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Old 05-07-2007, 08:06 PM   #1
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Talking Guatemala

I leave for Guatemala in less than two weeks to build a house with my amazing coworkers and habitat for humanity. We're going to be gone for 10 days. We'll be staying in Antigua for two nights and will be building and playing in Puerto Barrios for the rest of the trip. And since we work for a fair-trade coffee shop we'll be visiting one of the farms we buy beans from! I've never imagined travelling in this area

So, I was wondering if anyone has any advice on what to pack, what to expect, and what to check out on our two days off. Any warnings?

It's going to be an awesome trip, I'm sure of it!

Here's our website if anyone wants to see pictures of the last two trips.
http://www.hbcprojecthabitat.org
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Old 05-08-2007, 01:30 AM   #2
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I don't know anything about traveling in Guatemala, but what an amazing, cool, awesome thing to do. Way to live out your values.

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Old 05-08-2007, 05:33 PM   #3
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Ok, Guatamala is a freakin awesomely beautiful country, you've chosen well. I've never been to Puerto Barrios so i can't tell you of any things to do there, but there's plenty of cool things to do around Antigua. I would highly recommend hiking up the live volcano that's not too far from Antigua. Also, there are some crazy markets on every sunday i think that are about a 1 hour chicken bus ride from Antigua, they were pretty cool too. Lake Atitlan is only a few hours by chicken bus from Antigua, it is possibly the best place I've been to, the villages that surround the lake are just beautiful and a whole lotta fun. I don't know if you'll have time, but the Tikal ruins in the north of Guatamala are some of the best around, I would highly recommend visiting them if you can.

It's pretty hot over there year round so be sure to pack some summer clothes. I was in some pretty crazy storms while i was over there, i don't know if this is a common thing or not but i would pack a rain coat just in case. The people in Guatamala are pretty friendly. As in most parts of the world, they get friendlier the further you get from the major cities. Guatamala City itself is pretty rough, i wouldn't advise spending any time there unless you really knew what you were doing. A couple of the villages around Lake Atitlan do not tolerate tourists, so don't go to them, but San Pedro is as safe as any place in the world, the people are incredibly nice.

Also, English is pretty hard to come by over there, so take a Spanish phrase book with you.

Hope this helps.

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Old 05-10-2007, 08:44 AM   #4
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I wish we had more time to bounce around Guate, I would love to see the ruins. I've been told it's going to be the rainy season so I'm ready with my stylish Target poncho!

I'm really worried about the heat though. The group that went into December didn't wear sunscreen and got some serious blistery burns, I got myself some 60+ sports sunscreen because I burn really easily.

I'm also taking malaria pills and I was told to take a strong bugspray also. I got a 98% Deet spray, but I'm now worried about Deet poisoning... anyone know of a strong, but not too strong bugspray I can get?
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Old 05-10-2007, 08:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tumblezweedz View Post
I don't know anything about traveling in Guatemala, but what an amazing, cool, awesome thing to do. Way to live out your values.

My old manager (now living in Guatemala) is the one who organized all the trips, she's really into doing work for people in third world countries. This summer she and her brother are going to Africa to do some service work. It's really inspiring to work with such motivated people, it really encourages me to get out and help. Our shop is all about sustainability and fair-trade so we've learned a lot about the coffee farming process and the coffee market. The hard, tedious work those farmers do for pennies gives us the ability to go to school and pay rent. It made me feel guilty to work in a business that makes huge profits out of exploiting small-scale farmers, less guilty because we're buying beans at a "fair" price and the co-op we're in helps those farmers buy new equipment, but the fair-trade market is still too small. Anyway, I guess these trips are a way to give back to the people who sustain us and become part of a global community. Cheesy... yes...

I'm hoping that Habitat will be a good group to work with, because they do so much work around the world, I might like to do it again. Maybe in Hungary... I don't know... I'm sure it will be fun and educational!
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Old 05-10-2007, 09:40 PM   #6
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Actually, the heat in the southern areas at this time of year isn't too bad at all, it shouldn't get over 25 - 30 degrees celsius (77 - 86 fahrenheit). It's only the northern parts that are really hot all year round. But, it is wet season over there, so it will be a little humid.

60+ sunscreen!!! I didn't even know 60+ was possible. I thought 30+ was crazy!! That sunscreen will be fine, in fact i reckon it will reverse the affects of the sun on your skin and you will come back as white as a ghost. In fact, at 60+ i think it will reverse the effects of ageing. You've got the fountain of youth right there in a tube.

Yeah, there is Malaria over there, so taking a strong bug spray is important. To avoid deet poisoning just don't drink the bug spray. But, that does have the downside on leaving you stomach open to bug attacks, so you'll have to weigh up the pros and cons of that approach.

Taking malaria pills is your personal choice. I've never taken malaria pills on any of my travels. They aren't 100% effective and they can have some seriously warped side effects. This is why I'm a big fan of strong bug spray. But, you are safer while you're taking the pills then if you're not taking them, so if you're happy taking them i would never advise you not to.
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Old 05-10-2007, 10:28 PM   #7
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The pills I got aren't supposed to cause any of the freaky side effects, so hopefully that's true. I was planning on using a nice strong bug spray as an extra precation, I get paranoid so it's nice to feel safe.

I didn't know 60+ existed either! I was excited when I found it. I'm already pale as a ghost and I just can't tan even if I try. I get sunburns just driving in my car to class and back, so hopefully I will have a nice shield around me with this sunscreen.
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