From Honduras to Guatemala

So I left Utila on the 6am ferry to La Ceiba, a largish town in north Honduras where after a quick taxi ride got aboard a bus to Honduras’s 2nd city San Pedro Sula located in the North West corner of the country not far from Guatemala.  I had no interest in staying in this city which hasn’t got a good reputation so immediately got another bus which traversed the Guatemala/Honduras border south to Copan,  a small colonial tourist town.  The journey lasted 12 hours in total so my two English travelling buddies, Kirsty and Jess, and I were relieved to get a sweet private room offered to us by a guy on the bus for £4 each.  As we were all exhausted and not fully recovered from Sunjam we got a pizza and then straight to bed.

 

First chicken bus.  La Ceiba to San Pedro Sula.

The next day we felt refreshed and after a quick explore around the very charming mountain town we booked onto the canopy tour which is basically a series of 14 zip lines covering 7km from the top of a mountain back to the valley (the longest one being 1km long). The views were spectacular and it was also great fun.

Later in the afternoon we booked a trip to the aguas calientes (hot waters), a hot spring set in the mountainous valley several miles from Copan.  The water comes out at 80 degress centigrade at the source but is then mixed with cooler water to produce several pools of varying temperature (40 degress down to bloody cold).  It was the first time I had experienced hot water since the start of my trip (hot water appears to be very rare in a domestic setting throughout central America!).  We followed the traditional Mayan cleansing ritual which included amongst other things: covering yourself in mud; walking round a circle seven times through hot then cold water; and dipping in the 5 spiritual pools which decrease from 40 degs to 20 degs in 5 degree increments.  We stayed until after the sunset at which point the guide got the candles out so we could bathe beneath candlelight.

Braving the hottest of the ‘spiritual’ pools.  40 degs apparently but felt a lot hotter (like 100).

The next day we set off for Guatemala and our destination was Antigua,  another colonial town that is also a UNESCO world heritage site becasue of the architecture, and which lies in the valley of three volcanoes (one of which is still active).  I would have enjoyed this place a lot more had I not contracted a nasty bout of food poisening from some street vendors in Copan which kept me in bed from our arrival at 1pm until our departure the next day at 1pm.

So then we were travelling again, this time to San Pedro La Laguna, an awesome little lakeside town on Lake Atitlan.   Here we booked into a hostel called ‘Yo Mama’ (obviously) which ran at £3.20 for a night and had ice cold litre bottles of beer for sale for £1.60 – perfect.  By this stage we had picked up a vagrant Ozzie called Jared and so the four of us roomed together.

San Pedro has a reputation as being a hotspot for young travellers.  People get sucked in here so much so that one of the divemasters from Utila had lived here for 6 months. You could see how, with the beautiful scenery (huge steep tree covered mountains, clear lake with several pueblos dotted around its shores), the friendly vibe and cheapest (tourist) prices to be experienced in Guatemala.  We liked it here too but due to the recent election of a new mayor there was one very prominent bugbear for us.  He had put a curfew in place for 11pm which is really ‘just getting started’ time in Central America.  So at 11.05 on Saturday we were being ushered out of a great little bar by federales with machine guns….

Anyway despite not really being able to have a good night out we were able to take an afternoon to go horse-riding which I absoluteley loved.  We had western style sadles so I was able to gee my horse up to a gallop and just hold on for dear-life whilst bouncing along the shoreline paths. Awesome.

From the right: Jess, Unknown, Jared, Me, Unknowns….My horse was called Tequila and she was an absolute beauty.

Something about being away has got me really excited about the new footy season so the next day I was up at 9am to watch Rooney, Young et al scrape past West Brom in a local internet cafe that had perfect reception on a 42″ plasma.   I was the only one there but it didn’t matter and I still cheered when Young squeezed in the winner on 82 minutes.

That afternoon we decided to take the 15 hour overnight trip to Flores in North Guatemala but for now I’m gonna give my fingers a rest so I’ll save the rest of Guatemala until the next post.

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