Well, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. With that in mind, I took a couple of weekends off with my fellow students to take in some of the sights of Guatemala and grab the chance to recharge. Playa de Monterrico is on the Pacific coast. It was pleasantly hot, the black volcanic sandy beaches were almost deserted and stretched out as far as the eye could see. While the sea and it's undercurrent were a little dangerous, it was worth it for the waves some of the biggest and most exhilarating I have ever seen. Just hanging out, drinking and eating tender coconut was what just what the doctor ordered.
The majestic leatherback turtle lays its eggs on this beach and the locals are keen on capitalising on this. For 10 pence, you can buy a turtle to race it down the beach. Sadly, this is what passes as "eco tourism" in this part of the world. I found a bucket full of floundering newly hatched turtles at the hotel. The staff just couldn't understand what the fuss was about as the turtles were for the tourists! I protested but to no avail. Not only is this so cruel, the turtles were kept in the bucket for at least 24 hours. This practise guarantees their death once released. A new born turtle is equipped with a yolk sack under it's shell. This is it's fuel source to break through the shell, dig itself out of the sand, make it's way down the beach, into the crashing waves and beyond. Should you see practises that seem to be outside the range of normal animal behaviour please don't be part of it.