Saturday Feb 24: San Cristobal des las Cases to Quetzaltenango (Xela)

Today was my first land border crossing. I had to be up for the 6:30am pick up and was squashed into the minivan that was heading to the Mexican side of the boarder. Of course again there were a bunch of people on the bus who I had met before! We stopped after only an hour to get some breakfast- which was a delicious but overpriced buffet – I ate pancakes! Next, we arrived at the border town – Ciudad Cuautemoc, still a little way from the border but where we needed to get our passports stamped and negotiate the payment of the exit fee (which we had already paid in our plane ticket but which the Immigration officials pressure you to repay upon exit). Luckily for me, after some intense negotiation by our bus driver, a number of us on the bus were able to get out of paying the 500 pesos, although the official clearly wasn’t very happy about it! Comparatively, the transition at the Guatemalan border was extremely smooth and we were soon transferred onto another bus with a lovely driver for the journey to Xela where I would be spending the night before heading out to Escuela de la Montana. After yet another long day of journeying, I arrived in Xela. The hostel was behind a huge gate and didn’t look very promising.  Inside however it was a little sanctuary of calm and the rooftop bar had amazing views out over the surrounding volcanoes and city, and sold $2 Gin and Tonics on Saturday nights – which didn’t taste too bad!