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Guatemala: traveling with fine drops

March 2020

Ron Zacapa 23 Centenario Sistema Solera Rum

Traveling around with Guatemala's fine drops

The production of Zacapa Rum in Guatemala has a long tradition. Allegedly the Mayas have already produced a drink similar to rum. The high-quality sugar cane is grown at an altitude of approx 220m. The production is exclusive and only the first essence "Virgin Sugar Cane Honey" of the pressing is used. The aging of the distillates in old oak barrels in the mountains at 2’300m altitude refines the taste and gives the Zacapa Rum its special note.
Taste: soft and intense with sweet notes of vanilla, honey and sherry as well as spicy notes of caramel and oak wood. Intense, voluminous and round in the mouth.

Volcán de Agua 

Exit Belize to Guatemala 

The chief customs officer sits relaxed in the counter room with sliding glass window and another customs officer standing outside checked our papers. A stamp of immigration was missing, which Brigitte went to get. I wait at our vehicle and sit down at the back of the stairs of our camper parked on the side.
While observing I realize why the perfectly dressed officer in his little house did not stand up. In fact, he holds out his long legs to the side-open door to a shoeshine boy, who devotedly polished the shoes of the officer more than 10 minutes after our arrival!



  • The land of the huge banana plantations, with the side effect that many aerospace sprayers are not stingy with chemical.
  • A large part of the oncoming traffic on the main road are tractor-trailers, which easily load twice the European permitted total weight and often transport "Chiquitas".
  • Autohotels, many of them with promising names, with individual, screened parking spaces and behind them are the rooms where you can check in anonymously. This in an 80% Catholic country. Here the rates are given in hourly usage and couples can enjoy themselves here for a few hours.
  • Speed limits: a joke, almost every intersection with a small side road is signaled with 40 Km/h. But there is generally driven through with at least 80 Km/h. However, there is a high risk that you will be overtaken by a truck with a long trailer. Attentive driving with constant inclusion of the rear-view mirror is a must here in Guatemala. Driving with hazard warning lights is of great informative value here - just before stopping, just stopped, attention obstacle...
  • Vehicle washing: If you fill up your car at one of the larger petrol stations, a free washing with foam and high-pressure equipment is often offered. Working hours are generally extremely poorly paid. Nevertheless, there is still a very high unemployment rate. The population in Guatemala is expected to increase thos year by about 400'000 people.

Petén Itzá-Lake

Lake Petén Itzá

A large lake in the north-east of Guatemala with a charming, relaxed atmosphere. As a stopover to Tikal we spent a week at the Restaurant Ernesto right at the lake. The romantic palapas (huts with palm leaf roofs), located on wooden pillars, accessible via footbridges, invited us to relax.

chicken bus

Chicken busses 

Colored, modified and decorated buses that transport people and live animals like chickens. The old, North American school buses are experiencing their second spring here. Loud, smelly and extremely powerful motorized, these are very fast and usually overcrowded. It's not worth getting involved in a race with these ambitious drivers. Putting indicators on and letting these beauties overtake is the safest way!

Temple Tikal Ruins

Tikal, once one of the most important Mayan sites

High humidity and hot. Already at 6 o'clock in the morning we walked through the jungle of Guatemala and had the warning of the wild animals in our heads - coatis, screeching birds, howler monkeys, barbarian amarilla (snake with extreme amount of poison).
But suddenly we stood on a clearing and saw the 40 meters high temple of Tikal. A really peaceful atmosphere prevailed here. The bloody history of Tikal, however, tells of human sacrifices, whose hearts were brutally cut from the still living body. We walk across the ball playground, the place where the victims were chosen. Whoever won the ball game qualified for the sacrifice. But sometimes the loser was also affected.
We still visited four temples in the large complex, and yet others have not even been excavated, but are still overgrown with moss and plants.

Photo Copan Ruins, please click the photo:



The world cultural heritage, the Mayan sites of Copán in Honduras are located near the border with Guatemala. On our day trip to the ruins, the sacred parrots of the Mayas welcomed us at the entrance screeching and flying over our heads.


Copán is known for its many, magnificent steles (large stone blocks with hieroglyphics and reliefs). King 18 rabbits, that's the name of a Mayan king in the 8th century who had one stele after the other made and erected. The illustrations on the steles were of course the king himself and the engraved glyph texts are praises and heroic deeds of him. In addition to all the steles, we saw various artistically designed altar stones. It is said that neither women nor children were executed on them, only warriors received this "honour".
The archaeological sensation is a 30 meters high staircase with 55 steps. The mysterious signs on more than 2000 hieroglyphic stones were assembled to form the longest Mayan text in the world.