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Santo Tomas, Guatemala Mini Port Report

 
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Tim
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Location: Glen Arm, Md

PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:46 am    Post subject: Santo Tomas, Guatemala Mini Port Report Reply with quote

Santo Tomas, Guatemala Mini Port Report

Before I first visited this port people informed me there was not much there. I found just the opposite. I found the culture fascinating it is quite different from the way most of us live. Quaint would not begin to describe the living conditions.

Guatemala is Spanish speaking and only a few of the locals speak English. Most of the venders in the very nice shopping and reception building on the pier do.
Souvenirs here are exceptional and very reasonable, bargaining is common. Local entertainment is continuous when ships are in port. English speaking agents on the dock arrange transportation and negotatiate fares. They always say your driver speaks English. If taking a taxi try to speak to the driver first to see if you can communicate.

The currency is the Guatemalan Quetzal 8.24 = 1 USD. USD is acceptable for transportation from the pier and places like the Escabos Waterfall.
The waterfall is a great place to visit in a park like area. The ride to and from is interesting. We were fortunate to have a driver who spoke reasonable English. He spends several months a year doing landscape work in the US when he can get a visa. It cost him $2000 and he makes $7000.

Walking a few blocks south and west of the doc area will bring you to a local market and some stores. On the first couple blocks away from the pier you will find people trying to sell you a tour or something else. Some are just trying to practice speaking English. After a few blocks they are gone and you are in a different world of Spanish only speakers.

I usually do not book ship’s tours but I did on a couple of cruises here. One was a long bus tour to the Quirigua Maya ruins noted for its tall monuments. On the way we got to see some of the country side and a very large banana plantation. Another excursion took us inland to Lake Izabal for lunch at a beautiful little hotel and restaurant then a river cruise up the River Dulce and past The Castillo of San Felipe. Along the way were many grass roofed dwellings, narrow fishing boats, birds and other wildlife. When clear of the river we sailed through the harbor and back to the ship.

Puerto Barrios a larger town is nearby but has little of interest.

This report contains three of my favorite pictures. Normally I try to avoid having people in my pictures but the picture of the man with the machete leading a horse with sticks on his back, the picture of the man and his dogs with the horse pulling a logs and the father traveling with his children on bicycles intrigue me. What are the sticks for? Why does the man with the machete look angry? Another picture I was unable to take but is very clear in my mind was of a tall thin formidable looking man walking on a street in Puerto Barrios. His left arm was in a sling and on his belt was a holstered semi automatic pistol.

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Tim
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Tim
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Octoberbabe
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always wanted to visit Guatemala - thanks for the mini-tour and pictures, Tim.

Di

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OhioSnowbird



Joined: 27 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 4:57 pm    Post subject: Guatemala Reply with quote

Hi Tim,

These pictures are beautiful. I took The Kid to Guatemala several years ago. It was a lot of fun.... I have that log entry here:

http://www.brightkidsathome.com/travel/guatemala.htm

The Kid made a website, crude, but shows some of the images from the high country & Tikal.

http://www.brightkidsathome.com/travel/mayaweb/index.htm

The map of Tikal has numbers on it to click on to see the ruins:

http://www.brightkidsathome.com/travel/mayaweb/tikal.htm

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