Part of travel is immersing yourself in the local culture and celebrating with the people. Today we had the awesome opportunity to witness a Guatemalan Independence Day celebration. Parades, food, marching bands, fireworks and a ride on the camioneta (chicken bus) all came together for a magical day. People were wearing their tipico (traditional clothing) and Gautemala flags were flying everywhere. The people love their country and are proud to be Guatemalateca!
One of our big goals is to learn Spanish as a family while we are here in Guatemala. After a few days of relaxing and unwinding we began researching which Spanish school in town had the best reputation and the highest ratings. After searching around we found Jabel Tinamet, Panajachel’s premiere Spanish school. The owners Gregorio and Candelaria were warm and inviting. The school is open and most classrooms were open so we could experience a fresh breeze during class time. They were even very nice to accommodate our sweet four-year-old Cannon. We have so much to learn but Jabel Tinamet is our first step in the journey.
Lake Atitlan is full of limitless treasures. Today we hopped in the back of a pickup taxi en route for Santa Catarina Palopo. For 3 Quetzales a person (about $0.45) we rode with the wind in our hair to the next village around the lake from Panajachel. A Short walk down to the lake shore and around the lake takes you to a simple but enjoyable spot with arguably one of the most beautiful views in the world. The whole family can jump into Lake Atitlan from a large rock or just soak in the warm waters from the volcanic hot springs. We spent the morning basking in the sun, enjoying the warm water, amazing view and talking with the locals. We’ll be doing this one again.
Not long after we arrived in Panajachel, Guatemala the kids were doing what kids do…playing. The went through their bags and found their blue track and Hot Wheels cars. Before long they were playing with the neighbors kids and everyone was laughing. The best part: the neighbor kids didn’t speak English and our kids didn’t speak Spanish. The kids were united in the language of play and tonight was a witness that play is a universal language. I was proud of our kids for pushing their comfort limits and knocking on the neighbors door with their track and cars in hand. When we push our comfort limits we grow.