As I mentioned in a previous post, before I traveled to Guatemala I read the warnings and tips on the U. S. Department of State’s website. Here’s one:
Large demonstrations occur throughout Guatemala, often with little or no notice, and can cause serious traffic disruptions. Although most demonstrations are peaceful, they can turn violent, and travelers should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place.
I wasn’t too concerned about this one really. For the most part we wouldn’t be in any cities so I figured the chance of stumbling upon any demonstrations would be unlikely. I forgot that I had scheduled a cultural walking tour of Antigua with Elizabeth Bell. On one of our last days we headed to Antigua for the tour. Whilst waiting for it to begin I looked to my right and saw this. Yikes!
On my left I saw this. Double Yikes!
Okay, maybe I should have planned for this. Fortunately, Elizabeth is respected in the city. She excused herself to investigate the situation. Minutes later she returned saying that we would have to miss a couple of spots she normally takes groups to, but other than that everything was fine. We set off and I have to say I felt completely comfortable under her charge. And she was a fantastic guide: informative, patient, and humorous. Below you will find some photos from the tour. If you are planning a trip to Antigua, I highly recommend going on a tour with Ms Bell.
I learned two things from this experience. Plan for everything—well as much as you can. Don’t assume you won’t run into issues that you’ve been warned about. Second, if going on tours, make sure you are with a reputable company.