We arrived to the Jungle Party Hostel and took a dorm room. Good vibe, hammocks, colorful walls/people, happy hour, book exchange, shuttles etc. The staff was very friendly, extremely helpful, and pretty much dragged us out to go party with them. They also provoked us to attempt the most wild adventure I’ve heard of in this part of the world.
We hit an all you can drink for 7 dollars at a place called “El Muro”. It’s was set next to a pastry shop, had a big bar in the front and blaring dance PA in the back. There had to have been at least 70 people- not cramped but you did have to maneuver yourself at times. Vodkaguas fueled the night until the 1 am close. All bars in Antigua are supposed to close at 1 am. The Jungle Party Hostel staff then lead the cobble stone, moon light stroll to “Reds”, a speak-easy sort of underground bar that stayed open beyond legal hours. There was no music playing, keeping the profile low. We knocked, were peeped at, and drunk-whispered the password. We entered. There, gallos beers carried the rest of the evening. I got back to The Jungle Party Hostel around 330 and woke around 8. Vodkagua was a good decision.
The morning came with a massive breakfast- free with the hostel stay, and that next morning recap swinging in hammock chairs with the other backpackers. Eventually we got a team together and looked to hike the Cerro Santa Cruz trail.
The houses are maybe three different pastel colors, all 1 story high and lining the poorly organized cobblestone roads. Everything looked similar to a new-arrival. Navigation took some time, but the town took an hour, tops, to completely circle. This included time for minor distractions.
The local women wore traditional dress, somewhat gypsy-like, long flowing skirts, embroidered flowers around the upper chest, short sleeves… almost Polish looking, colorful blouses, and visible texture. They were very distinct. They acted and looked different than the the other women we met on the journey up from San Jose, Costa Rica. They were very friendly, returning an almost bashful smile when we’d great them with waves and our charmingly broken Spanish. They had a very native American look, maybe a little Asian, and slightly Mexican if I had to describe it as a mixture of other heritages. The looked like ancient Mayans most, but ruly they have their own look, high cheek bones, round faces, slight slant to the eyes, very welcoming faces, sort of soft looking and I haven’t see any with bad skin. Their noses are a little wide and smoothly merge into their faces. A very attractive people.
On the “hike” to Cerro Del Cruz we were accompanied by ninos in school jumpers and polos, messy ice pops and giggles. The stroll up took about 30 minutes, the view was marvelous. It hovered above the 500,000 person city yet a stones-throw away. We viewed the churches, and all the low-rise buildings below, peeled oranges, swapping stories, plans, jokes, and cultural comparisons.
A little old guate man recommended we hike Cerro Santo Domingo after. We purchased some bread, cheese, tomatoes, chicken and beers for a picnic overlooking the city from the top of Cerro del Santo Domingo. It was about an hour hike.
It was an accomplishment and a good way to end the stay on Antigua. To the Mayan ruins in western Guatemala for the evening.
We arrived in Flores at about 6 am after the most charming bus ride ever. We were under the impression that we were getting a direct shuttle to Flores from our hostel in Antigua. However, what was really meant by those we booked through was a shuttle to Guatemala city to wait a couple hours in the bus terminal, then board the ice bus from hell for 9 hours. It was freezing byeyond reason. We were in shorts and sandals. Ours bags, extra clothing and hope fo warmth stored snugly underneath the bus until arrival. The conductor explained to the passengers why it was going to be so cold the entire trip, but not in a simplistic enough Spanish for us to understand. Christiana eventually put on a poncho. It served both the purpose of trapping in heat and deflecting the leaking roof that dripped in surprise attacks sporadically to awake us. Chris choked on the odor of my poncho and I was told I couldn’t wear it.
The ride ended in Santa Elena where we then caught a mini shuttle to the tiny island Flores. It was maybe 5 square blocks in size, hilly, cobble stone and peaceful. We went to Los amigos for our hostel. It was the sister hostel of the jungle party in Antigua.