We spent 2 wonderful and lazy weeks by Lago Atitlán in the town of San Pedro la Laguna, which is perched on the lake and underneath a huge volcano. Every evening there were terrific thunderstorms generated by the mountains.
We stayed in a little house in the Corazón Maya Spanish school, and did 3 hours of lessons each morning while the girls played. They had loads of fun playing with Xija, the owner's grand-daughter, and dressing up in traditional Guatemalan trajes.
From San Pedro it was easy to take excursions to nearby towns on the lake, and to go swimming and kayaking while gazing at the volcanoes.
We had a great time around the lake and look forward to returning again sometime in the future.
After Mexico we hopped on a plane and headed to Antigua, Guatemala.
Antigua is a cool old city with cobble-stone streets and great views of the volcanoes from most angles - thankfully the local volcanoes are dormant and the city wasn't badly affected by Volcán Fuego.
We did a tour of a local coffee farm and the girls got to toast and grind their own coffee by hand. The smell was so amazing that even Glo enjoyed a cup!
After nearly 7 months inland, we decided it was time to hit the beach, so we flew to Cancún. We were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't *too* over-run by Americans, and we actually heard lots of Spanish being spoken.
We also spent a few days in the beachside town of Akumal, and visited the ruins in Tulum. To be honest that was a bit of a waste of time, as it was so hot and humid the girls didn't enjoy it at all (aside from the ice-cream at the end). Another day we tried to swim in a cenote, but there were so many mosquitoes we couldn't even get out of the car. Poor Clementine is a mozzie magnet!
One of the problems with travel blogs and articles is that they only focus on the best aspects of travel - carefully composing photos to crop out the ugly bits, and never mentioning the traffic or the pollution. We’re guilty of this too!
We were excited to see Guanajuato after seeing so many great photos of the colourful houses on the hillside, especially after we learnt that it was the inspiration for the land of the dead in Coco.
The reality was slightly different. While the town looked lovely from afar, it was a little gritty and grimy up close, with lots of traffic choking the narrow streets. Our apartment had a killer view of the town - but the only place you could appreciate it was while standing at the window of the bedroom. The rest of the apartment was pretty dingy and tired - but one of the benefits of travelling with kids is that they couldn't care less about any of that, and they were perfectly happy playing cushion-houses in the gloomy living-room.
We had a good time overall - but it was a timely reminder of the subtle lie that travel articles and blogs contain. Bearing that in mind, here are some photos showing the best aspects of Guanajuato!