Quetzaltenango (Xela) is a small city and it's pretty easy to get around. There's somewhere between 200,000 and 250,000 people living here and it's the second largest city in Guatemala. We can walk just about anywhere from the central core in about 30 to 45 minutes so although buses are plentiful and dirt cheap, we've been doing a lot of walking.
There are a couple of large modern shopping centers here. Considering Guatemala is one of the poorest and most inexpensive countries in the world, it's strange how modern the city actually is.
Large modern shopping center where you can buy whatever you need at high prices.
Large ancient market where you can buy whatever you need at cheap prices!
The only thing that is expensive here is gasoline. At 34 quetzales per gallon, that works out to $4.60 a gallon ($1.22 per litre). There are certainly not as many cars on the road as there are in Mexico, but still enough that it makes you wonder how they afford the fuel!
We got lucky at the ATM casino, and it didn't even debit our bank account more than it needed to. We had to make it back to pay for our hike by 11:00am and time was running short so we actually hopped on a city bus. These have to be the most inexpensive city buses in the world, although I'm not sure of the statistics on that. A lot of them are old school buses with a gazillion miles on them but still chugging along. There are also small mini van (collectivo) style that cram as many people as possible into them.
Our bus ride back to the central area cost 1.25 quetzales. That's 17 cents!
Made it back in time to pay for our hike. We're heading out this morning to the top of the Santa Maria volcano...said to be a tough, steep hike. We'll see the sunset from the top, and the sunrise again tomorrow morning. The top of the Santa Maria volcano looks down into another live volcano where you can actually see the red lava when it's dark at night. Should get some great photos! There have been some robbery problems on the trail and our group will have 16 hikers, 3 guides,....and 3 armed police officers! Our price of 300 quetzales ($40.50) includes all of our gear and lunch, dinner, and breakfast tomorrow morning. Should be an interesting weekend!!!
Later in the afternoon, we walked up to a restaurant that overlooks the city. just to get some exercise and a bit of a view.
The city of Xela
Great view from this restaurant. Didn't have anything though.
You probably won't hear from us again until Sunday afternoon. Should be some great photos when we check in with you then!