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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Guatemala Part 20

    September 20th, 2017

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017
    Flores, Guatemala

    A highly textured building in Flores, Guatemala.
    A highly textured building in Flores, Guatemala.

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Guatemala Part 19

    September 19th, 2017

    Tuesday, September 19, 2017
    Tikal, Guatemala

    Our guide, Julio, mugs it up at Tikal, Guatemala.
    Our guide, Julio, mugs it up at Tikal, Guatemala.

    Today at 8:00 am, I hopped on a mid-sized tourist shuttle bus for a 75-minute ride northeast from Flores over to Tikal, the most revered site of Mayan temple ruins in Guatemala, which flourished from around 300 BC to 900 AD. Upon arrival, we were given a few minutes to grab a snack “to go” from a cafe across the street. Then we all met up in front of a large scale model of the Tikal temple complex inside the Visitors Center. There, our excellent guide, Julio, with the aid of a laser pointer, gave us a long lecture on the history, orientation, function and meaning of each temple. (He would go on to do this at each temple we stopped at, as well as in the jungle between, offering up some info on plant and animal life, as well.)

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Guatemala Part 18

    September 18th, 2017

    Monday, September 18, 2017
    Cuevas de Actún Kan, Flores, Guatemala

    The entrance to Cuevas de Actún Kan near Flores, Guatemala.
    The entrance to Cuevas de Actún Kan near Flores, Guatemala.

    After an episode of diarrhea, dehydration and fatigue yesterday, I was feeling considerably better this afternoon. So, I jumped on a tuk-tuk for a ride maybe a mile south of Flores island to a cave called Cuevas de Actún Kan. After paying the $5.00 entry fee, a teenaged guide slapped a red helmet with a bright headlamp on my skull and we moseyed on down inside. Although the temperature was noticeably a few degrees cooler, it was still quite muggy in there. In total, we spent around 30 minutes poking around inside the dank, muddy chambers.

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Guatemala Part 17

    September 17th, 2017

    Sunday, September 17, 2017
    Flores, Guatemala

    Looking west at Lago Petén Itzá in Flores, Guatemala.
    Looking west at Lago Petén Itzá in Flores, Guatemala.

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Guatemala Part 16

    September 16th, 2017

    Saturday, September 16, 2017
    Lanquin to Flores, Guatemala

    The Hostal Oasis sits right on the banks of the Lanquin river in Lanquin, Guatemala.
    The Hostal Oasis sits right on the banks of the Lanquin river in Lanquin, Guatemala.

    I woke up early at 6:45 am to get ready to hop on a shuttle van bound for Flores in northern Guatemala. It was due to pick me up at 8:15, but didn’t show up until almost 9:00. When it arrived, two things surprised me. One, this van actually had enough leg room to give me an inch or two of space in front of my knees so they did not get crushed by the seat in front of me. Two, there were three or four open seats, and we never stopped to let anyone else on.

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Guatemala Part 15

    September 15th, 2017

    Friday, September 15, 2017
    Lanquin, Guatemala

    The Hostal Oasis in Lanquin, Guatemala.
    The Hostal Oasis in Lanquin, Guatemala.

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Guatemala Part 14

    September 14th, 2017

    Thursday, September 14, 2017
    Semuc Champey, Guatemala

    Ascending stone steps at Semuc Champey, Guatemala.
    Ascending stone steps at Semuc Champey, Guatemala.

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Guatemala Part 13

    September 13th, 2017

    Wednesday, September 13, 2017
    Lanquin, Guatemala

    In the swing of things at Hostal Oasis in Lanquin, Guatemala.
    In the swing of things at Hostal Oasis in Lanquin, Guatemala.

    I pretty much took most of the day off to rest…or so I thought! In the afternoon, it was partly sunny, so I took a stroll from the Hostal Oasis, which is situated right on the Lanquin river out in a rural area, a half mile up into the dreary little town of Lanquin. My mission was to have a look around, shoot a few photos and buy some bananas and apples. I accomplished everything except, oddly enough, no bananas were on offer from the few street stalls that were open. So, I had to settle for apples and a couple of Chiky bars. The latter are small, square, triple-layer cookies with chocolate filling in between.

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Guatemala Part 12

    September 12th, 2017

    Tuesday, September 12, 2017
    Panajachel, Lago de Atitlan to Lanquin, Guatemala

    Gnarly traffic in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
    Gnarly traffic in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

    At 7:40 am, I checked out of Mario’s Rooms and walked a few blocks over to the Hospedaje El Viajero to wait for the bus, which was supposed to pick me up there at 8:00 am. Not surprisingly, as I was walking up the street, I could see it in the distance, already sitting there. As I arrived, the driver was running back out of the hostel. After I told him about the hostel change and how the travel agent had been closed, we got on the bus. If I wouldn’t have showed up early, I’ll bet he would’ve left without me. A few blocks away, we picked up around eight or so French backpackers and headed out of town.

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Guatemala Part 11

    September 11th, 2017

    Monday, September 11, 2017
    San Pedro to Panajachel, Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala

    My room at the Casa Rolando in San Pedro, Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala.
    My room at the Casa Rolando in San Pedro, Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala.

    When I woke up today, I couldn’t decide if I should stay another night in San Pedro or Panajachel or Antigua. My plan was to catch a shuttle bus to Lanquin the next morning from one of those three places. At exactly 23 minutes before 11:00 am, which was check out time at the Hospedaje Casa Rolando, I frantically packed up my backpack and headed out the door. Down at the docks, the boat to Panajachel was already half full, so I only had to wait about 20 minutes.

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