Sailing & Surfing With A Guatemalan Olympian

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!


Andrea Aldana, Guatemala’s first female Olympian sailor

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.


Our campsite at the Guatemalan Federacion of Sailing (Asociación Nacional de Navegación Vela de Guatemala –

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,


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.


Andrea and Emiliano raising the sails before we head out on the lake


Andrea explaining the basics of sailing


Jenny practicing her new skills


Andrea showed us how to look for better wind by checking the colour of the water.


It’s requires some delicate precision to make the most efficient use of the wind.


We could definitely get used to sailing. Like cycling, it’s an energy efficient way to get around!


Captain Jenny learning to ‘tack’ on the upwind


Andrea’s aunt and family sailing nearby


After getting drenched on the boat, we warmed up at the natural bubbling hot springs.


After we left the springs, Andrea took control and showed us how fast our little boat could go.

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.


Chilaxing at Paredon Surf House, near San Jose, Guatemala

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.


Jenny got up on the longboard with a little help from Andrea (head bobbing on the left). It was hilarious hearing Jenny yell ‘cuidado‘ at the American girl on the right!


Just a few waves later, Jenny was ready for the barrel!


… and finishing her surf session with a big permanent grin


Andrea gives her little sister Ana some help on the longboard …


… all the way to the volcanic black sand on the shore.


Seven year old Ana gets up for her first time, with a little help from Andrea.


Andrea gazing out on one of her favourite surf beaches

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!


A final photo at Lago Amatitlan with Andrea and family as we said goodbye. From the left – Jose, Jackie, Ana, Lars, Jenny & Andrea

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: