The other day we organised a quick trip up to Indian Nose with Luca’s host family. Indian Nose is one of the peaks surrounding Lake Atitlan. One of the kids, Dom, acted as our guide. The day started out smoothly, we all met up and caught the last chicken bus out of town. For only 5Q we were dropped off right near the trailhead. The trail to the top is mostly stone and dirt steps. Getting to the top took about 40 minutes with a few rest breaks. The altitude (appx 2000 metres) was hitting some of us and we had to stop to catch our breath. We stopped at the first viewpoint and took some photos before heading to the very top, which was another 5 minutes walk.
Just before reaching the top we had to go through a swing door. At this viewpoint there was a shoddy little platform, some benches, and what looked like a little kiosk. We took a few photos, drank some water, then got ready to head down. Before we left though, 2 kids appeared and one was on his mobile phone. It looked like he ran full on to where we were. He didn’t look happy and said that we had to pay 30Q each because we were on private property. We were up there for less than 10 minutes so there was no way we wanted to pay and started to head down. But they beat us to the swing door and leaned up against it to block our path. One was about 9 and the other around 5 or 6 years old. They were both sporting a nasty scowl on their faces. Dom tried to negotiate with them but they wouldn’t budge and called their next in command. Another guy arrived after a few minutes and he was a little bit more amenable. Eventually Dom negotiated it down to 20Q per person and they moved out of the way. When the boss (who turned out to their older brother) turned around I saw the big shiny knife tucked in his back pocket.
After we paid them, they became much more friendly and even led us back down a shortcut down to the road. And the older brother put his knife away 🙂 We walked down the road a bit to some other viewpoints and then the police stopped us and said it was dangerous to go any further down the road so they gave us a ride up the hill to the bus stop. It was a short but enjoyable ride in the back of the pickup truck !