The Most Amazing Day in Guatemala
There’s something mesmerising and magical about waterfalls. But this particular waterfall, tucked away in the jungles of Guatemala was something special. The water gushing down the falls was hot. Really hot. I could only put my hand underneath it for a mere second or two. That hot.
We swam underneath the waterfall and found ourselves in a little cave behind it. The hot water was giving off steam, turning the cave into a sauna. One of my new travel buddies bravely wrapped his phone in a plastic bag and brought it into the cave – all for one very foggy, but somewhat unique photo.
We climbed up alongside the waterfall and found a stream, dotted with little pools of water. The water was even hotter here. I touched it and immediately regretted it. We passed other travellers covered in mud and they muttered something about it being exfoliating. So without much consideration we bent down and started lathering mud all over ourselves, realising a little too late how bad it smelt. We were absolutely covered.
A perfect excuse to jump back into the pool at the bottom of the waterfall.
Eventually we dragged ourselves away from the waterfall and set off to find the nearby canyon. We waited at the bus stop, chatting away.
Without us even noticing, a truck had pulled up. The obese shirtless driver simply called out the name of the canyon we were headed for and signalled that we should get in. Umm… Pretty sure this was not the bus we were waiting for. But hey, hitch hiking is basically a backpacker’s rite of passage, isn’t it? So we hopped in. The man drove us down a long and winding road, one hand on the gear stick, one hand on the phone and only an elbow on the driving wheel. The whole way, his hand never touched the wheel. He didn’t speak a word of English and didn’t attempt to engage in any conversation. Conversation was, in fact, impossible as he spent the entirety of the trip chatting away on the phone. When we arrived at our destination he pulled over, smiled and nodded, indicating that we should get going.
We were greeted by local kids who spoke just enough English for us to understand that they wanted to take us on a boat ride. A young boy rowed us down the river and into this immense canyon. Immense. There’s no other way to describe the towering cliffs on either side of the little river.
Floating down the river, I realised that this is what makes me happy, and this is why I travel. To meet people from all over the world and go on spontaneous adventures with them. To discover little corners of the world that take my breath away. To immerse myself in a foreign language and a different culture. And if there’s any one day of travel that encapsulates all that – it’s this day in Guatemala.