Written by email@example.com on 28 Jul, 2005
Monterrico is an up-and-coming destination in Guatemala. Therefore, it's easy to find transportation there through the many tourist offices in Antigua. For a private and direct minibus (or shuttle), the price should be about $10. Any less than that is a bargain, and any more,…Read More
Monterrico is an up-and-coming destination in Guatemala. Therefore, it's easy to find transportation there through the many tourist offices in Antigua. For a private and direct minibus (or shuttle), the price should be about $10. Any less than that is a bargain, and any more, go ahead and move on the next agency. A word of caution: be sure that you talk with the tour agency before you buy your ticket. Monterrico is situated on an island, and there isn't a bus service to get you off the island any earlier than you'd like. Arrange, or at least be aware of, the times the return trips from Monterrico leave. Over the weekend, when Monterrico is very popular, it should be relatively easy to find a way back to Antigua, even if you pay a driver at the last minute to take you. But, during the week, it can be difficult to leave.
In my case, I arrived on a Sunday and was told there would only be transportation leaving again on Wednesday from the island. I became sick while there and couldn't leave the island, which ended up being a real problem since I had pneumonia and sat around for 2 days with a high fever without medicine. This sickness ended up cutting my entire trip short by 2 months. By the time I got back to Antigua, I was so sick, all I wanted to do was get home and get better. Obviously, it is probably rare to fall ill immediately after arriving in Monterrico, but since it's possible to get "stuck" there, as I did, arrange a return trip with your tour office and be aware of any other methods of transport available to you.
Written by firstname.lastname@example.org on 11 Feb, 2005
I met my friend Juan Carlos on my first of three days in Monterrico. He was younger than me and worked selling fish to my hotel. We saw each other often; his house was right outside my bathroom window. After a few conversations, he invited…Read More
I met my friend Juan Carlos on my first of three days in Monterrico. He was younger than me and worked selling fish to my hotel. We saw each other often; his house was right outside my bathroom window. After a few conversations, he invited me to go looking for sea turtles with him in the evening. We agreed to meet at 8pm, after it got dark. I was nervous about my decision to go off with a strange man in the dark, but I considered how amazing finding an actual nesting sea turtle would be. Before I left, I put on a one-piece bathing suit beneath my clothes and slipped something sharp into my pocket "just in case".
The beaches of Monterrico are arguably more beautiful at night. There were thunderstorms on the horizon, the surf was higher and louder than it had been during the day, and twinkling lights from shrimp boats off the coast were the stars of the evening. Best of all, the daytime heat had cooled to a comfortable night breeze.
Juan Carlos immediately picked up on the romantic possibilities a night like this could offer. He started hinting that I might like to move to Monterrico to stay with him—but it was too bad I wasn't at all interested in living what he called the 'good life' with him. I did, however, learn a lot from Juan Carlos. We saw crabs and lightening bugs and the huge home of the man who owns Gallo beer, whom Juan Carlos told me apparently is a huge supporter of sea turtle conservation and raises them himself for release. Other people passed us silently on the beach, also looking for the elusive turtles.
We must have walked more than a mile before we gave up and headed back towards my hotel, El Mangle. It was then that Juan Carlos's trained eye spotted an irregularity in the sand that was a huge sea turtle's tracks emerging from the ocean. He used his flashlight to follow the tracks farther inland than I would have guessed, where another couple was already with the turtle herself.
He made me wait while he asked them if this gringa he picked up could sit with them and witness the turtle make her nest and lay eggs.
It turned out this local couple wasn't interested in the amazing act itself. They wanted the eggs to sell, knowing they'd become soup in the fancy restaurants of Guatemala City. Juan Carlos assured me it was the law to hand over a portion of their captured eggs to CECON's hatchery for conservation, but I had a feeling this wasn't true. I wondered if I could offer them enough money so they'd give the eggs to me, but I reasoned that a gringa walking around with a huge bag of turtle eggs would either be in danger or big trouble. Juan Carlos explained that many people in the village had to resort to this during turtle season as there weren't many ways of making money. Looking around, I understood that part of it.
The sea turtle, a huge beast and bigger than any dog I've ever owned, was bewildered at our presence. She was exhausted as she laboriously scooped sand with her flippers to cover where she thought her eggs were, even though they were already being toted away. I patted her and said I was sorry for how she had just been robbed.
Juan Carlos let her work for awhile, but he finally pushed her off her nest with his foot. She struggled to keep on covering and hiding her nest, but he knew what she didn't and helped her back into the sea. She waited patiently at the water line for a wave to come and carry her off. As soon as the water touched her, she became an entirely new creature: elegant, quick, and alive.
I expected to see an endangered creature give miraculous birth to a nest of babies that would all count in helping the effort to save their species. I had no idea I would encounter the illegal and silent abuse of a scared and helpless animal, done openly but under the cloak of night. Juan Carlos wanted to be kind, and maybe he wanted something romantic, and I wanted to see sea turtles. I think both of us were sad that the night didn't turn out the way we had expected. We walked back to my room and said goodbye.
Written by sc3traveller on 17 Jan, 2010
Hi all,I was in Monterrico in October, 2009. I booked a shuttle from Monterrico to Panajachel (Pana) at a Monja Blanca office across from Johnny's Place hotel/restaurant. I chose to book at this place because most shuttles transport you from Monterrico via Antigua where you…Read More
Hi all,I was in Monterrico in October, 2009. I booked a shuttle from Monterrico to Panajachel (Pana) at a Monja Blanca office across from Johnny's Place hotel/restaurant. I chose to book at this place because most shuttles transport you from Monterrico via Antigua where you have to stay overnight and then the following morning they take you to Pana. (A real time waster!) This company said they would take us to Pana on the same day with a stop in Antigua to drop off other passengers.This didn't happen. About half an hour outside of Antigua the driver asked us which hotel we wanted to be dropped off at. You can imagine our surprise considering we clearly stated when we bought the tickets where/when we wanted to go AND it was written on the receipt.The driver said he knew nothing about it and they didn't offer that service. He furthermore said we couldn't talk to anyone at his office about this as the office was closed. What a complete load! In the end, we didn't have a choice as the driver wouldn't take us, it was dark and when we arrived no offices were open. The driver gave us his "personal" telephone number and said he would pick us up the next day. He wanted us to go at 7:30am. This was not convenient for us, and considering the hassle already, he agreed to take us at the scheduled 12:30 shuttle instead.The next day came and we called the Antigua office at 12:00 to confirm pick up. They said no problem, they would be there. 12:30 - yes someone is coming. 12:45 - Oh, they haven't arrived? Let us look into it. 1:00 - We can't pick you up. There isn't a shuttle running at that time. (!!!) The office refused to take any responsibility for their actions. We said we wanted to come and speak with them directly. Monja Blanca - we didn't have an office. Us - we don't believe you. Monja Blanca - We are an Internet only company. Us - So you must have an office. Monja Blanca - It's not open to the public. Us - So you "do" have an office. Monja Blanca - No. After hanging up we found their office address online. (close to the market). We then went to the tourist police (at the back of the market) and filed a report. The police were quite helpful and called Monja Blanca's non-existant office to confirm we would definitely be picked up at their 4:00 shuttle. We were informed that if they did not pick us up at 4:00 then the report would be passed to the regular police and more serious repercussions would take place.Needless to say we were picked up at 4:00 by a driver who wasn't too happy about it. We were the only people in the shuttle which makes me believe that if the police hadn't called we wouldn't have been picked up until 7:30am the next day. Because it was the off season they were probably only running one shuttle a day. I was half inclined to go with another company, but Monja Blanca wouldn't refund our money and I didn't want to pay twice. I would STRONGLY advise people to NOT use this company.P.S. To be clear, this is the Monja Blanca shuttle bus company. This is a different service to the Monja Blanca pullman buses. Close