Thursday, April 23, 2009 10:36 AM
Guatemala Road Trip - Atitlan Nature Reserve
When we awoke this morning, Rob was feeling a bit better but not enough so to risk a day on the lake or wandering around remote hillside villages. After our complimentary breakfast, the kids and I decided to explore the Atitlan Nature Reserve located just a few minutes away by Tuk-Tuk. The focus of this visit was undoubtedly the "Cables Extremos", the high flying zip wires that criss-crossed the reserve with breathtaking views over the jungle, the waterfalls and out to the lake. Surprizingly, I have managed to make it to the ripe old age of 41 having never been on a zip line tour. My emotions were mixed about this experience but the kiddos were bound and determined to do it, and so I was along for the ride too. We suited up, and after a short explaination of the process from our two guides, we climbed 30 minutes up through the dense jungle and across several bouncy suspension bridges to the beginning of the cables. There was some debate about whether the children should ride by themselves or with the guides, but the kids easily won out, convinced that they could do it all on their own. And so they did with me following up after having to watch each of my precious children fearlessly hurl themselves into space and soar hundreds of feet above the treetops.
Our guides got a huge kick out of Birdie and Cole, delighting in their squeals and outbursts of Spanish swear words. We all made it down safely and spent an hour or so exploring the rest of the reserve, including the butterfly sanctuary. I'm not sure whether the netting was keeping the butterflies in or out as we only saw a handful of specimins actually inside the enclosed area. There were a lot of pretty flowers, so the experience was not a total loss.
In one area, we came upon a group of spider monkeys and coatimundii feeding along a stream. They scrambled into the trees as we drew near but stayed close enough for me to snap a few pictures.
Rob was feeling up to dinner when we returned, so we left the kids with Christina, a nice, young lady working at the hotel, and went out for a stroll around town and more Italian food at Circus Bar. Reportedly very popular with the expat crown, we found the bar and restaurant packed from the time we arrived to the time we left. This, and PanaRock a bar with live music on Calle Santander, seemed to be the only lively places in town. We enjoyed our woodoven fired pizza and calzone, wandered back through town, and returned to the hotel early enough to tuck the kids in. Boy, we are getting OLD!
Tomorrow, with any luck, we will hire a lancha and make the trip across the lake to Santiago and San Pedro.