Second Weekend in Antigua
Antigua Travel Blog› entry 4 of 9 › view all entries
Saturday, Dan and I took a bus at 7:30 a.m. to the city of Santa
Maria de Jesus, a village at the base (actually 500 meters up the
side) of a now dead Volcano. Our plan was to make the 4-6
hour climb and 2-4 hour decent in one day. Many people climb it
on Saturday, stay overnight at the top and return the next day.
This is probably a good idea but there are some disadvantages
I'm sure. The trail was on an incline the whole way, a steep
incline. I can't imagine doing it with a heavy pack, although we
saw several people in the afternoon with a lot of gear. I almost
died with just my little day pack.
Once at the top We were very disappointed. The crater was
inhabited with a couple small camps. People selling hot coffee
or hot chocolate. They were using the local pine trees that grew
at that altitude for fire wood. It appeared they were using only
the dead trees that looked like they had been killed from a past
fire. The crater itself was littered with trash, as was most of
the trail up. Very sad to think these people have never been
taught to take pride in their country. "The world is my trash
can" seems to be the current attitude.
Although the climb up was very difficult and strenuous,
especially 3/4 of the way up because of the altitude, the hike
down was the most body-beating. Because of the grade, it was
impossible to go slow and each time my foot came crashing down
with my full weight on it, I could feel the pressure on my feet,
knees and spine. It felt like my brain was rattling around in
Finally we got to the bottom. We found a bus waiting and got on.
He drove about 100 ft. and stopped and turned off his engine.
Seems he wasn't really going until another bus arrived and he had
a full load of passengers. He said he would be at least 20 to 30
minutes at the minimum. Dan and I dragged ourselves down to the
local pharmacy, which had a couple of tables in the back and had
a beer. We had only been there 10 minutes when we heard the bus
horn honking. Thinking that it couldn't possibly be our bus, we
continued relaxing and drinking our beers. It wasn't until I saw
the bus creep by the front door that we quickly paid and ran out
chasing it down the hill.
By the time I got home, my whole body hurt and I felt like I had
a fever, kind of like when I get home from skiing. My face felt
like it had a sunburn, even though most of the day we were hiking
either in the clouds or under a Jungle canopy.
I slept well that night but woke early Sunday at the
unappreciated sound of a string of fire crackers going off about
5:30 or 6:AM. This had been the rule rather than the exception
here in Antigua. I laid in bed and drifted in and out of sleep
for a couple more hours. I got out of bed at 8:30 just as the
family was going out the door to church. The Senora (Carmilina)
had prepared a bowl of pineapple for us and left me a thermos of
hot water so I could make instant coffee. Almost no one here
drinks fresh brewed, even though Guatemala is a major coffee
I spent the rest of the morning wandering around town, receiving
E-mail from my dad and then responding to it. I looked around a
bit for a tour or something for the following weekend as it is Christmas
weekend and I had nothing to do. That night I went to a
restaurant for dinner. The plan was to go to Cafe Flor for Thai
food, but the restaurant is closed on Sundays, or so I found out.
I ended up at a nice Italian restaurant and had the special.
Spaghetti and soup for Q20. The soup was delicious but the
spaghetti (I ordered pesto) was swimming in oil and covered with
some green herbs. Not too bad but I didn't get a chance to eat it
all as I was late for my movie; "The Piano." As it turns out the
cinema was closed as well, for remodeling I think. Not much was
turning out as planned. Instead I just went to the same old
Cafe' Cafe' where I could watch American TV and drink Gallo beer
for about 1.25 a bottle. Actually as cheap as a movie but I got
the beer as a bonus. I returned home around 9:50 and went right