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Sunset at El Peredon

Surf’s Up at the End of the Road

Written by Carly Sandin, 2014 Guatemala Fair Trade.
Read Carly’s personal blog at www.carlysadventures.wordpress.com.

After our time apart, we all met back in Antigua to take a private shuttle to our final destination, El Paredon, on the Pacific coast. It was hot and humid but the gorgeous black sand beach and rolling waves definitely made up for any discomfort. This was also the first time we slept under mosquito nets and I’m glad I was finally able to do that! Although yes, there were too many mosquitoes. One mosquito is too many.

Volcanic sand at El Paredon
We reached El Paredon in the evening so we just relaxed and enjoyed the ocean. We put up a good fight against the waves but they were mighty on this coast. After dinner we had a short chat about what we did during our Independent Travel Time and played two truths and a lie. All in all, I’d say we knew each other really well and were able to figure out the lies, but it was a great way to learn more about each other before the end and we even discovered we had a nationally ranked snowboarder in our midst!

The next (and final) day began with surf lessons. I have to say, as a newbie, it was such a blast! With three separate sections, the 12 of us each had a personal Guatemalan surf guide. We learned several approaches to standing up on the board. I went with the safe but semi-intermediate two-step approach and successfully stood for several seconds nearly every time before falling off my board. After lessons were complete, we enjoyed a delicious fresh fish or shrimp dish for lunch.

Disorientation surf camp
We took advantage of our beautiful location and met on the beach to have our final discussions. We went through the entire itinerary of our trip and by the end, I realized just how much we had done in our 6 weeks. We then talked about our favorite parts and the not so easy parts. I think it’s important to remember that a trip like this isn’t going to be full of rainbows and butterflies; we learned about a culture that is vastly different from ours, observed and explored poverty first hand, and contributed to communities through volunteer work. You’re not supposed to love that stuff, but you can appreciate how it makes you feel and the lessons it gives you.

After our talk we walked down the beach and enjoyed dinner at an outside restaurant. It was the 4th of July and since I’m from the United States, I had a hamburger and fries to celebrate. Our final group activity was roasting marshmallows and having s’mores around a beach bonfire. Our group is also amazingly talented so a guitar was passed around and we sang to some sweet tunes.

The following morning we took a shuttle to the airport and not a single goodbye was easy. I’d just like to give a small shout-out to my 13 new friends and let you know that you all touched my heart and this trip has been beautiful. There is no way I could possibly forget this adventure or the people even if I travel for the rest of my life. Thank you OG and thank you Lindsey, Matthew, Ben, Chantal, Colin, Elaine, Emma A, Emma C, Jessica, Kendall, Kerry, Rachel, Stephanie, and Travis. Don’t forget to turn around.

2014 Guatemala Fair Trade's dream team

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