A few years ago i flew to Guatemala city for a month with a mate I was living with in Canada. We basically had return flights booked and not much else. Was such a great way to do it as it was low season when we visited in October. Guatemala was a country I didn’t even know existed until we found cheap flights one day.
Guat’s had really good coffee, super friendly little(emphasis on both friendly and little lol) locals, it was so lush and green(reminded me of being back at home in the tropics!) and a VERY cheap country to travel. Wasn’t for the faint hearted though. It got hot. It is an extremely poor country. There wasn’t really a garbage system and go to transport options are basically busses(we had a 13 hr trip one day, never again). Wouldn’t change a thing though, such a memorable experience.
My friend and I had previously done a bit of travel before this trip, but we weren’t oblivious to the fact that we were in what would most likely be considered a third world country. We were going to see some sh*t…
After being in town one day, we decided we’d attempt to walk back to our accommodation(a lot further than we had anticipated) and it started to get a little dark. A Toyota prado(boujee) pulled up beside us and offered us a lift, of course we said yes- it was a free ride with a stranger in a foreign country! Be crazy not to(wouldn’t recommend ppl). We get in and this local 50+ man is smiling but also shaking his head at the same time. We couldn’t really converse as not many locals knew English and we had minimal Spanish. Our driver started saying “arma, arma” which we knew was gun in Espanol… he literally ends up pulling this weapon from under his seat and waves it around. Our hearts sank… He could have killed us then and there. Turned out he was just warning us that it wasn’t a super safe area and lots of people were armed. Makes sense, it was Central America after all. He dropped us to our destination and we couldn’t stop thanking him and attempting to put Quetzal’s(local currency) in his console. He wasn’t having a bar of it and didn’t want a cent of our money. What a legend.
After 478739 bus rides, we were sooooo over it. Probably myself more than my mate lol! We stopped at a hostel on the water for a cold brew. We ended up meeting an older bloke named Guy. Considering he 1) spoke English 2) was Canadian 3) had a bloody infectious personality- we ended up really getting along. He informed us he was headed to Belize in a few days via the water. Offered us two seats on a boat not a bus, we were in. Syd(mi amigo) and I didn’t actually end up telling our families what we’d decided just errrr… incase things went south. I texted my siblings and my parents a short and sweet ‘love you’ before we left the mainland as we didn’t have any service on the boat for four days. Not going to lie I was definitely nervous during the first night we had on the boat, and when I say boat it was basically a catamaran- it was bloody nice. We all had our own rooms and I made sure I locked mine. Turns out Guy was all too much fun. He’d had previous paying passengers(charged us maybe $200US, cheap) so he was super hospitable and quite the chef! We spent everyday playing music, tanning on the front nets, drinking beer and smoking joints. It was a damn wonderful time. A couple from Melbourne ended up joining us on the boat as well as a crazy Norwegian staff member/sidekick of Guy’s(shoutout Jules, Layla + Ruben) We all had a blast!
After arriving in Belizean waters, we stopped at a very unofficial office in Ambergris Caye and handing our passports over. We got them back and headed to Caye Caulker, probably the coolest little island on earth. But that is a whole different story…
Looking back things could have gone either way, but spontaneity and taking soon to be friends up on offers like these definitely make(or break) your travels. It’s pretty crazy how much trust we can put into people we’ve briefly met, just go with your gut feeling I guess. Ended up that Guy our wild captain was in a boat accident later that year and unfortunately passed away. To think if we’d declined his proposal we wouldn’t have ended up spending a week with one of the most ridiculously insane people i’ll most likely ever come across. He was SO full of life, lived it right that’s for sure.
I would travel back to Guatemala 100% and cant wait to. I loved how unexpected and unpredictable the whole trip was. Made friends I’ve been lucky enough to see since, ate some really good + also really basic food, made me appreciate all of the small things we take for granted in our commonwealth countries, drank really cheap booze, picked up alot of Spanish along the way, got a good tan and most of all… HAD A BLOODY GOOD TIME!