We said goodbye to our new friends at the Mystical Yoga Farm climbed onto a small boat and begun our Student Directed Travel time in Guatemala. Getting across Lake Atitlan was and adventure through some huge waves and, to say the least, our butts are pretty sore from boat ride.
Student Directed Travel took us to Antigua, a beautiful colonial town. A few of the fun activities we took part in (in various groups) were; a volcano hike where they roasted marshmallows at the top over the hot lava; chocolate factory fun making chocolates and cacao drinks and learning about the history of cacao; and a chicken bus factory tour where they got to see how buses from America are converted into the famous chicken buses of Latin America. We also shopped in local art markets and shops for fun souvenirs and gifts for friends and family back home and relaxed at our hostels and took advantage of reading and chill time. Sadly our time in Antigua came to an end quite quickly and it was time to head to the coast.
After a 2 hour drive from the city of Antigua through sugar and banana plantations, we arrived in a very small town(pueblo) called El Paredon. As soon as we arrived, we donned our suits and headed into the ocean for a surf lesson.
Our time in El Paredon has been spent getting to know and work with Choza Chula a small NGO working in the community on various education and enterprise projects. Our first day we got a tour of the town, got an introduction to the organization and enjoyed a bit of free time to swim and hang out before we commenced our friendsgiving (an activity we put together where we drew names and got each other small cheap gifts that represented your person).
Thanksgiving was a feast! A local family cooked and we were overwhelmed by by the taste, the decorations, and the fun atmosphere. We all truly felt like a family, and quite a few of us voiced how there was really no where else in the world we would rather be. It was a gift.
The next day we woke up early to take part in a beach clean up and a turtle hatchling release with local children. It was so amazing to be apart of and we all had so much fun! Later we had an activity sharing healthy habits with the local children such as drink water and wash your hands and food with soap and water, and then some of the boys played a futbol (soccer) game with the little ones too.
To finish the day, we took a small boat onto the river to view sea turtles in their feeding and breeding grounds. We also got to watch the sunset over one of the salt harvesting/processing areas in the community.
Our fun will continue in the small community of El Paredon for a few more days until we head to our final destination on Roatan in Honduras.