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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

The Natives Are Getting Restless

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Our 9:30 AM shuttle was delayed due to a parade of school kids and their band. The entire street of Santander in Panajachel, Guatemala was blocked to traffic.

Climbing up from Lake Atitlan - Beautiful countryside of Guatemala

Once the parade passed, our shuttle pulled up and we were on our way to Antigua, Guatemala for one night before flying out the next morning to Oaxaca, Mexico.

Our shuttle driver

Making our way through the streets of Panajachel, we picked up a couple more passengers. Then, the driver received a phone call.

The Main highway, the Pan-American Highway, was blocked by demonstrators and was impassable, not to mention possibly a dangerous place to be.

No matter what country we are in, we avoid any style of political demonstrations, as they can quickly get out of hand.

Lake Atitlan, and the town of Panajachel from higher in the mountains

 

These public displays of dissatisfaction with the status quo are not that unusual in Latin America. The locals take to the streets demanding more pay, more services or more respect from the government and the common folk hold large demonstrations to be heard.

They block traffic, sometimes take over an airport, set up camps in the city disrupting everyday businesses and spray government buildings with grafitti.

 

Sometimes there is trouble, even in Paradise

Plan B was put in place. Our driver knew what mile marker on the highway was blockaded so the intention was to drive through the beautiful mountains of Guatemala, the back roads, in order to get on the other side of the problem.

 

Market Day in Godinez

First we found ourselves stuck in market day traffic of Godinez, a town 20 minutes away. It is common for the vendors to line both sides of the street making for a slow and narrow passage.

 

Winding back roads

On the other side of Godinez, winding mountainous, potholed filled roads and dirt paths took us through lush terrain of agricultural farms and beautiful scenery however, at what seemed like a snailís pace.

 

More Guatemalan back roads

Slowly making our way through the mountains we are wondering if we will ever get to Antigua. This is definitely not the Pan American Highway.

Gorgeous country scenery with volcanoes in the background

 

Finally, on the paved road - smooth sailing for a while

 

A milpa next to a church on our way to Antigua

All throughout Mexico and Central America you will see a crop-growing system called "milpa." The word itself is derived from the Nahuatl word phrase mil-pa, which translates into "maize field."

This agricultural system produces maize (corn), beans, and squash, along with other crops suitable to the local geography and weather conditions.

Milpas are considered to be one of the most successful human food production "inventions" ever developed. They maintain soil fertility while providing a variety of healthy foods and limiting environmental impact.

High in the Mountains - Agricultural fields

Look at all the colors of green! Peaceful, fertile farms.

Endless cultivated crop fields

 

Traffic jam!

Then just as we were getting within a mile of reaching the main highway, an intersection in another town was a total mess.

 Motorcycles were everywhere, and large trucks which were stuck and not able to make the necessary turn, needed assistance backing up and inching their way forward. All of this was happening while horns were honking and nothing was moving. Everyone, including the policeman, was trying to direct this total mess. They stayed calm while we eventually pushed our way through whatever opening in traffic there was. 

Eventually, we made our way to Antigua. Usually this trip from Panajachel to Antigua takes 2.5 hours, but today it took us an hour longer. This time we had a tour through the countryside all included for 80 Quetzales (just over $10USD) each.

For more stories and photos of Guatemala, click here 

For more information on Antigua, click here

For more information on Lake Atitlan, click here

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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