Recently in Guatemala Category

Tuxtla Gutierrez to Huehuetenango, Guatemala

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P1000533We headed out of Tuxtla and hit the “Cuota” (toll road). It started climbing and it got foggy and cold quick. It climbed to over 7000 feet and was a very fast road up and over the continental divide. After we got over the top we stopped and put our jackets on over our mesh gear. The road was wet from some rain….It sprinkled on us and we had a discussion about it being rain or not. But we decided it was just the fog mist and nothing more. The streak continues! The road was nice with little or no traffic all the way to the border. At the exit of Mexico it went smoothly and we paid our “exit tax”. We both think this was a fleecing. but we paid it and left. We had heard that the entrance to Guatemala would be a challenge. We rolled up and a dude said we had to have a our bikes spayed with some insecticide. We asked how much and the dude said 11.8 quetzal’s… Dan said whaooow thats too much… Then he did the math and it was only a $1.50. Then we got our vehicle permits and passport stamps and they waved us through. Total time about 20 minutes. No biggie.  We cruised through the border town of Pacoc and the road headed up this amazing canyon. IMG_0450P1000541

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P1000552After a bit we decided to stop for a pee break. Dan went down this little gravel road and found this bridge. He rode across it and I followed. I’m sure he did it just because of my history with wood bridges. All went fine though and we had a great view of the river. Dad, you would of loved this bridge. It was about 100 feet above the river and kinda springy when we rode across it.  We returned to the highway and rode the rest of the way to Huehuetenango. Found a room for 28 bucks had dinner for 9 bucks. I had the chicken and it was ice cold. I looked it over hoping it was cooked all the way. But I was hungry so  down it went.  Then in the middle of the night we both awoke to a dude in the next room barfing his brains out. All I could think about was, god I hope he didn't have the chicken….

Today we ride south. Cheers.

 

Sorry for no entry this morning or last night - we took a short break from the computer stuff.

We have parked the bikes in the basement of a hotel in Panajachel, Guatemala and they are sleeping soundly.

This morning we got on a small boat with about a dozen people on it and cruised thru windy/choppy conditions over to Santa Cruz to check out the area around Lake Atitlan - we are staying at a great place called La Iguana Perdido - check out the website here

Anyway - the spot device is back sleeping with the motorcycles and so no updates will be seen on that stuff for the rest of today and possibly tomorrow as we may spend one more night here to do some exploring.

ok - cheers.

 

 

The hotel we ended staying at in Antigua – the “El Carmen” – turned out to be on one of the noisiest streets possible. And of course since we got there a bit late, we got the room that shared a wall with the street. The street was paved with very rough square/irregular cobblestones and when the cars drove by it sounded like a freight train rumbling by just on the otherside of the wall. We both slept with earplugs and it was still very easily heard.

After a decent breakfast we loaded up and pushed out of Antigua. We found our way out super quick having rode damn near every street yesterday. The roads heading down to the border crossing with El Salvador were generally decent – some great scenery as we decended from the highlands down to the coastal flats. We hit some pretty rough spots here and there.

We managed to get lost in a strange town – Escuintla I think it was – we came in on Hwy 14 and it roared into  a medium sized town and we were looking to connect with Hwy CA2 which would run us to the border with El Salvador. Unfortunately there were virtually zero signs anywhere and as with most towns in Central America – the main road sort of dumps you into the town and then you have to hunt and peck your way till you find the road leaving town. We rode in circles and squares up and down dirt alley’s and cobblestone streets till we decided to backtrack to the main road and then just take another unmarked main road. We probably wasted at least 1/2 hour screwing around and then went about 5 miles out of the way – and of course on our way past town on this “new main” road – we see the road exiting the town but we had no idea how or where it came out of the town. Strange stuff really.

P1000576We were getting close to the border when John abruptly says over the intercom in an urgent fashion “I’ve got a problem here” – after a few seconds he tells me that his shift lever has broken and his bike is stuck in 5th gear. We limp along for a 1/2 mile or so till I found a place to pull over in the shade and off the road. Right next to some cops who intially though what are these guys doing empting somme of thier luggage a mile from the border?? they then were delighted to watch us work on the bike, I’m sure it gave them something to talk about in a otherwise very boring day. This shift lever was a folding lever that we put on the bike specifically in case of tipping the bike over or debris hitting the lever – but it has a weak spot in it and we were concerned about it before leaving – thats exactly where it broke. We dug out the tools and the spare shift lever and were back on the road in about 20 minutes. This picture isn’t the best but the thing the hand is pointing at should be connected to that black lever hanging down below the footpeg.

 

We crossed the border at La Hachadura in El Salvador. As soon as we hit the Guatemalen side we were swarmed by “fixers” or “urchins” or whatever you want to call them. These are the guys who “help” you cross the borders. All borders in 3rd world countries are intentionally designed to confuse everyone who comes in contact with them. It seems that it is literally a game that you need to play with the people where you don’t really know the rules or how much it will cost you. You just have to go to unmarked windows, thru mysterious doors, talk to officials not very interested in you, collect the right stamps, get 47 copies of everything you have with you, get the right paperwork and try like hell to avoid shelling out too much money. So, these fixer guys end up at the borders waiting for people to come through that don’t know the ropes. And of course, some of them are not the most ethical people out there – and when you connect them with some of the “not so ethical” border officals – you have a recipe for getting properly fleeced and made to wait for hours, days, weeks – whatever.

P1000578At this border – while the herd of fixers were yelling at John and then attacking me – I singled out a guy that I talked to a little bit – Raul. He ended up helping us mostly just with instructions on which unmarked windows/doors to go thru – find a copier, etc. Exiting Guatemala was fairly quick and cheap – I think it cost us about $3 US each to leave. Entering El Salvador was also pretty cheap – something like $12 total for each person/bike. Raul did a great job for us and we ended up giving him $20– which is a ton of money down here but he saved us a lot of time and I am confident we didn’t get fleeced. Here is a shot of Raul. we also had him sign the bikes and he seemed pretty exited.

 

 

IMG_0554We took off into El Salvador and rode along the coastline. The road was spectacular and twisted back and forth, up and down, and had excellent views of sandy beaches, palm trees, rocky outcroppings and everything you’d expect along a nice stretch of ocean. We ended up in La Libertad for the night – and after riding into and out of town several times, scoping out  several hotels which all seemed overpriced at $50 a night we settled on one pretty close to downtown. We got to chat it up with Albert – a guy who was studying english in college and wanted to practice on us – he loved the bikes and was really happy to see some gringos in his country.

Not a drop of rain today – so the streak is alive!
Cheers!