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GUATEMALA NEWSLETTER

SERVICIOS TURISTICOS CENTRO AMERICA S.A. JULY - AUGUST -2013 No. 02

COMMUNITY

TOURISM GUATEMALA

SERVICIOS TURISTICOS CENTROAMERICA S.A.

W W W. A D R E N A L I N AT O U R S . C O M

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lIVING IN

gUATEMALA By Sascha Riemers

In my home country I study Tourism, part of my education is doing my internship in another country. The country I had chosen was Guatemala and especially Quetzaltenango, but is commonly known as Xela. I did my internship in a Tour Operator, located in Xela, for six months which gave me the opportunity to get to know the country and especially Xela itself. The first real experience I had in Guatemala was when I stepped out of the bus in Xela and was confronted with the city life and infrastructure. I had never seen that many houses painted with bright colours before and therefore really took me by surprise. Xela is known as the best place to learn Spanish, well trust me this is true. Not only there are Spanish schools located on almost every corner in the centre of the city, also the locals are very willing to help you improving your Spanish by showing interest and always try to understand what you mean. Quetzaltenango is located high up in the Sierra Madres, surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, laced with narrow, cobblestone streets built for walking and filled with the colourful signs of Mayan culture. It is said that Xela is much more than simply a place to study Spanish, and becomes a second home for those who are doing their internship over here or studying Spanish or volunteering. I totally agree with this, after the six months I had the feeling I left home to return to the country of residence. I know for sure that in a couple of years I will return to Guatemala and maybe built my life over here, I do not know for sure if this will be in Xela or another place in Guatemala. Xela is located to all kinds of restaurants, accommodations and attractions, even when you

are a budget traveller Xela has something to offer. If you want to have a typical kind of food, no problem, lots of restaurants offer different kind of food such as Chinese food or of course local food. Personal I like the typical local food offered on the small market, on the corner of central park, the most. Finding an accommodation is also no problem as there are plenty hostels and hotels near the central park and a bit further. There is also the possibility to stay in a family, this is wise when studying Spanish, personally I did not like this at all as I did not have a really great family. However, lots of people I know who stayed with a family enjoyed it very much. It really depends on what kind of family you have how the experience will be; still it is an opportunity you should not ignore. There are several ways to travel within Guatemala and within Xela, namely by chicken bus, by microbus, by taxi, by private transportation, by shuttles or by luxury bus. My first experience with the chicken bus was hilarious as I drove from Sololรก to Xela. In Guatemala it is normal to put as many people as possible in the bus, this day the bus was so full that I had to stand. As I thought no more people would fit into the bus they proved me wrong. After this experience I really had the feeling I experienced the local way of living and transporting. In the six months I stayed in Guatemala I tried all ways of transportation, but the experience I had with the chicken bus I will never forget and still love the most. Overall living in Guatemala for six months was a great experience, and I also learned a lot about myself. If I have the change to go back I will.


Community Tourism

COMMUNITY TOURISM GUATEMALA

By Sascha Riemers

During my stay in Guatemala I visited several communities such as weaving, coffee farm, waterfall and the caves, each located in different areas of Guatemala.

Here it was also possible to stay a night which gives you the opportunity to understand their culture and hear amazing stories about their past. This is not possible when visiting a waterfall or a cave.

I did not really have an idea what to expect, although I did some research about community tourism I thought I would be the same as any other attraction available in a country.

Moreover, the natural attractions are much better promoted than the visiting a community such as doing a coffee tour, even the roads to it are much better.

I knew that community tourism is about experiencing different cultures and their way of living, this is not entirely true. Although for each activity the money goes directly to the community I did not experience the way of living during my visit to the waterfall and caves. Nevertheless seeing these amazing natural attractions and hearing stories about it made it one of the best trips I had. During the different visits I noticed there are two different kinds of community tourism, namely visiting natural attractions owned by a community and really visiting a community. When visiting a community to see the weaving process or to see how they make coffee really gives you an idea of how a community lives.

I believe this is a shame as experiencing the weaving process as also interesting and gives you the feeling that you have seen something you cannot see in other countries, as the caves and waterfalls can. I think that when the communities are promoting themselves better more people will visit them and have the same great experience I have. With the money the communities can improve themselves and become good working self-owned companies, giving their wisdom, culture and way of living to the tourists.

www.communitytourism.info


TIKAL

By Patricia Escobar

I always had dreamed about visiting Tikal, the Mayan site declared Human Herritage by UNESCO and Guatemala's most famous and also most impressive Mayan archaeological site, located at the north of Guatemala almost 250 km from Guatemala City. Actually there are two ways how you can rich Tikal, one is taking a flight to Flores (45 min) and the other one is going by ground transportation to Flores and then drive to Tikal, if you take a bus it takes approximately 10 hours driving. Fortunately I had this opportunity last month during my vacations. I took a Flight from Guatemala city to Flores, I had never taken a flight so it was so exciting for me to fly and see the beautiful landscape of the east and north of Guatemala. When I arrived to Flores it was 07.30am, the day was sunny, the weather was completely different than from the western highlands, at this time the temperature was 20CD , so hot for me!

the guide explained to group the history of the Mayans in that area and how they disappeared. Finally we got to the Main plaza and see “Great Pyramid�, more than 35 meters high. This building, which is founded some 300 meters to the southwest of the Great Square, is part of great complex dedicated to Astronomy. While we were walking in the park we so beautiful plants, birds, monkeys and other endemic kind of animals from that area. Four hours after we finished visiting the park, well we did not walk the entire park, if had walked the entire park it would have taken maybe two more days! There are a lot to know and learn about. Now I am so satisfied with this trip..! and of course I will come back in a future time.

At the airport the guide picked me up to go to Tikal. The way from Flores to is nice, the Peten Itza Lake can be seen with its entire splendor, beautiful forest and some animals. One hour after we got to Tikal, I was so curious to see the ruins. Then we started walking inside the national park to ruins,

www.adrenalinatours.com W W W. A D R E N A L I N AT O U R S . C O M


MIXCO VIEJO

By Victor Mangandi

On the 16th of May this year a group of tourism general guide students ma a grip to old Mixco guided by our instructor Rodolfo Ortiz. Our instructor took us from Quetzaltenango to this jewel of the Mayan civilization, which was used to escape from the Spanish invasion in Iximché. Iximché is an ancient capital of the Mayan Poqoman that meets a set of well-preserved pyramidal structures to this day. At the entrance of the archaeological site a beautiful ceiba can be found, Guatemala’s national tree. According to the Mayan Belief the branches of this tree, which are large and thick, is the opening to the thirteen heavens. PICTURE 1 The style of the buildings here are specials as they differ from other archaeological sites of the same time in the

department of Petén. But, these sites are also worth visiting as history is rich of knowledge which the whole group has noticed. PICTURE 2 The stone wall surrounding the site was used as a defense against possible attacks; this wall prevented Pedro de Alvarado to win its conquest, also the topography of the place is part of this as it made access difficult. However, the place was succumbed and burned by the Spanish empire. Old Mixco was built in the post classic period and had more than 10,000 inhabitants. To reach the old resume the route of San Juan Sacatepéquez, which leads to Santa Cruz del Quiche, needs to be taken and is duly labeled for easy identification. The weather over there is hot, so suitable clothing is recommended as well as taking into account that there are no shops nearby.


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