In Loving Memory of Manuel Fernando Sanchez Gamboa (1990 - 2015), without you this website would not be possible.

Passport to the World

Fun Facts:

Days Traveling:
1,500

# of Pictures Taken:
39,838

# of Cities Visited:
371

# of Natural Parks Visited:
100

# of Countries Visited:
70

# of Flights:
29

# of Bus Trips:
345

# of Train Trips:
91

# of Boat Trips:
69

# of Times Hitchhiking:
5

Days with Car Rental:
24

Days with Motorcycle Rental:
3

Longest Time without showering:
13 days (Everest Base Camp Trek)

# of Times Getting Sick:
Gisela: 17
Sal: 18

# of Doctor Visits:
Gisela: 4
Sal: 5

Nights CouchSurfing:
366

Days WWOOFing:
124

Nights at Friends/Family:
291

Nights of Camping:
148

Nights in Hammock:
9

Nights Sleeping on a:
Airplane: 5
Airport: 3
Train: 37
Bus: 68
Boat: 24

# of Places we've Slept in:
556

# of Times Doing Laundry:
132

Longest Time Without Doing Laundry:
24 days

Additional Fun Facts

February 20, 2017

Guatemala Flag
We visited Guatemala for 30 days from August 14, 2016. We traveled overland from San Salvador to Guatemala City crossing through the San Cristobal border without any issues. Traveling a total of 36 hours by bus and 1.5 hours by boat, we made stops in Guatemala City, Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa, Panajachel, San Marcos La Laguna, Santiago de Atitlan, Quetzaltenango, Chichicastenango, Lanquin, Semuc Champey, Flores, and Tikal National Park.

Guatemala is the heart of the Mayan civilization. Although the government only recognizes Spanish as it's national language, 22 indigenous languages and the Creole language are broadly spoken in the country. Visiting the surroundings of Atitlan Lake allowed us to witness the living heritage of indigenous groups. The Guatemalan woman is an example of their culture as she carries their authentic clothing and textile work, the colors of her own identity, with pride. It is simply amazing how much Guatemalan women do to take care of their families, their hard work reminds us of the tenacity we admired so much in the African women. And in so many ways, the role of woman in many cultures all over the world is so valuable, as they are who preserve and continue to transmit to the next generation the specificity and unique qualities of their way of living. Overall, Guatemalans' kindness and spontaneous salutes while we were walking around the communities of Atitlan Lake and all over the nation filled our hearts with joy time after time. Guatemalans are friendly and polite, we really liked their demeanor.

However, some things really bothered us about Guatemala, the extreme difference between those who have money and those living in poverty was one of them. The lack of environmental conscious, as we witnessed many of them, too often, throwing trash anywhere and everywhere we went in the country also upset us. The issue of waste management and environmental education is evident in Guatemala.

Guatemala like many Latin American countries struggle with political corruption. In 2015, many of these issues came out to light, Guatemalans united in pacific protest until the vice president and president renounced. Both are now in jail and under investigation. This was indeed an empowering and historic moment for Guatemalans. However, in their next election and most likely based on their lack of trust towards politicians, Guatemalans elected a man without political experience, Jimmy Morales. President Morales in his inability to perform this demanding job also filled Guatemalans with hopelessness. We heard many Guatemalans say, "We can't trust politicians, we can't trust non-politicians, who can we trust?"

We left Guatemala feeling extremely fortunate for all we were able to see and experience. We truly hope the political future brings more social justice for their people and they continue preserving the richness of their Mayan culture. Guatemala, we will return to your colorful world! ;)

Below are other great things we enjoyed about Guatemala:

Food and Drinks

Guatemala Food
- Gallo Beer
- Pepian de Gallina: free range chicken soup with ground pumpkin seeds
- Gallo en Chicha: rooster in a sweet sauce
- Caldo de Pata: pig feet soup
- Caldo de Gallina: free range chicken soup
- Horchata: cold drink made of rice, sesame seeds, and other spices
- Kak Ik: turkey soup
- Peche: potato tamal
- Chuchitos: small tamales
- Tamalitos: another type of tamal
- Dorada Beer
- Tiky Soda
- Pinol de Maiz: hot drink or soup that is made with corn flour, tomatoes, chiles, and other spices
- Pollo Guisado: chicken stew

Favorite Sites and Activities

- Starring in Awe at the Tall Mayan Temples in Tikal National Park
- Swimming in the Amazing Turquoise Waters in Semuc Champey
- Walking Around the Villages of Lago de Atitlan with Wonderful Views and People

People

- Juan Felipe and Manuela: from Colombia, Manuela is Gisela's childhood friend that they were able to host us in Guatemala City.
- Sergio, Mabel, and Alejandro: from Guatemala, family friends that hosted us in Guatemala City.
- Geovanna and Francisco: from Guatemala, our CouchSurfing hosts in Quetzaltenango.
- Deejay and Shay: from Australia, met in the hostel in Lanquin.

Animals Viewed

- Howler Monkeys
- Ocellated Turkey
- Various Birds: Toucan, Woodpecker, and more

Common Sayings

- Patojo/a = Young Adult
- Cuate/a = Friend
- Chevere = Hot Dog

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