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Guatemala NEWSLETTER DON DIEGO HO

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TOURISM

Luna de Miel Guatemala

Op reis met Thijs

No. 06 March - April 2014 Servicios turisticos Centro America S.A.

Photo By :NICHOLAS BEATTY


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BIKE TOUR

QUETZALTENANGO - SAN ANDRES XECUL By Manuel Guillen

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uetzaltenango and its surroundings have many natural and cultural attractions.

These can be easily viewed in different ways , particularly with a very special mountain bike that we can provide. There are several routes, and one of the most popular and easily accessible for cyclists of average experience is the path to San Andres Xecul, Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán passing through Chiquilaja and Salcaja. This journey start in the center city of Quetzaltenango and takes place both in the morning and the afternoon . It lasts approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes and is approximately 32 miles.

It starts with an easy run on flat ground and some downhill from the city center to the point known as La Rotonda of the Marimba where it exits at the road to the place called Chiquilaja. Once on the paved road we cycle at a constant speed for about 8 milesuntil we reach the village. We stop to visit the Church’s main attraction, a duplicate statue of the black Christ of Esquipulas. We then continue the journey on a small dirt road and at an angle where we are physically challenged a bit, but not too much. Upon reaching the top we find flat roads where we can calmly observe the cornfields and the mountains surrounding the valley.

A few minutes later we enter the town of San Andres Xecul on a street that leads to the central square where we see the famous yellow Church. In this square we stop to rest and admire the front of the church. Once past this first part of the journey we continue, coming out now by a paved exit road toward San Cristobal Totonicapán. From there we continue until we reach the intersection with the main road. There we begin our return. After pedaling for 20 minutes we come to the Villa Salcaja. There we make a stop to visit one of their most important churches in the area, the oldest in fact in

Central America, founded by Conquistadores in the year 1,524. Finally we leave Salcaja toward Marroquin village where again we have to make use of our ability to climb small slopes , up to the top where we find the way to Chiquilaja This time we take it in the opposite direction for our return to Quetzaltenango. This is one of the most highly recommended and enjoyable of this city’s tours. For those who enjoy cycling there is nothing better than to combine their passion with good scenery , pleasant weather, interesting people and interesting places .


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Quetzaltenango

San Andres Xecul

Salcaja

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IN SEARCH OF THE DANTA

An extraordinary journey filled with challenges, surprises and above all peace By: Luis Dominguez

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wonder if anyone would imagine that going into the virgin forest would be so complicated. The first day of our hike we arrived at our evening destination at 8 pm. Walking at night through this type of forest is sooo complicated and very, very muddy. But that was the challenge as , step by step, we approached the first camp at “El Tintal “ . There we were welcomed , with great service provided by all the people , great food and , above all, great rest. The next day we were back in the jungle, passing through rivers and swamps . We were concerned

to find

an alligator or some other animal out here, but normally this only occurs during the rainy season. There is constant concern about these animal’s ecosystem. Fortunately there is no problem if you go there, unless you fall in! It was delightful to be able to pour on water and cool off after walking so much, not to mention that it served to clean off the mud. In these two days of hiking our guides told us about their experiences with other groups, and we were motivated in some way to appreciate our relationship with the ancient people who had once walked these same paths. We walked trails the ancient Maya called Saq’be , and saw sights sadly looted years ago. This left us certain of how

much that we can no longer see. We passed several more sites , “The Dead “ was one of them, and we began to anticipate our arrival. The second day after leaving civilization we arrived at El Mirador, our goal! A rough bath served to highlight the ecstasy of our accomplishment, as well as the great homemade food which we had been served all along the route! That night we were greeted with jungle sounds , along with a large moonlit starry sky. It was a a beautiful view. We woke to the roar of howler monkeys in the pyramid of the Tiger, 2 km away. La Danta, was very impressive , and this tour of one of the


largest Maya cities , learning about this great civilization , seeing sights that leave you breathless was an amazing experience. The art is awesome! With this tour delicious fruit was served , a great detail that earned applause from all who accompanied us.

Lunch was exceptional, all meals were varied and delicious. The moment everyone had expected and that we had come for, to walk to La Danta and watch the sunset, arrived. We started walking around 4:30AM, accompanied by the cries of spider monkeys, which didn’t really sound all that friendly!

We reached the base of La Danta pyramid,the largest (by volume) in the world.

between us, we came to realize that this would be the best part of the whole trip.

It was amazing that we hadn’t yet reached the top, but curiosity motivated us and gradually we went up .

We arrived and the view was spectacular, outrageously beautiful!

Between the guides and

talks

The shadow projected out over the jungle in a way that’s hard to describe. Back at camp , we


grabbed a few hours rest. We discovered that some species not seen during the day, spiders and frogs, had appeared.

but the stars were the most awesome sight.

The biodiversity in that place is truly amazing.

Nobody wanted to think of the return the next day. We awoke and got ready to again venture into the jungle to get to Carmelita, two days walk away.

Back in camp the moon appeared,

This journey changed our lives.

I had the pleasure of meeting different people and made new friendships . I appreciate Adrenalina Tours for promoting such activities and achieving the necesary logistics as well . The guides were very patient

with many of us, the cooks were always making us feel at home, and our driver gave my colleagues wonderful encouragement during the difficult times. Thank you and thank you again. This was one of the best experiences of my life!


Thank you so much

Project Chancol library, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

In JANUARY 2014, we have delivered educational materials such as books including Adventures of Tin Tin and Asterix same motivate the imagination of children in the region.

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The Period of Lent ... By: José Andrés Reyna.

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very year Catholics around the world prepare for the most important holiday of the Christian year, the summit of Roman Catholic Christianity , the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This annual event remembers the passion, death and resurrection in a weeklong commemoration called Semana Santa. A preamble occurs that is equally special and ceremonal for 40 days prior to Holy Week called Lent. This is defined as the period of liturgical time ( in the Christian calendar ) intended by the Catholic Church for the preparation of the Passover feast . Antigua Guatemala, a colonial town named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO , is a center of Catholic

faith in Guatemala and throughout Central America can not be left unmentioned in this important celebration. So let’s start where it originates, Ash Wednesday. Held forty days before the start of Holy Week, ie forty days before Palm Sunday, it is a day of fasting and abstinence with the celebration of Mass to mark the beginning of Lent. The faithful receive a cross of ashes on the forehead. This cross is seen as a sign of human frailty , signaling the penance and conversion that are the goal of Lent. The ashes are obtained from burning branches of palm on Palm Sunday from the year before and then blessed

during the Eucharist , in front of the Cathedral of St. Joseph of Antigua Guatemala , and carried through a procession before the beginning of the celebration. The origin of this custom is the Jews covering their heads with ashes as a sacrifice or penance during Passover. The next big day is the First Sunday of Lent celebrated at the church of Santa Catalina de Bobadilla, located on the outskirts of the colonial city. A cortege leaves the Consecrated Processional Image of Jesus the Nazarene Salvation ,”Protector Jury Antigua Guatemala “, and Our Lady of Sorrows , “Mother of Our Savior “ , as the first large procession of year. Many people from the Capital City and San Salvador come to watch the


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procession walk the cobblestoned streets. On the Second Sunday of Lent , it is the turn of Courtship Processional of Jesus of Nazareth and the Virgin of Dolores del Templo de Santa Ines del Monte Pulciano. Crowds of cars and people line up on the National Route 14 for entry to the colonial city. This is because the main entrance to the city has been closed since early morning, with carpets of flowers called alfombras covering the passage of the procession . The Third Sunday of Lent is celebrated to the north of the city, in the neighboring municipality of Jocotenango, where the people get the Solemn Procession Processional of Consecrated Images of Jesus of Nazareth, “ The Sweet Rabbi “ ,and Our Lady of Sorrows ,” Sweet Mother of Jocotenango “. From Jocotenango Temple , the route of this procession goes through the road that connects the village with Antigua Guatemala. Carpets of sawdust , pine and corozos line the route. It is totally impossible to use the road that day , all the faithful must follow the procession

on foot. The Fourth Sunday of Lent the Village Santa Ana is dressed up to celebrate the Solemn Procession of the Consecrated Processional Image of “Jesus Nazarene Sweet Lord”and “Our Lady of Sorrows” from the Temple of Santa Ana. This is one of the smaller processions of Lent. The Fifth Sunday things pick up the pace. It’s time for the Majestic Courtship Consecrated Processional Image of Jesus the Nazarene , and Our Lady of Sorrows. From the Temple of San Bartolomé Becerra there is a really majestic procession, one of the largest in Guatemala . Also we must make mention of the Consecrated Courtship Processional Image of Christ Recumbent Calvary Temple of the Parish of Our Lady of Remedies Guatemala City . Seventy people and 140 arms are needed to load the 21 meters length of the float. Returning to the Fall Nazarene, faithful from all parts of Guatemala , El Salvador , Honduras and Mexico visit Antigua Guatemala to take turns to walk for about 15 hours on the cobbled streets of the city, adorned with elegant carpets of all colors and shapes.

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After this is over with a flourish Palm Sunday arrives and itm is the turn of “Majestic Courtship Reviews Processional of Consecrated Images of Jesus the Nazarene, and Our Lady of Sorrows of Mercy .” The sculpture of Jesus the Nazarene from the church Mercedaria is the only image in the processionals in Guatemala city which has documentation which allows a history of the image and of the procession to be told. The author of the sculpture was Matthew de Zuniga , who lived in Santiago de Guatemala . In 1654 , the members of the Brotherhood of Jesus Nazarene Church of Our Lady of Mercy of Santiago de Guatemala Zuniga decided to contract for an image the size of the Nazarene at a cost of 65 pesos . The work was assigned to Joseph de la Cerda . The image was placed in veneration in March, 1665, and is one of the best examples of Guatemalan Spanish Baroque , with its psychological study of the soul and the personality of Christ.


It seeks to identify the penitent with the image. The importance of the image reached such a point that, on August 5, 1717 , the bishop of Guatemala , Juan Bautista Alvarez , declared the city devoted to the image.

The community sentiment was expressed by a cleric of the time, Fray Antonio de Loyola : “blessed us to have this sacred image because it is true image of Jesus “ , and many other bishops and Catholic personalities have commented that the face of this image is the closest thing to real face of Jesus. Four years later the bishop

was appointed Master Jury of the city of Santiago de Guatemala because of the miracles attributed to him. Again the faithful congregate in the streets of Antigua Guatemala. This is impressive , getting a space in the front of the temple to see the start of the procession is almost

impossible,but if you get there an hour before you may view it. This concludes our description of awaiting Easter and begins the most important week of the year in Antigua ,Guatemala. We will leave a description of that week itself to next year!


You want to know more of the first fair of Community Tourism Guatemala

Contact Us : web: www.feriaturismocomunitarioguatemala.com E-mail: info@ feriaturismocomunitarioguatemala.com Phone: 5308-5106


News letter No. 6 Guatemala