There is a really spectacular cycling road connection the islands of Honshu and Shikoku in Japan. It is possible to rent a bike in either Onomichi (Honshu) or Imabara (Shikoku) and leave it in the other town. The distance between these towns are 80 kilometer (it is 70 km if you can rent or leave the bike at the bridge outside Imabara). In my case I left the bike in Imabara city near the railway station. There are seven bridges and six islands to pass on this wonderful journey across the Japanese Inland Sea.
I believe Panama City is underrated as a tourist destination! Tocumen airport is probably one of the best in the whole Latin America with many direct connections to Europe, North and South America. If arriving from Europe is it worth spending four days in Panama City and continue to Cartagena or Quito in South America?
If so there should one stay in Panama City? Ancon hill there American staff lived during the time the Panama Canal was run by Americans? In old well maintained Casco Viejo with the 1600 century old houses? Stay in centrally located El Cangrejo with wonderful restaurants and affordable hotels? Calzada de Amador the causeway with great restaurants and easy access to Panama Canal? Punta Paitilla the smartest parts of the city there most of the American lives in Panama City?
Sumo wrestling might be the world’s oldest sport still performed today! The sport has a history spanning many centuries’ ancient traditions have been preserved even today! There are many ritual elements such as salt purifications to get rid of evil spirits in the circular ring (dohyõ) before the match begins. The wrestlers themselves have to live according old traditions following strict rules for the clothes they use, the food they eat. This is a very demanding life and certainly not a life for everyone. Sumo wrestling has been through a severe decline but know is more popular than ever before since there are two grand champions (yokozuna).
I stayed in Tokyo for six days, first stop Shinjuku. One stop by subway with the Yamanote line is Shibuya. My goal for the evening was Starbucks Café and the view of the world famous zebra crossings. As usual with the big subway stations or train station in Tokyo you turn up in a shopping Centre. At last back on the street again heading towards the Shibuya zebras a man asked. What cameras are you carrying?
I read in guidebooks that Isla Ometepe is a very nice island in Lake Cocibolca. However I was not too interested in visiting the island. A discussion with an American family in Granada changed my mind. The family came from Chicago in United States. Last year the wife and their children had visited Isla Ometepe. She thought that Isla Ompete was so beautiful so the whole family decided to go to Nicaragua for a second time. I decided I should visit Isla Ometepe as well at least for a couple of days.
A shuttle bus picked me up at Casa Cristina in Antigua for one and a half hour journey to Panajachel. We traveled north on the main high way up into the Guatemalan highlands. After one hour Sololá appeared on basin rim of the lake Atitlán. It was a foggy rainy day, so no view of the word famous lake at this time. Sololá is a heavily populated town with a severe traffic jam. The steep descend down to Lake Atitlán starts immediately at the rim in Sololá. It´s a 600 meter drop down to Lake Atitlán from Sololá situated at 2114 meter. This is the deepest lake of Central America with 340 meter depth. Three volcanos are surrounding the lake creating an extraordinary landscape. Lake Atitlán is dubbed by some the world most beautiful lake.
In my point of view there are many other beautiful lakes around the world particularly in South America. After ten minutes driving on the serpentine road down to Panajachel the weather cleared up. It was time for the first nice view of the lake and a high waterfall on the other side of the road. Panajachel is the main resort at Lake Atitlán and for many tourists the jumping off point to other villages around the lake. These villages are served by boats from Panajachel.
. The shuttle bus dropped me off at hotel Posada de los Volcanos. This is a nice hotel with very service minded staff. They served the best breakfast I had during my travelling in Guatemala. The hotel is located on the main street a couple of hundred meters from Lake Atitlán shore. If you have a room on the third floor as I had you will have a nice view over the lake. I booked a shuttle bus to the market in Chichicastenango and another shuttle bus back to Antigua through the reception desk at the hotel. Everything worked out very well.
To my surprise Panajachel had a very nice Sushi bar located on one of the side streets closed to Posada de los Volcanes. I do recommend visiting this Sushi bar it had a wonderful garden with humming birds. It was far more than just a sushi bar it´s some sort of Japanese culture Centre. There girls come to learn Japanese dance. Of course they had delicious Sushi as well.
After an early breakfast at 07:00 in the morning it was time for the 40 km journey to the market day in Chichicastenango. The shuttle bus left Panajachel at 08:00 and arrived in Chichicastenango at about 09:00. There are two market days in Chichicastenango one on Thursday and the other on Sunday. I do recommend going on Thursday since most of the Guatemalan people visits on the Sunday market day. This is a world famous Indian market of Guatemalan highland and far more than just a market day. These market days are of strong religious importance to the local Indian tribes living in the highlands of Guatemala. On most of my pictures from Chichicastenango smoke will pour up almost everywhere. This is the Shaman priest doing their duty for the Indian tribes by burning incense. In particular this can be seen outside the four hundred old church San Tomás.
© SWEBackpacker, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material including pictures without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to SWEBackpacker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
I left the beautiful and steamy hot Flores in El Petén for a night Journey to Guatemala City. It was a package with luxury bus to Guatemala City and Shuttle bus to Antigua next morning. After a day in above thirty degree Celsius and about eighty percent humidity it´s nice to enter a cool air-conditioned luxury bus. The journey started at 21:20 in the evening expected arrival time in Guatemala City about 06:30 in the morning. After a couple of hour the 17°C to 18° temperature is not so nice any more. It´s becoming very cool even for a Swedish man. The Guatemalan people were well prepared for a cold journey with sweaters and blankets. My sweater was in my backpack in the luggage compartment. If going by long distance buses in Mexico or central America I recommend having a sweater handy and not in the backpack. Read more
Granada is the right wing city of Nicaragua and Leon is the left wing city of Nicaragua. The political power moved between these two cities. When side got into power it sacked the other city and moved the power to their city. In the end Nicaraguans had had enough of this power struggles and created Managua between those two cities. There is still a lot to see in old colonial Granada funded 1524 although William Walker did his very best to sack the city 1856. Granada is located along the coast of Lake Cocibolca (known internationally as Lake Nicaragua) the world twentieth largest lake. From Managua it is a 47 km journey south to Granada. If you go by chicken bus it will cost one US Dollar for about one hour travel time. Expect to pay 40 US dollar for a hotel room with A/C, TV and hot and cold shower. Read more
It´s early morning in the end of June, I am in Mexico on the Yucatán peninsula, planning my travelling through Central America. Can I go from Tulum in Mexico to Caye Caulker in Belize in one day? There are two routes the first one is bus from Tulum to Belize City and water taxi to Caye Caulker. The second one is bus from Tulum to the city of Chetumal in Mexico and water taxi for one and a half hour to Caye Caulker. The only direct bus to Belize City left during the middle of night so the first route was not an option. Read more
If Salento was unknown for backpackers Salamina is completely unknown. I have not even heard or read anything at all about Salamina before going to Colombia. I stayed in a hostal in Zona Rosa in Manizales and was planning what to do next. The hostal had a leaflet over interesting places in Manizales and around Manizales. Most places were known to me such as Los Nevados, Hacienda Venecia (Coffee tour) but one place was unknown. I asked the manager is Salamina an interesting place? This is one of our most beautiful villages we have in Colombia! A lot of artists, writers and poets have made Salamina a famous village in Colombia. However very few people visits Salamina but I recommend going the village is incredibly beautiful! The carpenters work around the village is astonishing.