We arrived in Monterrico around 10 in the morning. We weren’t exactly sure how long we were going to stay because I really wasn’t able to get much information out of the Spanish school. Our first stop took us to a place called the Hotel del Delfin. What grabbed my attention was the sign out front that said “stay 3 nights and get the fourth one free.” I was greeted by the owner who was more than happy to show me different rooms around the hotel. Since we were going to get one night free, we decided to go with a small upgrade and get a room with an air-conditioner. The owner contacted the school and was able to give us a little more information regarding classes. The teacher said that we could start on monday at 8am. With that information, we decided to go ahead and stay the whole five days. As we were walking around the hotel, we were confronted by one of the many guides who offers tours around the local area. We agreed to do a early morning boat ride to look at some wild life as well as a turtle watch in the evening. We were also offered an opportunity to rent a 4W bike to ride around the beach if we wanted. I told him we would think about it, but I’m guessing that we are going to do it. We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the pool and getting some sun. Alisa looks really happy and I’m glad that we are spending the last week of our vacation here.

Last Day

It’s been a pretty long but quiet week here in Monterrico. Normally this area is insane on Fridays and Saturdays, but we stayed every other day. As a result, we were introduced to the sleepy daily life here in this really small town. We took a couple of tours while we were here. The first tour was of the mangroves near by. We started out around five in the morning and took a about an hour and a half boat ride while looking at all the different plant and animal life. The place is a reserve, therefore the people here have to be really careful to limit the amount of motorized boats used in the area, so our guide used a giant stick to navigate us around the area. We got to see the sun rise while we were in the mangroves and the crazy amount of life that calls this area home. It was really peaceful, and we really enjoyed ourselves.  Our guide was really nice. He took time to explain every little detail to us in Spanish. It was a great experience because many times it seems as though the guide would rather be somewhere else than with a group of tourists (I don’t blame him).

Our next tour consisted of a night walk on the beach, we actually went out two nights in a row looking for sea turtles on the beach laying eggs. Both outings were about an hour and a half long and were a little tiring as we were on the sand the whole time. Sadly, we didn’t see any sea turtles, but we did learn that this whole beach is a reserve for the turtles. However, when I think reserve I think something totally different that what’s here. For example, people here take the eggs even though they are protected. Since the local police won’t do anything about it, the hatchery has resorted to paying the people who take the eggs in order to prevent them from going on the market. Now a tourist can pay Q10 ($1.30) to release a live turtle. Since they can’t stop people from taking the eggs they are just using their own greed to help the turtles. It’s kind of sad actually. When we went out those nights there were a lot of people out on the beach looking for turtles. There were even people riding motorcycles and 4 wheelers searching for them. I found out from my Spanish teacher that the problem on the beach is only here in Monterrico. Farther down the beach is a place called Hawii. There they have stricter laws and they are actually enforced. Even though we didn’t see any sea turtles this week, we were really happy that we got to get some exercise as most of our time consisted of sitting in the sun, sleeping on hammocks, and eating.

We took Spanish classes all week long. They were really helpful for me as the previous week we spent the whole time speaking English at Utopia. The classes were four hours a day, Monday through Friday. Actually, they were more of a conversation classes rather than a lesson. We talked with our teachers for almost four hours straight and by the last day, I was really tired of having a conversation that long, but it was good excerise for the both of us. We learned a lot about the local politics and the way of life here. It’s always really interesting getting news about the local daily life here from someone who has lived here their whole life. The school is small and rents out a small apartment for only $50 a week (a great deal) and has volunteering opportunities in local schools, hatcheries, or clean-up projects. Someday, it would be nice to return and take advantage of one of these programs. However, we are going to be extremely poor for the next two years of our lives so that will have to wait till some time in the far off future.

We spent the whole week in a hotel called El Delfín. It is a quiet little hotel right at the beach entrance and it’s really welcoming here. The place is completely out in the open with hammocks in almost every section. We probably spent more time on the hammocks in front of the beach than actually standing or sitting. It was a great way to pass the week. If you ever want to spend a whole week on a beachfront hotel, be treated like a king and not pay very much money, I would suggest coming to Monterrico and staying at this hotel. My only complaint is the abundance of mosquitos that are here. It’s not the hotels fault, but as soon as the sun goes down, they come out by the thousands. The hotel tries to midigate them by using candles and insents that keep them away, but there are so many that you are going to get bit no matter what you do. I used Off everyday and still would get several bites on my legs, back, arms, and many other places. They would even find their way into our hotel room. As we slept at night, we were  a mosquito buffet for the evening and would wake up with several new bites on the parts of our bodies that were exposed in the evening. That aside, we loved our time here. We had a lot of fruit shakes and dinners at different beach front restaurants. I even had paid a hundred for a steak…well it was a Q100 ($13). That steak dinner would have cost upward of 60-70 dollars back in the states. It was worth every penny. The owners of the hotel made sure that we enjoyed our stay. They always made sure we were happy. When we returned to our room from our turtle walks, there was hot tea waiting for us. We are so happy that we picked this place and we met Becky and Juan (the owners). 

We spent our last day here going to our final Spanish class and each ordering a milk fruit shake. Becky let us leave our things in our room until 2pm even though check out is at noon. We took the extra time to go for one last short walk around the town and even had some nachos at Johnny’s Place (another hotel just down the street). At the moment, Alisa is  taking one last dip in the pool and trying to soak in a little more sun before the shuttle comes to pick us up at 4. As for myself, I think I’ve had enough beach. I really like it here, but I think it’s a little too quiet for me.

In short, we are really happy with our trip to the coast but are really happy that we are going to return home to our family and friends. Today we will take a shuttle back to Antigua where we will spend one last night with Hugo and Estella. After we say our good-byes we will spend the day in Antigua and then go to our hotel in Guatemala city where we will get on a plane and five in the morning to return back to Portland. 

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