Some say the journey is more important than the destination, but when your journey begins at 5:30AM I tend to disagree. At 5:30 in the morning, after a relatively sleepless night before, it’s hard to be excited and enjoy the process of international travel. As I threw the last of my belongings into my pack this morning all I could think was, what am I getting myself into? After making it to the Orlando airport, switching planes in Miami, enduring a flight full of raucous American highschool students (in matching t-shirts advertising their mission trip), navigating customs, and communicating with my taxi driver mostly through hand gestures (have I mentioned I don’t speak Spanish?), I arrived at my hostel feeling both relieved and overwhelmed.
My hostel, Xamanek Inn, is in Zona 10, otherwise known as Zona Viva. Advertisements for this area proclaim that the culture and bustling nightlife make it comparable to the Village in New York or the Latin Quarter in Paris. From my hostel I can hear what you would expect to hear in almost any big city at 10:30PM…People talking and laughing on the street, horns honking, a (very loud) remix of Lady GaGa and Beyonce’s song ‘Telephone’ coming from a discoteca and the occasional police siren.
I would recommend this hostel to other travelers as long as you are comfortable with the fact that the owners don’t speak a word of English. Never the less they are friendly and try to be as helpful as they can. Both dormitory-style and private rooms are available, light breakfast and use of the computer is included in the price (though actual Internet connection can be temperamental). Very clean and safe!
Guatemala City is the largest city in Central America with a population of 3.1 million. My Lonely Planet guidebook describes the city best by saying, “…there’s no doubt that there’s an energy here unlike that found in the rest of Guatemala, and the extremes that categorize the whole country are in plain view. It’s a place where dilapidated buses belch fumes next to Beamers and Hummers, where skyscrapers drop shadows on shantytowns.”
I look forward to meeting up with my fellow travelers (from Missouri), Molly and Maggy, when they arrive here tonight. We are sure to find an exciting weekend adventure and then it’s on to Xela!