Guatemala is a close second to Colombia.
After my body being besieged by bed begs, their desecration gradually rising over the course of an unbearable 5 day period into pustule pyramids resembling conversations in morse code and for three days before this, not being able to eat or drink anything responsibly without my roll of toilet paper at the ready and an exit plan strategised, our love for this country could not be tainted.
Venturing into central Guatemala, winding through the foot hills resembling meringue peaks – the streams sparkle as they trickle through the long grasses and corn fields that hide the tiny villages. Gaining altitude, we look down the steep embankment to the precarious dirt road that leads into the valley, towards the town of Lanquin. It is from here, that we bypassed the all too popular touristica option and jumped into the back of a farmer’s truck, along with a few locals and chickens and took the unpaved path to the glorious Semuc Champey.
For two hours, we had this special place to ourselves. The turquoise waters glistening in the morning light with perfect clarity, parrots and monkeys watching us from the canopy above as we swam around like mermaids.
The beauty and wonder of nature is amazing. We feel so blessed to experience such wonder.
Guatemala’s rural population is among the poorest in Central America and the people’s survival is often dependant on the use of natural resources. This could be seen in this area with large areas falling victim to deforestation. Official figures show that around 80,000 hectares are deforested annually, though some organizations say the figure may be closer to 95,000 hectares. To see the majesty of these places being destroyed is devastating. This is just one reason why supporting eco-tourism and community based conservation initiatives where possible when travelling is so important.