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Guatemala - Trip to the Pacific

August 28, 2004

By car: Guatemala City - Puerto San José and back
Intro Photo Preparation and departure First trip Train ride Ferrovías
Ruins of a train station at Puerto San José Pier on a beach in Puerto San José

On Saturday August 28, my friends invited me for a trip to the Pacific Ocean. We were to leave in the afternoon, therefore I had half a day free time. In one of the guides I found that one of the most interesting museums of Central American cultures - Museo Popol Vuh - was located close to my hotel. The museum got its name after the legendary "Mayan Bible", written by an educated Native after the Conquest. When I asked about the museum in the hotel, they gave me the address and said "show this to the driver". Luckily, I had bought a city map in the meantime, so I knew that the museum was also in the safe Zone 10. Knowing this, I did not hesitate and walked there. Zone 10 is vaste, there are mainly hotels, offices, restaurants and also a few residential houses. It is easy to get around, because all streets have numbers and intersect in a right angle. One of the exceptions is Museo Popol Vuh in the campus of Francisco Marroquín University, located in a valley accessible by a single road. I got there in about half an hour. The museum is small, but illustrates well the thousands of years of Maya empires. I liked the collection of musical instruments (clay whistles), little statues (e.g. "mushroom people" - humans with mushroom tops instead of heads, an indirect evidence of experiments with intoxicating mushrooms) and pottery.

At about noon, I met my friends and we went to the Pacific. Who would expect unpaved country roads with horse carriages, that would be disappointed. There is a modern highway from Guatemala City to the Pacific, built by a private Mexican corporation. In about an hour, we were in the nearest seaside city, Puerto San José, and we walked to the beach. It has a typical black sand. There are high waves in the Pacific, so you almost cannot swim. Many people were in the water, though, several of them surfing. There has been an old pier, originally with a railroad track, built for unloading of ships. A half-ruined building of train station, not used at least since mid-1990s, stands nearby. After some time on the beach, we walked back to the city along a row of market stands built directly on the railroad track and finally went for a dinner in a hotel. In the late evening, we went back to the capital.

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Updated: 2004.10.05

© Jan Pešula, 2004