As you may have noticed, our journey through the coastal plains is taking us from West to East, in a big loop that eventually will take us back to Guatemala City. Our first encounter with the Pacific Ocean was at the Manchon Guamuchal biological reserve, which defined the end of the Highlands and the starting point of the Lowlands.
During the past days, we explored some of the Retalhuleu's attractions and today, we are going to start our journey through the department of Suchitepequez, an indigenous voice that translates as Flowers Hill (I couldn't find the true origin of the name because in addition to Spanish, the Maya origin languages K'iche, Tz'utujil, and Cak'chikel are spoken in this department).
The capital city of this department is Mazatenango, which represents the general conditions of the area: prosperous, modern, self sufficient, and joyful, is better known among Guatemalans for the celebration of Carnaval (Mardi Grass-like celebration), one whole week before the lent season.
To be honest, the commercial activities are so important for the inhabitants that they have shown very little interest in the natural wealthiness of this department, which by the way, is extraordinarily rich: from tranquil rivers and ponds to the impetuous Pacific Ocean.
For instance, the municipalities of Patulul and San Juan Bautista have abundant creeks and pools along the Madre Vieja River basin, while the municipalities of Santa Barbara, Chicacao, and San Miguel Panan have similar attractions along the Nahualate River.
Almost every one of the Suchitepequez municipalities have natural attractions, and with a few exceptions, most of them don't have the appropriate infrastructure to be considered tourist places, especially for the foreign visitor.Nevertheless, during the next days we will explore the surroundings to discover some of these pristine spots through small towns, rivers, mountains and along the 18 kilometers of fine gray sand beaches. I hope you will join us in this new adventure.
In case you didn't notice, our good friend Maynor Mijangos from galasdeguatemala.com is back. Thank you Maynor for the beautiful images.