9 Things to do in and around Xela, Guatemala

Xela has it – the city surprises people and attracts them to stay longer. Its architecture is grand, and life is bustling and exciting.

Chances are that, when you first arrive here from other parts of Guatemala or Belize, all you want to do is walk around and suck it all in. And walking in the city is excellent, every turn leads to a new square or a building that you didn’t even think could exist anywhere in Guatemala.

There are quiet little parks with a couple of benches to enjoy the sunshine, a theatre and big city squares that remind you of a mini Times Square. At least, if you have been away from big cities for a while. In the evenings it’s all lit up, and during the daytime, magnificent blue volcanoes frame the town. Continue Reading →

San Salvador: How to survive a Central-American capital?

After seeing the worn-down houses, grey ugliness and herds of homeless guys on empty streets in Belize City, we didn’t look forward to getting close to any other capitals in Central-America.

Fast forward four months. I sat on the bus and read in our guidebook that San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador, is actually a pleasant place, even handsome. The guidebook talked about leafy suburbs, galleries and museums. That was enough. I slapped the book close and we decided to go there. Continue Reading →

A love letter to the water, or how we played in the waves in El Salvador

We were on a bus to El Tunco, the most famous beach town in El Salvador. The sun sank lower and lower when we finally saw it in all its glory- the Pacific Ocean. I held onto the brown leather seat in front of me. I couldn’t believe it. Our bus cruised along a coastline as beautiful as Highway One in California. Continue Reading →

Back to school: learning Spanish and falling in love with Xela

Waking up early, rubbing the sleep out of your eyes while shovelling in your breakfast, flying out of the house just a couple of minutes before eight to sit half a day behind a desk repeating sentences in Spanish. True, these are not the first things that come to mind when we think about travelling. In Guatemala, however, that is the way. On the second day in this wonderfully diverse country, a boat tour seller called Mario tucked a little yellow card in my hand- a flyer for a Spanish school in Xela. I wouldn’t have ever thought that one day I would enter the very same school asking for information. But life and travel is fun in this way that you never know what will happen next. Continue Reading →