Guatemala was the third country I visited on my Central America backpacking trip, and by far my favorite. It might be one of my favorite countries I’ve ever visited. From day one, I was in love. With my new Australian friends from Belize, Mike and Gabi, in tow, we arrived in Flores, Guatemala. Despite a horrendous bed bug situation at my first hostel in Guatemala (don’t worry I didn’t get them, because I anally check every bed before I sleep there), that was the worst of it. We moved hotels, and things got better. Our first night in Flores, we went to dinner at an Italian restaurant. Don’t knock it. Other backpackers recommended it, and they were not wrong. It was still cheap, and the pizza was fantastic. The next morning, after very little sleep from the bed bug debacle, we got picked up at 3am to drive out to Tikal, the Mayan ruins buried deep in the jungle. This was such a cool experience. We got out to the jungle around 4:45AM, and the only sound you could hear was dozens of howler monkeys chatting it up. If you’ve never heard a howler monkey, let me tell you they sound nothing like monkeys. With their wake up calls as our only guide into the jungle, we walked for an hour to the highest temple, hiked up there and watched the sunrise over the jungle. WOW. I saw toucans, spider monkeys, TARANTULAS (yikes), Guatemalan guinea pigs, and so much else. It was epic. We were also the only people in the park, which was completely worth the 2:45am wakeup.
Later that day, I braved Guatemalan street food, and tried an empanada, tostada, tamale, and fresh pineapple juice, for a dollar. At our new hotel, there was also a TWO week old puppy I got to play with. I was in heaven. And, to cap off an amazing day, went on a sunset boat cruise around the lake Flores sits on, with my new Aussie friends. I was very sad to leave them but Antigua was calling! More Guatemala posts to come….