This post comes from our good friend, photographer Anna-Alexia Basile!
This trip wasn’t like the other trips. Only three days into the magic of Guatemala, I got really, really sick. The most sick I’ve been in the last decade. You know, the kind of sick where you wonder how there is still anything left in your body.
I know exactly how it happened, too. During some “extreme tubing,” I was flung out of my doughnut and into the rough waters. Let it be made perfectly clear; these were no waters to fool around with. Strong rapids, flying shoes, and a few beers are no match for even the best of swimmers. Despite laughing about it and floating back to safety plastered on top of my best friend and (his slowly sinking) tube, I managed to do the one thing you never, ever do when traveling to a new country. I had done the unthinkable; I had swallowed some of the water.
Despite that little hiccup, I experienced some of the best that Guatemala has to offer. I was really touched by the level of traveler togetherness, the powerful beauty of the landscape and vibrant energy of the Maya. If you’re considering making the trek, here are some places that are sure to blow your mind:
Love floating in turquoise bodies of water surrounded by thick jungle brush? Of course you do. And you’ll love it even more when each turquoise pool is connected by tiers of limestone that you use to slide into the pool below it. Such is the sweet, sweet scenery of Semuc Champey…lovely natural pools to cool you down and plenty of hiking around the water and up to a scenic outlook where you can view the water-wonder in its entirety.
Although a bit cooler temperature-wise, Lago Atitlan is a sight to be seen. Flanked by three dormant volcanoes and colorful Mayan villages, the lake is known for its powerful vortex of energy and has been a sacred place to the Maya for centuries. Meditation centers, massage, and yoga studios can be found in the surrounding villages.
Resting peacefully up a mountain path in San Marcos La Laguna, Yoga Forest is a wonderful place to unwind. No tuk tuk or bus can take you there. You can only find it by following the vibrant flowers that are painted on rocks and trees to indicate the right way up the mountain path. While there, enjoy permaculture workshops, acro yoga, playing with silks, meditation, and delicious vegetarian meals. The view alone is worth the hike!
If you’re considering exploring Guatemala…GO! But my goodness, don’t even think about swallowing that water.
Photos and words by Anna-Alexia Basile.