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Travel Hindsight- Why You Shouldn’t Always Go for the Cheapest option

Be careful where you choose to take your Spanish classes in Guatemala….

By Sh*t Happens - Lost Girl TravelPublished 4 months ago 3 min read
Street Art In San Pedro (Photo credit to Joseph Mitchley)

There was one thing I really wanted to do on our Central America trip, that was to take some Spanish classes. I mean Duolingo is all well and good up to a point but I was dying for the fun experience of real life learning. We had been advised to take classes in Guatemala because they have one of the easiest dialects to learn, with a clear accent and slow pace.

We originally wanted to do them in the colourful city of Antigua, but we were put off by the cost and drawn to the much lower cost of lessons in the small town of San Pedro on Lake Atitlan.

When we first arrived in San Pedro, my first impression was that it looked run-down and kind of sleazy. We went to the top rated restaurant on trip advisor for our first night and the food was surprisingly horrible. We though it must have been a fluke and proceeded to visit lots of different places during our stay, but sadly found most of them to be weirdly disappointing.

The Spanish lessons themselves were great. It was a fun way to spend our mornings. The outdoor, lakeside classroom was a great place for drilling verb conjugations and giggling at our incompetence. At the end of the weeklong course our teacher took us on a mini family cooking class making tiny tamales, which was pretty cute.

However, the problem was filling our afternoons and evenings. It isn’t a safe or hygienic part of the lake for swimming, and there just wasn’t a whole lot to do.

My first hindsight moment is that we probably should have hoped on a boat in the afternoons and headed out to other parts of the lake. But we didn’t do that because we already had plans to visit and stay in those places later on.

The weirdest thing of all was that you would at least think that our evenings would be covered, as San Pedro is a renowned as a party place. But, I think with this being the tail end of Covid (2022) that the party was well and truly over. Every bar we went to was dead and I mean a lifeless carcass in the dirt gathering flies kind of long dead. In many places we were the only people there.

One night we left a restaurant and saw a shifty character who upon seeing us, quickly hid in a dark alley, staring, and waiting. With it being so quiet in the streets, it left us feeling exposed and vulnerable. It just wasn’t a fun, or comfortable place to be at night.

The best thing to do in San Pedro is the Indian nose trial, a beautiful sunrise hike overlooking the lake and all its volcanos. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do that as that morning I was incredibly ill. Joe went and told me all about how I missed out on the one good thing to do here.

The view from the Indian Nose trail (photo credit to Joseph Mitchley)

After only one week we were crawling the walls to leave!

So yes, it was cheaper, but no it wasn’t worth the savings we made.

As the saying goes, the most important thing is location, location, location, and boy did we learn that the hard way.

I wished we had just spent that bit more to have done the classes in Antigua after all.

When we visited Antigua, I had the opposite feeling to San Pedro. I wish I could have more time there. I loved it so much. It’s a fun, vibrant city with tons to do, day trips to take, and lots of great bars and restaurants (and salsa classes) to spend the evenings.

Happy in Antigua (photo credit to the author)

We would have had not only a better week doing our Spanish lessons, but we would have enjoyed San Pedro more. We would have popped there for a couple of days, mainly to do the Indian Nose hike before moving on to the next lakeside town.

Sometimes being a backpacker, it’s easy to fixate on cost but in this case, I wish we’d fixated more on location and the big picture of the full experience.

Of all the forms of wisdom, hindsight is by general consent the least merciful, the most unforgiving.

John Fletcher

If you ever fancy doing Spanish lessons in Guatemala, I hope you can learn from our mistake, and not your own hindsight.

Thank you for reading! Hearts and tips are always welcome and your support is very much appreciated.

This story was originally published on Medium

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About the Creator

Sh*t Happens - Lost Girl Travel

Hi! I’m Georgie and I share travel stories of when sh*t happens. I think that sometimes the worst things that happen to you traveling, are often the funniest

Follow me on Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/sh.t_happens_lost_girl_travel/

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock4 months ago

    Good to know. Sorry you had to learn this the hard way.

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