Today by chance I happened to stop for a quick bite at Katok.
Katok was a landmark restaurant on the highway to Guatemala’s Highlands. It was a lonely restaurant for decades, and now, after their great success, there are about a dozen restaurants on the highway around them.
And this success led them to open new locations all around Guatemala City and its suburbs.
You got to try this!
Their Hamon Serrano, a Spaniard style cured ham, cured at on the dry highlands of Guatemala, is served on thin slices and that’s all you need.
After you try this, trust me, you’ll be coming back as often as you can.
Volcan de Pacaya is the closest to Guatemala City and it happens to be the largest most active. This volcano constantly causes trouble to near by villages and towns. In the year 2010, a series of small eruptions, culminated with an eruption that ejected debris in a column 1500 meters high. This large eruption caused ash and sand rains that cover all its surroundings, including Guatemala City, with several inches of volcanic sands.
The views from this location are incredible, you have a clear view of Like Amatitlan, you can see the entire Guatemala City and the neighboring volcanoes.
the slops of the volcano are pastures for horses, which tourist may rent out for a modest sum.
Don’t do what Eli does
Going at night might raise some risk, specially in the rainy season and dense fogs may get people disoriented and it is very easy to get lost and end up at a unwanted situation. Last night hike started about 6 o’clock pm. and we were engulfed on this think fog that did not allow us to see more than 10 feet around us. Luckily our guide was very experienced and knew the trails very well, enough to navigate them blind as we were. So make sure you only hike up the volcano when conditions are optimum.
Eli goes hiking up the volcano with no jacket and nights can become incredibly cold and insanely windy, so make sure you bring a good jacket.
And of course, Eli wares shorts. Don’t you dare; unless you want your legs to be cover by this ubiquitous Chichicaste -Nettle, Urtica dioica- which flanks your every step.
This is an active volcano and eruptions can occur at any time and gas-clouds can suffocate a human being in seconds, so don’t you dare -an it is prohibited as-well- to hike up the volcano’s crater.
The terrain might be a little demanding, I’ll advice you not to bring your nicest pair of shoes because surely they’ll get ruined. And if you decide to spend the night, there is a shelter on a hill next to the crater that provides you with a great view (unless fog like yesterday), well, you can set up camp outside the shelter because it’s roof collapsed during last major eruption.
Though it is not widely spread yet, there are some houses and business that have adopted this alternative power source.
Lets just hope it becomes more common.
Kaminaljuyu or City of the Dead was an important Mayan City located at the intersection of the trading routes of the Mayan Cities of the North, South, and the Highlands and there is evidence of trade with the Mexican City of Teotihuacan, more than 650 miles away.
This Mayan urban center was more than 5 square kilometers. Most of it was assimilated by the modern city of Guatemala and of its 200+ identified structures only 33 remain.
The protected area of this ancient Mayan City is only a couple of street blocks.
The site still sacred for followers of Mayan Religions and rituals, you can see Mayan Ceremonies being performed every day and if you pay attention to detail, you’ll see offerings of flowers and pine needles (to cleanse the site) next to trees.
Feeling Wrath and Awe
You are at awe when you imagine the wealth of this city and you can see this wealth on the thousands and thousands of pieces of fine Mayan Pottery scattered on the soil. And for modern society this is worth crap!
Conveniently located, it is very easy to get to and bypassed by many tourist, nationals and foreign. Don’t miss a chance to visit the site. If there is no traffic, it won’t take you more than 15 minutes from the airport or Downtown Guatemala City.
I’ve always wonder: Why is always the shortest mariachi who gets to play the largest instrument? Is it a rule?
Land in Guatemala has become increasingly scarce.
Agricultural land: in places like the U.S.A. at the most fertile regions of the country, you can get an acre for about $5 K.
If you are lucky, for that money you can get a 10th of an acre here in Guatemala.
Prices are even worse for commercial or residential real state; In places like La Antigua Guatemala, a house might be as expensive (or more!) as buying property in a wealthy suburb of N.Y. City or Boston.
This scarcity and high prices for land have pushed Guatemalans to use every inch available as we can see here.
Even residential complexes are forced to construct smaller and smaller houses, at least this one is colorfully charming.
You can find beautiful forms of art at the most unexpected places.
This image is at an outer wall of a house in the suburbs of Guatemala City.
Chinese Food is popular in Guatemala (where it is not?) and there are all kinds of options.
And you won’t believe prices!
For example, you can get a plate of this for less than $8 U.S.A. Dollars.
We are bearers of a very sad recent past.
During our armed conflict and the Genocide that came with it; more than 200 thousand people were killled, mostly (up to 83%) by state forces and most of those killed were indigenous Mayan (more than 80%) and of course, most of the casualties of the war were unarmed civilians. Many of these were disposed off on clandestine cemeteries and and unmarked mass graves.
Many of these places have been uncovered and now thanks to technology, DNA testing, many people have been able to identify their love ones lost during the war.