As I’ve posted about before, it seems like everything grows well here in the temperate climate of highland Guatemala. Lake Atitlan sits at an elevation of approximately 5000 feet above sea level. Avocados, one of my favorite things in this world, grow extremely well. I often joke with my family that I love avocados so much that I could even put them on my corn flakes in the morning. I have yet to try it however.
This photo is of beautiful avocados dangling from a very old tree, just steps away from the rooms at this very nice hotel in Panajachel.
One of the fascinating things about trail running on vacation in Guatemala, is you get to run through agricultural areas along the way. In this area of highland Guatemala, the temperatures are mild year round. This makes it easy to grow lots of fruits and vegetables. One vegetable, as seen in the above photo, is onions. Running by one afternoon we saw this man watering the onions. He’s standing in a small canal with running water and using a large bowl to splash water on the raised beds. I will say running through the onions can be quite fragrant, but not enough to make you cry!
On a recent adventure run, we ran by the town of San Andres Semetabaj. On the flat roof of a partially completed concrete block house, two men were carefully emptying out sacks of recently harvested corn. They spread the corn on the cob without the husk, evenly over the entire roof of the house.
They dry the corn out really well, remove it from the cob, and store it in large sacks. The sack is called a costal in Spanish. then, over the next few months, this corn will be cooked, mashed, and made into tortillas.
One of the neat things about trail running in Guatemala, besides the amazing trails and views, is you also get to run through picturesque villages along the way. Recently, while running above Lake Atitlan, we ran through a village called Panyebar. We stopped at a tiny roadside store to buy some water. Right on the sidewalk the store owners had their corn out to dry.
Corn grows everywhere in Guatemala and corn tortillas are eaten with every meal. After the corn is dried, it is stored in large sacks. Everyday a typical Guatemalan family will mix new dried corn with water and a couple other ingredients and cook it. It is then taken to a mill and ground into dough. The dough is made into handmade tortillas, which are delicious. Many women sell tortillas out of their homes to make extra income. This is where we get our tortillas. The going rate for fresh handmade tortillas is 4 tortillas for about 12 American cents!
Come on a trail running tour and try some corn tortillas for yourself.