visiting all Guatemala’s tumulos

My girlfriend and I just returned back to Antigua after a very interesting round trip for the past days.
It took us actually quite a time to start on Saturday 18th of December off to Panajachel. When we reached the Lago Atitlan, it has already been night. Close our goal we had to depressingly find out that the last road has been closed due to road constructions. Facing the fact that we won’t make our way this night to Panajachel, we drove back to Tecpan were we enjoyed the night in our favourite hotel. On the next morning we enjoyed breakfast in the secret hidden restaurant El Pedregal close Tecpan in Santa Apolonia.
When we entered the restaurant I’ve been amazed as suddenly somebody jumped up and called me by my name. First I couldn’t trust my eyes – it’s been my friend Javier I’ve couch surfed at, about one year ago in San Salvador, El Salvador. He has been born in Guatemala and told me, that he is now working again as architect in Guatemala.
After a very delicious breakfast we continued our way. Our goal was to reach Xetulul in the evening.
As I met my new friend Jorge in the airplane on my way to Guatemala, I used the chance to convince my girlfriend to stop by at his town in Huehuetenango. Well, we didn’t know at that point that his town is off the road for a total of 4 hours … =P
We gave him a call and after a loooooong drive, we finally ended up in Huehuetenango, were we met my friend to talk with him for about 20 minutes. He offered us a hotel room and it would have been great to spend more time with him, but in order to fulfil our time schedule we had to move on. Well, moving in Guatemala is quite a challenge. On the big streets you can still only go a maximum of 60 km/h, as people living and walking right on the street all along the way. As it’s already a challenge to not hit some people or get hit by any of the other crazy driving cars, another big trap are the many tumulos – in English: bumps on the road. Many of them are unmarked and very hard to see in the night. I would say at present my most spoken Spanish phrase is: “¡ten cuidado – tumulo!”
So we drove another 2 hours through the black night to get back to Quetzaltenango (Xela) where we stopped at Pizza Hut for a nice dinner. We decided to keep going from there and 1000 tumulos later reached IRTRA by 1 o’clock am.
We planned to stay in a very special hotel, my girlfriend already got good experience with. But badly we had to find out that the hotel was overbooked and so we had to stop by a different hotel.
IRTRA is kind of a DISNEY-land, separated in a water- (Xocomil) and an entertainment park (Xetulul).
On the next morning we enjoyed the Xocomil water park, which got amazing water slides. To get a picture of the fun in Xocomil I recommend to follow this link. In the night we enjoyed a big dinner at Pollo Campero in Mazatenango and spent the night in the Hotel del Sol.
On the way between our hotel and IRTRA we passed a few times a big sugar factory. It’s been amazing to see, how the big trucks bring the sugar-cane to the factory. Around that place you can taste it in the aroma of the air, that they are producing sugar. And of course the Coca-Cola factory isn’t far from their too. ;-)
On the next morning we enjoyed the entertainment park of Xetulul, offering many roller coasters.
We finished our fun tour around 5 pm and started our way back to Antigua, Guatemala. After a looooong drive back and many tumulos more, we arrived glad in Antigua on Tuesday 21st of December around 10 o’clock pm.
It’s been a very adventurously and interesting round trip, which clearly showed me a new picture of Guatemala and it’s many tumulos! =)
Check the following Google Map, to see where we’ve been around.

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