Public transport in Guatemala – an experience in itself

I woke up in Chicaman, had some breakfast and made my way to the ‘center’ whwre I was told the minibuses to Coban pass. It was 9am and I was told there was one at 9.20am but that didn’t happen and it arrived after 10am. Apparently they ran every hour on the hour (more or less).

The 10 o’clock minibus was packed and I couldn’t get in. I had to wait for the next one and hope there would be space for me. A very helpful local guy assured me they had spoken to the driver of the next bus and he was keeping some space available. So the next bus came and I did manage to get in. I sat (that’s a strong word) in the front seat between the door and a very boney local lady. There were three of us ‘sitting’ in the 2 front seats. It was fun at the beggining but towards the end of the ride I couldn’t feel my ass. It gave me a chance though to get very close and personal with the locals.

The ride was amazing! Soon after Chicaman we headed down a winding, dirt road that later led to the mountains and the cloud forest. We passed through small villages, indigenous people peaking through doors, kids playing in the mud.

The minibus was packed of course, but that didn’t stop the helper boy from stuffing more people inside or on the roof. After a while I myself thought the roof was an excellent option!

People say the views between uspantan (near Chicaman) and Coban are the 2nd best in the country and they are right. There’s such a sense of space and freedom.

I was surprised by the lack of any environmental protection culture in the locals. They just threw their plastic wrappings and bottles out of the window. It was also funny to see the lady sitting next to me use her skirt to wipe her hands after the lunch snack. It was cool to hear them speak their native language (Qeqchi‘) too.

I made it to Coban in one piece, had another delicious, cheap lunch at the station and took an expensive taxi ride into town.

I got settled, met a cool Mexican guy and we went to a nearby coffee farm. We walked through the plants, learned about the planting, picking, drying processes. Tasted raw coffee (it’s slimey and sweet) amd ended the tour with a cup of freshly boiled coffee. Delicious! (that coming from someone who doesn’t usually drink coffeee).

The rest of the evening we spent walking around town, running small shopping errands and having dinner on the street.

The next morning I was off to Lanquin.


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