Panama Canal Cruise – Day Six

Mrs. M and I did loops around the upper decks this morning, rather than doing the cabin halls, because the sun is coming up earlier and we didn’t want to miss it … still just as long of a walk and at the end of the day I had done 19,721 steps or 13 km!

Today was our day in Guatemala. We arrived in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala around 9:00 a.m. and watched our arrival from our balcony and then up on the Lido deck. We then grabbed a quick breakfast in the buffet and the eight of us headed down to the theatre to meet up with our group for the “Top 10 Best of Antigua with Lunch” tour.

It was a quick walk through the cruise ship port shops to our tour bus and then we headed off on a very busy day.

Cruise ship port.

We were headed to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Antigua to explore the top ten best attractions in the area. We started off on a main four lane divided highway with beautiful views and lots of semi’s heading toward to the port.

We heard so much history on this tour and I forgot a lot of it, like the story behind this face on the mountain.

Our first stop was at Azotea Estate Coffee Plantation were we learned about the history of coffee in Guatemala and were able to do some tastings in the gift shop.

I had no idea coffee beans where so colourful, this basket looked like it was full of jelly beans 🙂

Lots of coffee beans spread out everywhere to dry in the sun.

After the coffee factory we switch to smaller vans because the big bus we arrived in was too big to drive around the narrow streets of Antigua. I was amazed that the bus driver was able to negotiate the streets on the way to the coffee factory with a full size bus!   As we drove around Antigua our tour guide regaled us with the history of the area filled with plazas and chapels that were miraculously spared during an 18th century earthquake.

More than once I tuned out on the history and just enjoyed taking in the sites of the city.

Hospital

The Church of La Merced

Before we stopped for lunch we toured a jade factory founded in 1974 by archaeologist Mary Lou Ridinger and her husband. Mary Lou gave us a short talk about her history and how she discovered Jade in Guatemala and then we were turned loose to wander around and watch the crafters cutting jade.

Our tour ended in the gift shop where I could have spent A LOT of money, but I contained myself 🙂 I found a necklace that I really loved made from lavender jade which is the newest and rarest color of jade and thus a lot of money. I was amazed at how many different colours there are of jade, much more than the traditional green that comes to mind when I think of jade. The gift shop is also home to a very large jade rock that Mary Lou refers to as her retirement fund, it is currently valued at two million … I did try to lift it and couldn’t, but I also quickly found out that there is a lot of security in the gift shop 😀

I’m going to end today’s blog here as it’s already long and I still have so much more to share about our day. Hopefully you will all come by tomorrow to hear about the rest of our time in Antigua, Guatemala.

I will leave you with today’s towel animal.

Until next time …

1 thought on “Panama Canal Cruise – Day Six

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