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Old 11-23-2012, 03:58 PM   #106
RexBuck OP
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Nov 14 17 San Pedro

Now that I ssurvived the entrance to this great place, I can start to check it out.



Planned to stay 2 nights, stayed 4 and could easily have stayed more.



Ran into a whole whack of other riders here including Chris who I rode with briefly out of Zipolite, fellow inmate Ulyses and Justin who had stopped to say hi to me in Oaxaca. Along with these guys were quite an eclectic collection of bikers from the States and Canada. Had a lot of laughs with these guys.


Here is a pic of the place I stayed at cost 75 Quetzals a day that works out to about $9.50. Price is right. Some of the other guys were able to find even cheaper accommodation. Place was fine had an extra bed for me to spread out my crap on,









secure parking









and hot water. My first time with the infamous Latin American water heater









thats it, just a little heater in the shower head wired right in there. If you touch it just right you can sometimes get a little tingle . . .


Rosa and Carlos run the place with their kids. Incredibly nice and warm people.













I think I saw one or two conventional taxis in town and it seemed like thousands of Tuk Tuks. You see them everywhere, on the sidewalks, running up and down the streets . . . want to go to the next town up that Godforsaken road with switchbacks? Grab a Tuk Tuk they will take you there. You feel every single bump and crack in the road cause I swear they have no suspension. So, take a long ride, and you may never walk right again. Pick something up at the store? No problem if it can fit in or on a Tuk Tuk, they will take it. Heres an example.







Cram 4 or 5 passengers in and watch them labor up the hills in their low low gear. They are kind of like mosquitoes buzzing around, always there and always buzzing.


Many of the retail businesses are on these paved paths, just wide enough for a Tuk Tuk or motorcycle.














Since I was staying a couple more days, I decided to take a bit of Spanish. Found Casa Rosario Spanish School off the beaten path well you had to go down this path after leaving the little Tuc Tuc paths to get there.















My teacher was Moxi, who like virtually all the other Guatemalans in this town, is a Mayan whose first language is Mayan, her second Spanish and unlike others is learning English. Great lady and I did learn a bit more from her - only had 4 hours. If you are coming to Guatemala to learn Spanish, its tough to beat San Pedro.









Here are some random pics of people around town and at the market. Tuk Tuks, motorcycles and people all compete for the same space on the streets








One of the many Chicken Busses










Lady selling dinner







Ladies at the market









Most ladies seem to carry things on their heads









While the men carry them on their back, either with shoulder straps or a big strap around the top of their heads






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Old 11-23-2012, 08:34 PM   #107
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Wow, Great Report!!! That would be me--down there flying blind.... You're having a great ride, even with a few wrong turns. May as well go with it as it seems that it all works out in the end anyway.

I'll be hanging with this one till the end for sure. I'm liking your style.
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:21 AM   #108
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Wow, Great Report!!! That would be me--down there flying blind.... You're having a great ride, even with a few wrong turns. May as well go with it as it seems that it all works out in the end anyway.

I'll be hanging with this one till the end for sure. I'm liking your style.
Thanks for that Larry and for following along. It seems if I'm not making a wrong turn, I'm forgetting something so I've had to learn to roll with it and it seems to work out in the end.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:39 PM   #109
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Nov 18 Antigua

After the ride down that hill into San Pedro in the dark a few days ago, I had all sorts of images in my mind about getting out of there. It’s amazing what a difference a bit of daylight makes . . . the huge fields of massive potholes were not that big and a breeze to navigate through when you can see. The corners that seemed to drop off to nothing were just switchback corners, no big deal. Lesson learned? Um, yah sure . . .

Stopped at this little place where the San Pedro road joins the highway for some breakfast. Had eggs and carnitas (chunks of pork) . . . really good









See Lake Atitlan in the distance below the volcano



Small farms along the way are well organized, seem relatively prosperous and were really pretty









The roads in Guatemala are either incredible or crap. These 4 lane concrete twisted highways are a blast – the most fun a person can have on a 4 lane road. I stopped and tried to get a little video of chicken buses on the highway. (Ok, so I wasn’t going to do any more video, but this is a little one) The truck is being careful of his load, the bus has something chasing him . . . in his mind.






It’s hilarious to see two of these guys bent over as one passes the other on one of these corners – well, it’s hilarious except when it’s a two lane road and they are passing/racing and some big ol Gringo motorcycle is doing his best to create a little 6 inch lane for himself going the other way. You get the picture. Always seems to work out though . . .


Arrive in Antigua – not the smoothest cobble stone streets. Cars, Tuk Tuks and scooters all over the place. Looked for a few hotels, finally found Casa Rustica – about a block from the Zocolo. Great place – chose a smaller room on the ground floor, well organized so lots of room to spread out my crap, good WiFi in the room, secure parking – had me park in the lobby and good coffee and beer available at the front desk. Perfect! Nice setting. Was an old house converted to a hotel. Looking across the back gardens to my room.






Bike in front of the beer cooler






Went for a walk down to the Zocolo about a block away – the main street was a frickin sea of humanity – virtually all tourists. A lot of Guatemalans from Guatemala City, less than an hour away and the rest Gringos and Europeans. It was Sunday so I suspect that added to the crowds.






Some local ladies watching a Mime






Lots of nice restaraunts and clothing and artsy stores, if you are in to that sort of thing.


Went to a restaurant serving Guatemalan fare and had Pepin (Chicken in a bunch of spices cooked in a banana leaf) it was pretty good.




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RexBuck screwed with this post 11-26-2012 at 05:55 PM Reason: Forgot a pic
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:56 PM   #110
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IN!!!! From a great laker
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:04 PM   #111
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Looking like a great ride so far Rexbuck. The boat trip in the canyon must have been fantastic. What did you end up paying? Stay safe and I hope its warming up.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:11 AM   #112
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Looking like a great ride so far Rexbuck. The boat trip in the canyon must have been fantastic. What did you end up paying? Stay safe and I hope its warming up.
Jick
Hey Jick - Wound up paying 150 pesos . . . a lot better than 2000

Thanks for the well wishes and yes, it is comfortably warm and, nice and humid.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:23 AM   #113
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IN!!!! From a great laker
Welcome aboard Kevy and thanks for following along
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:30 AM   #114
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Nov 19 More Antigua

Came back to the hotel and there is a bright yellow Ducati parked behind my bike. An extra person sitting behind the desk turns out he is the owner - of the bike and the hotel. In fact Daryl and his Guatemalan wife own 8 hotels in Antigua which coincidentally is the same number of motorcycles he owns, here and his other home in Tennessee. Nice guy, likes to ride.

This Hotel was converted from an old house. His hotels range from 1 star (Hostel) to 4 star to accommodate almost everybody's taste and budget. Casa Rustica's webpage - at the bottom are links to their other properties. Based on my experience here, I would recommend any of the properties.


One of the reasons I wanted to come to Antigua was to hike up Pacaya Volcano to see flowing lava . For $10 a bus picks you up at your hotel, drives 2 hours to the Vocano which is on the other side of Guatemala City and brings you back about 6 1/2 hours later.

As we travel through Guatemala City, can see Pacaya in the distance emitting a decent steam cloud






Once the bus goes as far as it can, we then hike (wheeze) up a pretty steep road and trail for over an hour,




walk across lava fields






and stop on that little hump in the middle of this picture, well below the top of the peak. Can see steam issuing from the other side.







So, we walk to the top of the peak to see the lava? Uh, no . . . there actually is no flowing lava. This is it! At that point Im standing there with my mouth agape (which is not unusual just not drooling this time) going WTF? What happened to all the flowing lava depicted in the pictures at all the travel agents in town and the glowing descriptions of flowing lava? I even went out and bought a crappy pair of shoes as Id heard reports of people melting the soles of their shoes on the hot rocks. No danger of slipping into molten magma (said with a Dr Evil flourish) the greatest danger was stumbling and getting an owie on your shin from the sharp solidified lava.

At this point the guide hauls out a bag of marshmallows (and they were those crappy colored, flavored ones), produces some sticks and finds a couple of holes that are hot enough to cook the nasty little puffers and thats it. Oh well, nice walk.

One of the hot holes for roasting marshmallows - I guess if I really wanted some volcano effect I could have stuck my foot in the hole . . . but decided not to.





It was a spectacular view though. Lights of Guatemala City (Doesn't look dark as the shot was taken with HD mode, whatever that is)





Neighboring volcanoes







Sunset





Here are a couple of pics from around Antigua. The modern churches and streets











One way to keep out unwanted visitors





Antigua was founded in 1543 by the Spanish Conquistadors as the third capital of Guatemala. The previous capital which was a few miles away was largely destroyed by a huge mud flow from Volcan de Agua which is one of the three volcanos overlooking Antigua. The other two volcanoes stand together and one, Volcan Fiero, is constantly active but usually just puffing away. It did have a major eruption five years ago which did not harm Antigua. Took this picture from the hotel roof of it having a smoke






The capital was moved to Guatemala City in 1776 when a couple of major earthquakes destroyed Antigua. The historical buildings are in pretty rough shape and largely consist of remnants of the old churches but are nonetheless interesting.








Fallen arches




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Old 11-27-2012, 12:00 PM   #115
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RexBuck,

If you're still here in Antigua, come by Moto Cafe and share some stories with fellow motorcyclists, join us for a ride, or just have a beer! We can help with routes or whatever if you're looking for it.

Moto Cafe
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Antigua, Guatemala
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:26 PM   #116
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Where are you now?

I am in Antigua, Guatemala now and headed for South America. I will be heading out of here abiyt tge 12th of December. Love to connect. My email is: donniemackenzie@gmail.com.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:08 AM   #117
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RexBuck,

If you're still here in Antigua, come by Moto Cafe and share some stories with fellow motorcyclists, join us for a ride, or just have a beer! We can help with routes or whatever if you're looking for it.

Moto Cafe
6a Calle Oriente #14
Antigua, Guatemala
1433'19.50"N
9043'52.43"W
Thanks for the invite Catours - I'm in Nicaragua now but appreciate the offer.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:11 AM   #118
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I am in Antigua, Guatemala now and headed for South America. I will be heading out of here abiyt tge 12th of December. Love to connect. My email is: donniemackenzie@gmail.com.
I'll send you an email Donnie. I'll be pretty slow for the next couple of months so we may have the opportunity to hook up.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:46 AM   #119
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Nov 21 To Copan Ruinas

Had a hard time deciding whether to just head down the El Salvedor coast like many riders do then take a quick shot across the corner of Honduras and into Nicaraugra or take a longer ride in Guatemala and Honduras. I really wanted to see a bit more of both countries so, thought I would take the longer route.
With that, Im off to Copin Ruinias which is just across the border into Honduras. Had to go through Guatemala City which wasnt bad but still a big City.

Stopped at McDonalds (huh?) for breakfast. Three reasons: 1) The food is edible; 2) They had armed guards in the parking lot and 3) They had coffee. This Big Micky Dees and busy. I pulled into one of the parking spaces and the guard comes over and wants me to park at the back pretty well all the spaces are full. I argued at first and finally asked him if he is going to watch my bike? S Alrighty then, sounds good to me.





Fast food joints deliver here . . .





Some really pretty country along the way





My route took me to a road identified as Road which usually means therell be no sweeping corners. It was indeed a shortcut kind of a gravely / rocky road. Road pretty decent, lots of buses (15 psgr vans), lots of people living around . . . then it got gradually steeper, narrower and rougher. At that point GPS said about another 8km, so, just kept going. Eventually got better just at the end when it emptied into a town.

I'd kinda been goofing off along the way thinking I had a ton of time, apparently not. Figuring about an hour for the border I would be getting into Copan Ruinas right after 5 and it would be starting to get dark.

Finally came around a corner to the sight of a gazillion trucks parked beside the road. Just rode past them and arrive at a big barrier across the road. They lift it and tell me to go park in a parking lot on the other side of even more parked trucks. Finally figure out which building is Guatemala Migracion, get my passport stamped after assuring the guy about 5 times that I wasnt coming back to Guatemala soon. Just as he was about to hand me my passport, he wanted 10 Quetzals (about $1.25). I was looking around for the Aduana and just handed it to him, not thinking and he just drops it on his desk. Hmmmm?

Went over to the Aduana to check my bike out, gave the lady my paperwork. She wanted three copies of the original document I had received when I came in to the country. Im looking around for a copy shop and then notice there is a great big, state of the art copy machine about 5 feet behind her. I ask her if she can do it and she smiles and says sure. Then we go check the VIN on the bike, come back and she wants me to buy a couple pieces of old used carbon paper sitting on a table next to me. I just go grab a couple as there didnt seem to be anyone too interested in selling. She puts the carbon papers between the copies she had just made for me, stamps the top one then signs and dates it. Then takes the carbon papers out, and stamps the signatures and dates on the two copies. Hands all three to me with instructions to take one of them to the guard at the barrier who had waived me through to begin with. Now, Im officially out of Guatemala.


Finally change my remaining Quetzals to Lempiras with a money changer who had been bugging me then hopped on my bike and rode about 200 feet to the Honduras buildings. Found Migracion, wander in, they had me a form to fill out, lots of stamping going on, give them some Lempires (I think it was 60 = $3) and Im off to the Aduana.


Guy comes over and starts asking for 3 copies of my passport (got it), 3 copies of my registration (got it) and three copies of the exit document from Guatemala (Dont got that). He says ok, come on in. Then proceeds to carefully fill forms in, enter stuff in the computer and complete an elaborate stamp in my passport with all the details of my bike. Needs like 660 Lempiras which leaves me with 20 left over from my exchanged Quetzals. Nice guy, while he was out checking my VIN, his boss comes over and chats about my trip. Oh, and the first guy did all the photocopying needed. After all the horror stories I'd heard about Honduras Customs officials looking for bribes, these guys were a treat - very professional, helpful and friendly.


With that Im done. Im officially in Honduras. There is a fumigation station and Im hoping it isnt going to cost me more than 20 Lempiras but the guy just smiles and waives me around. Guard at the final barrier wants to see my bike document and Im out of there. Total about 1 hour and 15 minutes.


Only 10km to Copan Ruinas. Find a hotel that has the necessary parking, hot water and internet and Im done.


Wander around town to check it out, quite the little touristy place. Lots of restaurants, lots of Gringos and Euros. Finally found a restaurant that looked good, and it was packed. Sat down and all of a sudden a pack of French people show up and start trying to put tables together. They need more space (like all of it) so, give them my table and wander upstairs. One little table left and I claimed it. Everything else was occupied, 3 small tables, one with about 12 people at it and one with about 20 people at it. One waitress. Im figuring if she can get me a beer, Im in no rush cause she gonna be awhile. This girl was amazing she handled it all. And, she had to bring everything upstairs from the bar and kitchen below. Here she is with her third arm. She used her head carrying plates of food, these little charcoal filled gizmos with the hot frijoles for snacks, bottles of beer and bottles of wine.






Pretty tasty meal





The Hondurans try to cater to all the English speaking tourists with their version of English





Propane delivery




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Old 11-28-2012, 10:10 AM   #120
Pete_Tallahassee
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Great adventure. I'm right behind you starting mid January.
I really appreciate all the info you are posting as to names of hotels and procedures when crossing borders.
Anytime you can mention prices helps me plan ahead.
Thanks
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