Guatemalan Switchbacks

San Pedro, Guatemala (map)

We are not sure if it’s true, but we believe there is no term in the Mayan language for the term switchback.

From Antigua we headed to the small city of San Pedro on Lake Atitlan to enjoy the views, hiking, and take in some Spanish immersion lessons.  After a few classes I learned my ADD has even less tolerance than before and found I more was paying my Spanish teacher to be my friend and teach me about the culture and history of the region; which I greatly enjoyed and appreciated his lenience.

After just a couple of classes we made our plans to tackle the big hike straight up the San Pedro Volcano and move on to our next destination!

The view of the San Pedro Volcano as we headed across the lake from Panajachel

Tourist Catchers await as we arrived into port
We originally planned to hike alone but after we learned a guide was only $6 we jumped on it
We left town at 5am in the morning which meant we had to walk to the trailhead

45 minutes later we made it to the trailhead

Pretty much what the trail looked like for the whole way STRAIGHT up
View overlooking San Pedro

Giving our legs a break for some play time

After almost 3 hours of hiking enjoying the summit

Big thanks to our very photogenic guide
Can you guess how we got back from the trailhead to the city?
Taking an electric hot water shower before we leave town (no hot water heaters required)

We saved 75% taking the Chicken Bus back to Guatemala City
Seating is first come first served
Standing room only, 3 to every seat, with your own carry on luggage

About Dustin Orrick

Techie, TreeHugger, Outdoor Adventurist, Motorhead, and can now say World Traveler!

15 thoughts on “Guatemalan Switchbacks

    1. Agreed, thanks Peter for saying Hi and I am still enjoying reading your tech and thoughts from your continued travels. I am going to write a post on it later, but if you don’t already know of Talkatone check it out for your smartphone to make calls back to the US while traveling for free over wifi

  1. I love your sense of humor! I thought for sure someone on that ‘convertable’ truck ride would lose their lunch! The pictures and video are excellent. Thanks for sharing! Hey Em, how’s the spanish holding up? Miss you already,

    1. EmSue says the Spanish is improving everyday! My Spanglish on the other hand is just barely hanging in there 🙂

  2. I met a couple a couple of summers ago in Playa Del Carmen from England that followed summer for and entire year. One these days I’m going to dump my job and just go…….You guys are living the dream, I’m jealous.

    1. Thanks Kevin, we are enjoying our time but it’s not all roses. We plan to make a blog post or page soon that describes the lessons we have learned on the road.

      1. Hey guys. Very interesting dialogue, but as promised, I’m sending you an update on the travel advisory’s around U.T.
        The International Office has forwarded a note from the U.S. State Department:

        An updated Worldwide Caution for U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad has been issued by the U.S. Department of State. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated January 24, 2012, to provide updated information on security threats and terrorist activities worldwide. UT students who are currently abroad are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Students should also keep in regular contact with family and friends. If you are currently abroad and in need of immediate assistance please call UTPD at 512-471-4441 or contact International SOS anytime 24/7 at 215-952-8226.

        For more information, please visit this URL: (

    1. Hey Ari,

      We miss you too especially as soon as your new brother or sister arrives, which is it? 🙂

      – Dustin & Emily Sue

  3. Thanks again for the photos atop San Pedro volcano…good luck on your RTW trip.

    FYI…Mayan for “switchback” is “gringo”…or so I’ve heard

    1. Hey Blair thanks for popping in and saying hi, glad to see you made it home safely without the 72 year old guide running you into the ground 🙂

    1. Thanks Julia for saying hi as we enjoyed checking your blog out! We loved Guatemala, though we heard a couple days ago that Volcano Fuego erupted; what a site that must have been to see!

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