After having a great time at Overland Expo West this year, Emily and I came home excited about doing some travel outside of the US. We want to do the long drive at some point in the future, but the timing isn’t right for us to take the 18 months away right now.
We’ve never been to Guatemala before, but numerous folks at Expo recommended Guatemala for Spanish language schools. So we thought “why not?” and booked plane tickets to spend September in Guatemala. Now all we had to do was figure out where we were going to stay, what school, etc.
There are a huge number of options – we don’t like big cities and prefer mountains to beaches, so after a lot of research we narrowed the search for schools down to San Pedro la laguna, a Guatemalan town on the southwest shore of Lake Atitlán.
So while it will be nice to have some places to go – we don’t want to stay in gringolandia. Searching the schools I found Corazon Maya Spanish Language School which is just outside of the town area on the lake and will (hopefully) give us the peaceful place to stay that we are looking for.
Travel to Central America is a little different than domestic travel. We already have passports, etc. but it had been quite a few years since we had our vaccinations updated. In addition to the normal stuff (MMR, flu, TDAP, polio) CDC recommends Hepatitis A, B, and typhoid vaccinations along with malaria prophylaxis when traveling to Guatemala. We take Cipro and epipens with us to use as needed. Neither of us has ever had a dangerous reaction to a sting or bite, but that’s no guarantee that you won’t the next time – epipens are cheap insurance against your throat closing up on you because you got stung on your tongue, etc! (That actually happened to my Grandmother once).
For staying in touch while we are gone, we expect to have decent wifi available in San Pedro, and I have a DeLorme inReach Explorer with paid up global SAR/MEDIVAC insurance. MEDIVAC is a good thing to have – for about $220/year you get guaranteed medical evacuation / repatriation to a hospital of your choice. If something bad happens to me and I need medical care in the US, this makes that happen.