Sometimes we get lucky! Whilst cycling around Lago Amatitlán looking in vain for a hotel or a place to camp, a friendly, young Guatemalan chica pulled up alongside us and asked us if we needed a place to camp. Little did we know this would turn into an amazing three day adventure of sailing and surfing!
Meet 24 year old Andrea Aldana, a professional sailor (not to mention a great surfer) from Guatemala City. Andrea is the first Guatemalan female to compete in Olympic sailing! She competed at the London 2012 Olympics in Laser (dinghy) sailing and is currently training for several other competitions around the world, including the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janero, Brasil!
We followed her on our bikes back to the lakeside property of the Guatemala Sailing Federation (Asociación Nacional de Navegación Vela de Guatemala) where she introduced us to her sailing coach Emiliano and showed us where we could camp.
Sailing On Lago Amatitlán
After knowing us for only about five minutes, Andrea invited us to go sailing with her the next day on Amatitlán and surfing on the Pacific Coast the day after! We were almost speechless but just managed to say,
YES! YES! YES!
Andrea came back to meet us at the lake the next day and took us out on a Hobie Cat Wave sailboat. Andrea explained that the Hobie Cats are nice beginner boats for family sailing. She would normally be racing on the much sportier Laser Radial in competition.
Surfing The Pacific Coast Of Guatemala
The following day, Andrea and her family picked us up from the lake on their way from Guatemala City to the Pacific Coast for a day of surfing. We arrived at the relaxing Paredon Surf House, a hang out for surfers and beach goers from the City.
In addition to sailing, Andrea is also an expert surfer. She gave us both some refresher tips and helped us get up on her long board.
Hanging Out With Andrea’s Family
We really enjoyed chatting with Andrea’s parents, Jose & Jackie, and her sister seven year old sister, Ana. Jackie introduced us to Guatemalan style chicharones and Jose shared inspiring stories about his Ironman triathlons and enduro mountain bike races.
After we arrived back at the lake, we said our goodbyes to the family before they drove back to the city. We couldn’t believe it. Had that just happened? What amazing generosity and friendliness from a family we had only met!
Thank you Andrea, Jose, Jackie and Ana for an amazing few days of sailing and surfing!