A group of backpackers were shocked to find their belongings destroyed when the hostel they were staying in caught fire, leaving them without clothes and passports to fly home.
A Portuguese national called Mafalda was traveling with friends through Central America and had taken part in a boat party in Guatemala, but decided it was “safer” to leave their belongings, including their passport, at their apartment.
The travel vlogger said it “felt like the best decision” to leave their passports in case they lost it while at sea. “There’s no way we knew” the hostel would burn down, she said in a TikTok video documenting the ordeal.
Mafalda and her friends only learned of the fire when they returned to Mandalas Hostal in San Pedro La Laguna wearing only the bikinis they had left and were forced to wade through the charred remains for any salvageable items, of which there were none.
Staff were devastated as the building was ‘severely damaged’ by fire
Photos shared by the inn show the blackened remains destroyed by the fire which, according to inn management, had spread from the adjacent property. It is not known how it started.
A GoFundMe page set up by a volunteer who had worked and stayed at the hostel revealed that the building was “heavily damaged by fire”, but thankfully everyone got out safely.
“The fire destroyed several rooms from the ground up,” revealed the volunteer worker. “Due to the lack of firefighting resources in San Pedro, by the time it was able to be controlled by the community, the top two floors were completely burned and the inn had to be closed.”
The backpack was left without a clothes passport
Mafalda has shared a series of videos on her social media detailing the scale of the situation that left her without a place to stay, a way home or the clothes on her back.
With only a bikini and a phone to their name, the group of friends were forced to “save everything new” to get through the rest of their trip. But the real trouble came from trying to travel home without a passport.
Mafalda said there is no Portuguese embassy in Guatemala, so they had to visit the Spanish embassy where they were given a “daily document” in order to leave the country. Mafalda said her travel insurance only covered personal accidents, “and since I’m fine, I won’t get anything,” she revealed.
Hostel collects funds to repair the damage
The popular inn is now trying to raise funds to help restore the building. “The team is working closely with guests who were staying at the guesthouse when the fire broke out to sort through any personal items that may have been lost in the fire,” they said.
“The crew is fighting for employees to be able to keep their jobs and get things going again.
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