Archive for May, 2011

Want to Play Chicken?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Chicken Buses by Luna McCarthy

No, you aren’t imagining anything, the title is a bit of a pun! Anyone who has been to and traveled within Guatemala is familiar with “chicken buses” and the sometimes hairy rides that can be had going from town to town. The most common type of travel between pueblos or to and from La Capital, chicken buses always provide the ride of your life, whether due to the amount of people and/or small livestock that rides alongside of you or because of the “efficiency” of the buses. These old school buses are bought in the United States and brought here to be given a makeover and new life here in Guatemala. It’s not uncommon for there to be three people sitting across each child-sized seat, as these buses get quite filled up, depending on your destination. If you’re fortunate, it’s only people sitting in your row and not chickens!

Say “Queso”

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Family Photo by Luna McCarthy

Tourists come to Xela from all over the world, this we know. But there are many tourists that come from other parts of Guatemala, especially during holiday times like Christmas or Semana Santa. It is not uncommon to see groups of Guatemalan tourists handing off the camera as they all take pictures of each other and of the family as a whole. The two younger members of this family (on the left) were hamming it up the entire time the photos were being taken…only they know if they got a nice family portrait or not!

In Action

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

In Action by Luna McCarthy

Bicycles are the one of the most common ways to get around in Xela. The cobblestone streets in the centro historico make riding difficult and you will find the cars, microbuses and the bicycles all vying for the larger, more even stones in the road.

Close Up

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Cathedral Detail by Luna McCarthy

Many tourists from near and far take pictures of the Cathedral en Parque Central. There are so many beautiful details on this building that it is difficult to know where to look or what picture to take. This detailing can be found on the front of the church at the top, above the doors.

The Cowboy

Friday, May 27th, 2011

The Cowboy by Luna McCarthy

There is a solitude that one can have, even when one is surrounded by people. This fellow was sitting in a popular Xela restaurant surrounded by scurrying people, just taking a quiet moment to gather his thoughts.

Goodbye, Xela.

Thursday, May 26th, 2011


As you are reading this I am getting on a plane heading back the U.S. I thought it would be fitting to say goodbye with an image from Democracia Market the place I loved so much here in Xela. I hope you all keep checking out my work on my blog Keep checking out Luna’s work on here she is doing a great job!

Thank you all for looking at XelaDaily.

One Scoop or Two?

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Ice Cream by Luna McCarthy

For anyone who has visited or lived in Xela, Sarita is the place to be when it comes to ice cream. Yes, there might be better ice creams in other places in the world, but Sarita is a local favorite and has a terrific choice of all flavors and various sundaes.

Rooftop Delights

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Rooftop by Luna McCarthy

As mentioned before, there are many houses, apartments and schools that have wonderful rooftop patios or terraces. Some people have rooftop gardens or charming sitting areas. Whatever you choose to do with your rooftop terrace, the view is sure to be lovely!

Getting Inked

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Getting a Tattoo by Luna McCarthy

Getting or having tattoos in Guatemala is still a taboo that is associated with being a gang member, even if you hail from another country. Slowly, this culture is changing, perhaps in part because of the influx of tourists that bring their inked bodies from other parts of the world, many of them women. Now many young people here are choosing to have a tattoo solely as a method of artistic expression. Here a young man is having a tattoo done by talented, local tattoo artist Javier.

Bird’s Eye View

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Xela Overview by Luna McCarthy

So many photos are taken from the top of Baul and many of them are amazing and highlight different areas of Xela, the mountains, an overview of the city or the commercial areas. This close up shows a portion of Zona Una, of course showcasing Cadore/La Dispensa, the rear of the Cathedral, Pasaje Enriquez and the municipal building.

Shine the Light

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Smiling Girls by Luna McCarthy

Sometimes boggling to the mind given the standard living conditions, Guatemalans are a very happy people. If you have Guatemalan friends, even those you know are having a difficult time, and you ask them how they are, they will almost always reply, “Bien, bien!!” Not just one ‘bien’, but two!! They genuinely seem to be more concerned with how you are doing. For example, these 3 little girls come from extremely poor, volatile and at-risk families and the joy and love and purity still shines from their faces.

Stop and See the Sunset

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Xela Sunset by Luna McCarthy

One of the most wonderful things about Xela, is that there is a lot of opportunity to live in a house or apartment that has either a roof or a terrace. The other thing that I am often grateful for, is that if you stop and look, Xela exhibits some of the most spectacular skies in the world. Yes often, the mountain fog rolling away obscures the morning sky. But in the afternoon and early evening, especially when the sun sets, the shapes of the clouds and the colors in the sky are unmatched.

Stroll Through the Past

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Mercado Central by Luna McCarthy

As one walks along many of the sidewalks in Xela, there is a feeling of nostalgia. Admiring an ornate building built 100 years ago or the cobblestone roads in Zone 1, one is transported to an older time. Then again, some of the buildings harken back to a day not so long ago. Many of the commercial buildings in Xela, as with the above, echo the styles of American or Canadian buildings from the 60’s and 70’s and for the older traveler, may remind them of the buildings of their childhoods.

Nestled in the Mountains

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Panoramic vista of Zunil village by Luna McCarthy

Nestled in the mountains, about a 20 minute bus ride from Xela, lies the pueblo of Zunil. Known by the gringos as the nearest town to Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs, this picturesque little town also is filled with markets and churches. An enjoyable day (or half day) trip, one can visit the market on Mondays or stop in to see the (in)famous saint San Simon, also known as Maximon. Legend has it that if you bring the lifesized form of San Simon gifts of cigarettes, Quetzalteca or money, he will bless your crops, marriages and relationships.

Carlito’s Way

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Carlito’s Way by Luna McCarthy

Carlito’s Way by Luna McCarthyNew business Artesano, located in the old Infinito lounge building, is cooking up something wonderful. Owner Carlos bakes fresh baguettes, breads and muffins everyday. His varieties of pan include basil, oregano and garlic. Also available are chocolate and banana or carrot muffins. He also carries hearty soups and sandwiches for when the hunger hits. Word on the street is that anyone who has tried his baked goods loses all desire to buy their pan anywhere else!