The national bird for Guatemala is the ‘quetzal‘. It’s a beautiful green bird with quite unusual feathers and colours. It’s especially known for its long tail which was also used by the Mayas for the leader’s head dresses. So this morning we started the day with a visit to the quetzal national park. The walk started quite adventurous – wrong day to wear a dress… 🙂 – but apart from two road blocks caused by fallen trees it went very smoothly. We didn’t spot any quetzals though. It would have been quite unusual too to be fair. The bird isn’t one that likes to show itself and the breeding season is normally in springtime. We were surprised though that we didn’t see many other animals either. Maybe they are also too shy or there were just too many visitors in the park (there were school groups walking around too) or it wasn’t the right time of day or season. It was cool still to walk around this pure piece of nature where the air still smells clean and the forest is bigger than mankind. We did spot a cool blue mushroom.
After this amazing visit we headed to Antigua; making sure we selected the paved road. Once we got into the capital Guatemala City (‘Guate’ for the locals) the traffic became a real nightmare. Luckily we were only passing through towards the old capital. In Antigua the streets and atmosphere were completely different, a lot more relaxed and controlled driving as well as a lot more beautiful streets.
Once we parked at our camp ground (which is being guarded by police officers) we headed into town to check out the city centre. Enjoying the local festivities (kids dancing in colourful clothes and all wearing the same mask) and a cup of coffee in a local coffee bar we got interested in the coffee plantations so we asked around for tour options. The first guy we spoke to offered us a tour of 3 hours in San Felipe for 100 USD or a tour of 2 hours in a smaller plantation for 54 USD. This last offer seemed okay for us at first so we accepted by shaking hands but then, as we were walking back to the camp ground, we spotted another tour operator who offered 150 Q (ca 20 USD) for a 1.5 hour tour in ‘La Azotea’. This seemed a lot more reasonable and budget friendly so we signed in on a morning tour.
Whilst we were paying the guy, there was an earthquake of 6.5 on the Richter scale. Marijke thought for a moment that it was the wind, blowing very hard and shaking the house. It was only when we all had to shelter under the door that it became clear that it was an actual earthquake. Hopefully it’s not a bad omen. At least we have the police to protect us here on our campground tonight :).
Come on, let me see you shake a tail feather
Twist it, shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it baby
Here we go loop de loop
Shake it out baby