Posted by: socalsalty | December 19, 2011

10 Facts I Learned About Guatemala

Deckmate Victor on the Que Vela

I just got back Sunday from a fantastic week’s visit to Guatemala.  Many thanks to all our sponsors…especially our Grand Prize sponsors, Capt. Tom Boice of Panamax Sailfishing, Guy Harvey Sportwear from AFTCO, and Costa Sunglasses.  Thanks to all of you who participated in the contest…especially all our friends who helped get the word out on social media.  Thanks Mat Trevors for coming down from New Brunswick in the Eastern end of Canada to provide the signature moment of the whole trip (I got his whole thrilling adventure captured on high def video!).  Thanks to Jon of iFished & his lovely family Miyoko and Jay; their friends in Panajachel and all the friendly people of Guatemala who were so nice to us on this trip…especially Victor, the hawk-eyed deckmate on the Que Vela.  Proximo ano?

Just wanted to jot down some quick thoughts about this beautiful country in Central America.  I’m working on some meaty trip reports and video that I can’t wait to share.  Tight lines!

10 Facts About Guatemala

10. The Guatemalan unit of currency is the quetzal.  Quetzal or Q refers to the ancient Mayan use of the rare quetzal birds’ tailfeathers for trading purposes.

9. The marimba is the national instrument of Guatemala.  It is like a wooden xylophone.  This is Anthony, the son of our local fishing companion, “Fish Allen”, on the marimba.

8. Poinsettias are common garden plants in Guatemala…similar to say roses in the States.

7. Pepian is the national dish of Guatemala.  It’s signature  ingredient is the pepita or pumpkin seed.  Mat and Jon had Pollo Pepian (picture) for dinner our last night, in Antigua.  I had a chicken tamale with pepian sauce.

6. Native Mayan men wear very cool, Elvis-esque outfits as their everyday clothing.

5. The huipil (wee-peel’) is the blouse common to Mayan women’s wear.  It is made from hand-dyed yarn, from a cloth handmade on a backstrap loom.  It takes months to make them.  You can tell the hometown of it’s wearer by the signature patterns for each area.  I met this Mayan girl in Panajachel as we were scoping out Lake Atitlan.

4. Guatemalans like to celebrate Christmas with a BANG!  And it’s probably a good idea to keep Canadians away from them…eh Mat?

3. Coffee, sugarcane, and cacao are the primary agricultural exports of Guatemala.  The coffee we had at our friend (and sponsor) Mike’s place, the Crossroads Cafe, was maybe the best coffee I’ve ever had…remember I am from Seattle, so that’s saying something. This is Mike showing us the secret roasting room.

2. Guatemala is on the eastern end of the volcanic Pacific Ring of Fire.  In May of 2010, activity from Pacaya, shut down the Guatemala City airport.  Beautiful Lake Atitlan where we spent two days in the lovely city of Panajachel in the Guatemalan highlands, is ringed by 3 volcanoes, Atitlan, Toliman, and San Pedro.  This shot is of San Pedro at dusk.

1. Marina Pez Vela (pez vela = sailfish) is the sailfish capital of the world!  Highly experienced billfishing boat captains from all over the world spend time here, including our own Capt. Tom Boice of Panamax Sailfishing because it is one of the top billfishing destinations on the planet.



  1. Ohh yes.. keep chumming us with it and we´ll eat it all…. ; )

    • Ha! I didn’t know fly fishermen knew about chumming 😉 You will LOVE Mat’s video when I get done editing. Stay tuned

  2. Awesome Trip! Glad you could experience Guatemala! It is a very special place.

    • Pat ourselves on the back for making that happen. What’s next?

      • Indeed. Well…it has to be something really good to top this one. Any ideas?

      • GT’s.
        South Pacific.

      • I think you two need to get out here to the OBX for a big tuna.

  3. OBX would be a rush. I might be around there this spring. GT’s where and when?

    • Friends in Italy,popper and VJ maniacs, did Maldives, Saychelles, Komodo, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Oman, Dubay…lots of places.
      I guess some are “cuter” than ohers and some are more affordable.
      If it was up to me, I would go “solo”, no guide, no outfitter, to some way out of the way South Pacific location.

      • Emilio,
        I noticed you cooked roosterfish on your site. I thought those weren’t supposed to be good eating? Did you land from boat or shore? That fish is on my list!

      • Landed from shore.. as most of my catches are.
        For five yearsI thought it wasn’t good either, till the week before that rooster we’re talking about ; I hooked one that inhaled the tube fly and got the hook in a gill (do not ask me how !?!?!). Poor bastard bled like youhave no idea and unhappily had to kill it.
        Here’ s the thing: tastes just like tuna but you have to cook itall the way through, otherways it will be extremely tough and sinewy (?).
        Good tghing is that it will stay moist and won’t dry uo, and will flake nicely. Beautiful meat and even the belly is good eating and not fishy at all.
        Now, i am not advocating that you should go out and chase and slaughter roosterfish the same way people do with yellowtail BUT, if it happens that one fish dosn’t revive well or bleeds a little too much, I wouldn’t feel that bad for taking its life.
        A bonus: the “coomb” dries very well and makes for a nice memento…

      • That’s great. @cabosurfcaster – Wesley Brough, is a shore guide. The three of us should make a video.

      • Anytime man.. just need the coolest looking beach buggy in history! hahaha!

    • I’d love to come out and fish NC! Next year’s trip schedule is getting crowded 🙂

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