First Day in Guatemala

We arrived in Guatemala City on Friday morning with little fanfare and no luggage. We determined that our luggage wanted to spend a few hours on South Beach, getting a tan. It finally arrived once we returned from a tour of the city where we experienced the Parque Minerva, Catedral Metropolitana and Plaza Mayor de la Constitucion. It was a wonderful little trip.

Unfortunately, we also passed one of the more dangerous parts of town and were amazed to the construction of this area. Homes built into the side of a mountain, on top of each other. It was a very inhumane way to live. We were told that it is one area we should not enter as it was very dangerous, especially to tourist.


Monument to Francisco Vela, Engineer

Monument that shows how Francisco Vela surveyed Guatemala in the early 1900s and used to build the Parque Minerva-Mapa en Relieve. This park has the entire geography of Guatemala.

Built in 1904, this map shows the geographical features of Guatemala. This is only a portion of the map and shows many of the areas we will be visiting during this trip.

The condition of this map was not good as it is exposed to the weather, but it is an overwhelming display of the country of Guatemala. I had never seen anything like this in my life.

After leaving the park, we traveled back to Zone 1, which is the downtown area of Guatemala City and experienced the Catedral Metropolitana and the Plaza Mayor de la Constitucion, across the street from the cathedral. This cathedral was started in 1776 and finished in 1868. It has many artifacts that are much older as it was furnished with items that were removed from a cathedral in Antigua when the capital was moved to Guatemala City.

Small portion of this monolithic structure

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a more complete picture of this cathedral, but I was standing too near it and could not cross the street to get a better shot. The interior of this cathedral is breathtaking. If you ever visit Guatemala City, you need to be sure to visit.

Across the street is the Plaza Mayor de la Constitution. We did not have an opportunity to cross the street to walk through the square, but it is a massive square with a fountain in the middle.

Glorious fountain in the main square in Guatemala City


On Saturday morning, we loaded into our buses and traveled on the Pan American Highway. After several hours, we arrived in Panajachel, which is on Lake Attilan. This lake has been described as the most beautiful lake in the world. To see this place, you would also agree. We spent the day visiting the city. We also had a opening presentation for those who have never visited Guatemala and the Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP).

Tomorrow, we will travel across the lake to visit Santiago. There will be more pictures added tomorrow from the trip.

To see the beauty of this country, one wonders why they were unable to be more successful and prosperous. This project hopes to aid this country out of poverty through education. As the most illiterate nation in the Western Hemisphere, there is much work ahead for this nation and the people. The people are hopeful and are working towards bettering themselves and their nation. I feel honored to participate in this little way.

After the presentation this evening, my traveling partner informed me that we need to visit every club in our district to encourage them to participate with this project. After all they have done, they have still only reached 10% of all rural schools.


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