"Pueblo of Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchu" Uspantán by atufft

Uspantán Travel Guide: 3 reviews and 18 photos

Take the Bus from Coban...

The bus failed to depart from Coban on the day we wanted to leave, so we had to hang around another day. We had spent the whole day waiting with some Mayan farmers who lived in Uspantan. The next day the bus was so crowded that the driver's assistant had to climb on the roof with the baggage. We were the only tourists on the bus, and I gave my seat to a mother and child, choosing to stand and peer out the windows. The old school bus climbed slowly into the mountains along a gravel road that manuevered many hairpin turns. On a couple of these turns a creek drained over the road, so the driver was especially cautious lest the entire bus and all its weight would collapse with an avalanache. The mountain views of high altitude agriculture was unlike anything I've ever seen.

The pueblo itself is walkable within a few minutes

We could have scoured around for a place to stay, but my wife was worried about her altitude sickness, so we planned to push onward. I got off the bus and walked around the central plaza and neighborhoods of the tiny pueblo. The distinctive Mayan dress prevailed here in a big way. We had been advised to exercise caution in these mountains, as robbery of tourists has happened. But, I saw no reason to believe we were risking our lives, even on this old rusty bus. When, Belinda left her purse on the bus, my nephew chased it down urgently. The driver showed equal concern in tracking it down for her.

Spanish is a second language here...

Belinda, a native speaker of Spanish, claimed that the Spanish utterances of some women whom she talked with was pretty weak and had strong non-Spanish accents. Mostly we heard Mayan dialects in this town, and so I can imagine that Rigoberta Menchu's claim that she begain learning Spanish at age 18 could very well be true for many young Guatemalan's in this part of the country.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:This is the authentic Mayan Highland
  • Cons:Altitude sickness on a a bumpy bus ride is not fun
  • In a nutshell:The hometown of Rigoberta Menchu is a learning experience
  • Last visit to Uspantán: Dec 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (3)

Comments (3)

  • metteks's Profile Photo
    Nov 14, 2007 at 12:15 PM

    Nice tips and nice to read abourt your experiences.

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Jun 28, 2007 at 12:51 PM

    Sometimes is nice to take the moment to observe the colourful world around you :) And, yes, Rigoberta Menchu... I red a book about her miserable life.

  • calcaf38's Profile Photo
    Jul 9, 2006 at 12:57 PM

    Thank you for visiting my Peru & Laos pages. I keep reading your GT pages, and I hope I will get to go. If I do, I will follow in your steps. Your photos and comments are great.


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