day and even let me sleep at his place. I was surrounded by nice people and could concentrate on my bad spanish 🙂
I had 1on1 classes from 10AM to 3PM each day and since my spanish was very basic, we had to cover exactly those first and overall did not have enough time to go into the past or future tenses. I thought that it would still be better than nothing and gave it a try. In the End, my spanish did not improve a lot, but this is not because of the teacher but more due to the fact that I am just a bad student, failing to look into my sheets ever since the course ended. I’m just so busy with traveling itself! Besides the spanish class, I also had enough time to check out Xela, a really nice city that still has a local feel to it and I had a lot of great people around me to enjoy the evenings as well. I will never forget the disappointment when I first saw the so called “climbing gym” or the moment we squeezed nine people into a small car!
Climbing Volcan Santa Maria was another thing on my ToDo list. The volcan offers a view on another active volcano, Santiaguito, and we were able to do the hike during full moon, starting at 1AM. It was pretty rainy and cloudy throughout the complete hike up to the 3770m high summit, but nevertheless I enjoyed it and was especially pleased by the moments the sun finally broke through the clouds momentarily after reaching the top. We also had a few eruptions of nearby Santiaguito and could see Volcan Fuego erupting far in the back as well. I tried to capture everything with my camera, even though it was a pretty hard task without gloves and freezing temperatures at the top. Back to Casa Seibel, which is a really nice play to stay while in Xela by the way, it was time for some relaxation from the hike before moving on to the touristic hotspot and former capital of Guatemala: Antigua.