Flores Dog Race

We came across this unusual event in Flores, Guatemala up in El Petén where we were staying to explore the Mayan ruins in the area. The jungle is very dense around these parts, but in the middle of this department is a large, warm lake – Lago Petén Itzá. An incredible little island town called Flores sits on this lake, joined to the mainland by the causeway you see above. Colourful, Mediterranean-style buildings cascade towards the waterfront and it only takes about 20 minutes to walk across the width of the island. It’s a major staging point for Mayan exploration, with the ruins of Tikal, Uxactún, Yaxhá and many more all close by.

Interestingly, this city was home to the last holdout of an independent Mayan state against the Spanish conquerors. While many other Mayan states fell soon after the arrival of Cortés in 1541, this small island of the Itzá remained independent for another 150 years, until 1697. Amazing. The ruins of the Tayasal site are just across the water; a pyramid overgrown with a massive tree on the top. Quite the lookout. I’ll have more shots from El Petén in upcoming posts.

Back to the scene in these photos. We were returning from an attempt at Yaxhá when our tuk-tuk was stopped by a road race. Not just any kind of race. It was a human/dog combo race! We managed to catch the tail end (haha) and cheered a few dozen owners and dogs. Some dogs seemed to be enjoying themselves, others clearly were not into running. There was even a dog that had passed out, receiving water and resuscitation which was rather sad. We saw a small dog being pulled along by a big owner, we saw a small owner being pulled along by their big dog. It was hilarious. I only wish we had been there from the start for more pictures!

Flores, Guatemala, 2011.

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