Though Antigua is a beautiful city, by the end of the week the busy streets and crowded buses can be exhausting. To get away from the urban tempo and channel my transcendental side, I went to Earth Lodge for the weekend with a few friends from the language school.
To get to Earth Lodge, we took a “shuttle,” which was actually just the back of a pick up truck, for a half hour up one of the nearby mountain sides.
After passing locals washing clothes and cows grazing on a steep trek down to the Earth Lodge valley, we arrived in time for happy hour. Drinks at the Lodge were based off of the honor system, a method that reflects the easy breezy attitudes of Earth Lodge employees and guests.
With the national cerveza of Guatemala, Gallo, in hand, we found our tents and wandered around. Across a volleyball field were bathrooms, or more accurately, compost wells, and towering through the woods was the Tree House that we had hoped to inhabit. Word of advice: if you want the popular tree house experience—book in advance.
Happy with our arrangements despite being landlocked, we watched the sun set over Volcán Fuego from hammocks and later enjoyed a freshly prepared organic meal.
Walking barefoot in the mountains, dirt between my toes, surrounded by insightful personalities, I considered the seemingly incurable problems facing our world. I thought of Himalayan ice caps melting in my lifetime, of incomprehensible and inconclusive wars, of broken countries and broken homes.
But amidst all of the instability, destruction and corruption, there are still people with hope and determination who are working to redirect the future; not just the quirky, informative, wandering environmentalists we met at Earth Lodge, but also proactive companies like Cultural Embrace.