IKamper blog: Episode 5: Guatemala tour
Guatemala. From active volcanos to cobblestone streets to ancient ruins, this country has it all. One of the country’s famous gems is the deepest lake in Central America, Lago Atitlan, filling the mouth of a former volcanic crater. This huge lake, said to be surrounded by strong positive energies, is lined with yoga studios, coffee shops, and organic shops, creating a mecca for bohemian travelers on a budget.
Before taking off on this Pan-American adventure, we were in touch with another couple from California who was about to do the same journey south, leaving around the same time as us. We coordinated to meet at a campsite in Lago Atitlan to celebrate Thanksgiving together. After driving down the face of the steep Sierra Madres mountains, we finally arrived to an open, lush green campsite lined with palm trees overlooking the lake. It was paradise.
We scoped out the area and concluded there was plenty of room to ‘stretch out our legs’ by setting up our awning. When we are on the move so often, it is rare that we get to stay in one campsite for various days at a time, so this was a treat. This was only the second time on the journey so far that we had an opportunity to use the awning, so we were pumped. We spread out the awning on the grass first, getting an idea of the amount of space it would take, posted the poles, adjusted the distance to get it taut, and pulled the ropes, securing it in place. Once our camp was set up and ready to go, we jumped in the lake for a refreshing dip.
Back at the campsite, we were surrounded by other overlanders from all over the world (Poland, France, Argentina, Australia) with different rigs of all shapes and sizes. Some rooftop tents, some campers, and then us spreading out our awning, opening our doors and inviting everyone to join us. Just as the sun began to set behind the lake, the skies opened up and the rain began to fall. Suddenly, other overlanders from the campsite accepted our open door invitation and flocked to our haven under the rain. There was no indoor space in the whole campsite, so our Ikamper awning was the new hangout! We pulled out cheese and bread and everyone contributed whatever they had.
A circle of camping chairs formed, bottles of wine poured, and there was lots of chatting late into the night. We were honored to be surrounded by new friends from around the world, sharing ideas and food together. It was a new way to celebrate thanksgiving, and we were very thankful. When your entire house is your car, you miss having people over for parties or events. Under our awning make-shift living room, it felt good to ‘host’. We could tell this trip was going to be a good one.