Guatemala 2017 – A Recap

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GUATEMALA – TIME TO GET A BIT EMOTIONAL

One year later, after another 6 weeks and countless beautiful memories, here I am: back home, reminiscing, missing and remembering my second trip to Guatemala that ended 20 days ago. Last year it was a coincidence – I noticed an awesome photographer, started following him and got in touch with him for one of his masterpieces. Kevin Rossatty brought my attention to his country and 6 months later there I was: on an airplane headed to Guatemala City. I didn’t expect much – and got rewarded so greatly! I swore to myself, that I would be back. In February 2017 the time had come. Same month, same length, different memories!

This year the trip was about the gems – I picked my favorite places and some I hadn’t visited last year and I wanted to meet more locals and get in touch with the culture. I met Diego Joachin through Facebook – that resulted in a wonderful meetup and possibly some future projects. I met Julio from Craft Coffee Tours through Facebook as well – and he made it possible to visit a coffee farm and talk to the farmer and his family. El Mirador made me meet Matt and Pearce, David and Bill and our guide Walter. The talks, the evenings spent together, the shared experiences – all that was so incredibly special! Meeting the guys from BajoCeroFilm in the Candelaria Cave was epic, meeting Fernando and Rodrigo again in Cobán was mind blowing. Getting to walk around Antigua with Rudy Giron and shoot some pictures was incredibly fun. Epy from Belize who I had met on Instagram last year, visited me in Flores and we spent a wonderful day together. Coming back to Monterrico and seeing Samir, the girls, Oliver and Brayan again, made it feel like coming home. Andre, Ayisha, Alanda, Yvonne, Netti, Raimund, Austin, Davide, Javier, Silvia and all the others I met along the way during commutes, trips, chats, nights out…you name it – was simply inspiring. Everyone had a story to tell. Experiences to share. A lesson to teach. That’s exactly what makes traveling such an eye opening experience: you see the world and stunning places and you meet the world – literally. I am thankful for each and every moment!

Let's get real for a second

I have met so many people (not in Guatemala), and the first question I got was: “Isn’t it dangerous?” Let me answer this for you very briefly. Guatemala – like probably every other country on this planet – has its flaws and dangerous places. You wouldn’t walk through the Bronx in New York City with expensive gear, a golden watch and your wallet peaking out your back pocket – alone and in the middle of the night. You wouldn’t do that in Berlin and you would most definitely not do it in London. Yes – you could maybe do it in Seoul…but you know what I mean. The key word is COMMON SENSE! Adapt to the circumstances. Take only what you need. Try to blend in. Wear something inconspicuous. Keep your valuables hidden if you bring them. Don’t use a big-ass camera bag that says “Nikon” or “Canon” – put it in a shoulder-bag instead and take it out only when you intend to shoot pictures. I’ve seen many tourists walk around the city with their camera dangling from their neck…how stupid is that?? That’s like an invitation that says “Pleeeeeasseeeee – take my damn camera!”

I travel alone. I bring expensive gear because I want to take professional pictures. I try to appear as normal as I can as a Gringo and not draw any attention to what I wear or what I carry. I have literally NEVER had any issues with safety – and I walk around town at night. Be careful, be aware of your surroundings but don’t have the paranoia that behind every corner a mugger awaits. Be open and friendly and listen to your gut – it will tell you if something’s wrong. Nevertheless – things CAN happen. If they do – don’t freak out. Let them take whatever they want. It’s only money. Or a camera. Or jewelry. Fuck it – your life is more important!

What's next

I’m not done with Guatemala – not nearly. I fell in love with this country, I went back to see if that feeling prevails…and it did. Now I have to come up with a plan. A plan that let’s me spend more time in Guatemala. I have some ideas and I need to talk to some people. I want to learn Spanish and become fluent. And I want to see if there’s any opportunities to find projects there.

If you have ideas, know people or know a way to help – feel free to contact me immediately! My e-mail address is mail@umbertofederico.de.

To conclude this article, I want to say one last thing: I hope my stories and articles about this lovely little country in Central America inspired you. Go and visit Guatemala. Make your own experiences. Get real and get close with nature, culture and Guatemalans. You won’t regret it – if you stay open and humble for what Guatemala has to offer!

Humberto & Umberto

Some Travel Tips

 RESTAURANTS
- Antigua
Café Condesa (Breakfast)
Rainbow Café (Breakfast)
Doña Lupita (Tacos)
El Rincon Tipico (Guatemalan)
Pizzeria Napoli (Italian)
- Flores
Dona Goya (Breakfast)
La Villa Del Chef (Guatemalan/International)
San Telmo (Mixed)
Cool Beans (Breakfast)

 HOTELS
Guatemala City – Hotel Patricia
Semuc Champey – GreenGo’s
Antigua – Posada Juma Ocag
Antigua – Hostal Los Amigos
San Pedro – Nahual Maya
Flores – Posada De La Jungla
Chiséc – Estancia De La Virgen
Cobán – Casa Luna
Monterrico – Hotel El Delfin

 COFFEE
Julio – Craft Coffe Tours
Diego Joachin – Coffee Bar
Coffeeshop – Guate Java (Antigua)
Coffeeshop – The Refuge (Antigua)
Coffeeshop – Fat Cat (Antigua)
Coffeeshop – Café Las Cristalinas (San Pedro)

 INSTAGRAMMERS
My travel Instagram – @uftravels
Andre – @you.want.to.see
Epy – @epy_501
Javier – @javihernandez12
Julio – @Paralelo14Guatemala
Diego – @coffeebargt
Ayisha – @ayishajosephine
David – @eazmitia1996
Rodrigo – @rodrigopopguatemala
Jaime – @bajocerofilms
Fernando – @hidrospeed_guatemala
Oliver – @hoteleldelfinmonterrico
Rudy – @rudygiron
David – @kevinforgood


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