This was my first time in Latin America. I always wanted to learn Spanish, so going to Guatemala for me was like hitting multiple birds with one stone. I would be able to improve my Spanish; challenge myself by being out of my comfort zone; experience a different culture and rewarding myself with a graduation gift for finishing college in 4 years with a double major and with honors – magma cum laude.
I was very nervous and off course I over packed because I wanted to be prepared for every scenario. However, I didn’t check the weather so I didn’t pack for the cold. I assumed Guatemala should be a tropical country.
Even though I did my research, I was unprepared for many things that I experienced. It never occurred to me that many people would be staring at me and asking to take a picture of me or with me because they had not seen a black person before (never mind that that Guatemala have a black population). It never occurred to me that you don’t flush down toilet paper because their drainage system is weak. Oh, I never imagined Guatemala to be cold. This trip was definitely a learning experience for me.
Since I was there for almost 3 months, I had the opportunity to visit many parts of the country. I visited Antigua, Livingston, Salcaja, Chichistatenango, Lago Atitlan, Huehuetenango, Fuente Georginas, Tikal-Flores, Rio Dulce, Puerto Barrios and Champerico. By far, my favorite cities in Guatemala are Quetzaltenango, Livingston (I even went twice) and Tikal-Flores.
I met many great people (both gringos (foreigners) and locals). My host family was awesome – in fact, I stayed with them again in 2010 and 2011. Yes, my Spanish improved!
To read the original post published September 2008 by TravelBlog.Org, .