A Travellerspoint blog

Guatemala

Guatemala City, Coban, Flores, Tikal & Antigua

sunny 30 °C

Well we made it to Tigofest!! Finding the stall selling tickets was an adventure in itself too.. It was not very obvious!

We stayed in zona 10 in Guatemala City which is supposed to be the more cosmopolitan side of the city.. Which it was! The divide between rich and poor is very clear to see in Guatemala City. We arrived in Zona 1 which is not somewhere anyone would like to spend a great deal of time before heading out to zona 10 which could really be any northern american city. Unbelievable how you can drive 10 minutes from one side of a city to another and see such a huge difference.

We got out Tigofest tickets on the first day we were there and the festival was on 9th April. We arrived at 3 and it only took us about 30 minutes to actually get inside. We were very paranoid about being robbed as we assumed we'd be the only gringos there so only took very minimal cash with us.. We ended up running out of money quite early so the hangover started kicking in about 9! We saw Chino y Nacho, Don Omar and some of Shakira's set which is what we were really going for so all in all it was a good day :)

The next day we stopped off in Coban, breaking up our journey to Flores to see the Tikal ruins. There wasn't too much in Coban and definitely fewer gringos there! We headed up to Flores the next day on a shuttle which was supposed to
take five hours but it took around 7. One thing i've learned about Guatemala... Everyone lies about when buses/taxis will arrive and how long they take! Always best to add at least an extra hour onto how long you've been told...

Flores was beautiful, a really nice but expensive city.. Obviously full of tourists due to it's close proximity to Tikal. We got up at 3:40 AM for our 4:30 AM tour to Tikal (Taxi arrived at five). Tikal was amazing.. The ruins were massive and set in the middle of the jungle so had a good chance to see some wildlife too, and the trees provided some welcome shade!

That evening we go our overnight bus to Antigua, again via Guatemala City.. Apparently Flores/Guatemala City is the only safe overnight route to take so I guess that will be our first and last overnight journey in Guatemala. Antigua is really nice and very similar to Granada in Nicaragua. Colonial, a few tourists here and there.. Lots of markets so lots of chances to bargain :) I still haven't bought my hammock, I need to get onto that before moving on to Mexico!

Still left to visit here are San Pedro La Laguna tomorrow (Apparently you love this place or you hate it... It's supposed to be good for a party so I think I know how I am going to feel!!), then Quezteltenego, possibly Todos Santos then we are supposed to be crossing the border to Mexico and heading to San Cristobal on 21st April, just before the country shuts for Semana Santa.. Their long easter celebrations.

I have attached a couple of photos below as it has been quite a while since I last uploaded some....

Tigofest1

Tigofest1

Tigofest2

Tigofest2

Tigofest3

Tigofest3

Flores

Flores

Flores 2

Flores 2

Tikal Ruins

Tikal Ruins

Tikal 2

Tikal 2

Tikal 3

Tikal 3

Antigua

Antigua

Posted by ThatsLife 10:35 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Honduras

Travel Trauma

sunny 29 °C

My last entry said we were due to leave Utila and catch the ferry to La Ceiba. Unfortunately this didn't happen due to a gas explosion at the dock in La Ceiba so we were stuck on the Bay Islands for an extra night with no idea when the ferries would be running again.

Luckily they were up and running the next afternoon but we knew this wouldn't be enough time to make it all the way up to Copan before dark so we decided to have one more night in my favourite place... San Pedro Sula! We even went back to the same hotel with the most miserable receptionist i've ever seen and again got to see the really old security guard. Nice.

On the bus journey from La Ceiba to San Pedro Sula we managed to have a road accident - Not a serious one but they weren't allowed to move the buses until the police came so both ours and the bus which crashed into us had to stay in the middle of the main road with cars and wagons forcing their way around us. So we were delayed reaching San Pedro Sula and when we got there all the taxi drivers started fighting over us again.. It seems to usually mean someone is trying to get you into a fake taxi, presumably to either rip us off or rob us. Anyway, we spotted our taxi driver did not even have a license plate so the predicament was avoided.

Had our night of pure joy in San Pedro Sula before leaving to catch the early bus up to Copan Ruinas where our bus broke down on the way! So our 3 hour journey ended up taking us 6 hours. Fun fun fun.

Saw the ruins today which were pretty cool but they're not supposed to have anything on Tikal so looking forward to seeing that. The village itself here is beautiful and has a great atmosphere.. Well worth spending a couple of days here to see the ruins and wander around the village.

Got an early start tomorrow, 6:30 AM bus up to the Guatemalan border then we are heading on up to Guatemala City to get tickets for Tigo Fest which is on Saturday. Everyone I have met is telling me to avoid Guatemala City but we're literally only heading out to buy said tickets and attend the festival. Then I think we will be getting the hell out of there and heading for Antigua which will hopefully cater a little more for tourists!

Posted by ThatsLife 18:50 Archived in Honduras Comments (0)

Honduras

San Pedro Sula & The Bay Islands (Utila)

sunny 34 °C

Our arrival into Honduras was ridiculously smooth.

On crossing from Costa Rica into Nicaragua we had to fill out the same form about 20 times and drag everything off the bus to be "Searched" when really it meant the guys at the border crossing could take the bags off the bus and put them back on and then expect a tip even though there was no searching actually done.

The border crossing from Nicaragua into Honduras was a whole different ball game. The guy collecting the passports for the bus company even filled out the forms for us and made up the hotels we were staying at. Nice! He also had Stephen down as irish but i'm not sure why. Maybe the recent lack of facial hair has something to do with it.

Anyway, we eventually made it to San Pedro Sula for an overnight stop after our 12 hour journey from Leon in Managua. San Pedro Sula was pretty shocking really. We arrived just as it started to get dark (Around 6PM) and there was a security guard outside our hotel who was about 100 and carrying the biggest gun i've ever seen. None of us had any honduran lempiras so we had to visit a cash machine so we could eat. We walked a couple of blocks further to see that most other hotels also had a similar security guard with a similar sized gun. The canadian on the bus next to me also decided to inform me that San Pedro Sula has the second highest murder rate in the world... I'm not sure on what scale or how true this is but all I know is they're a bit happy to hand out the guns. Trigger happy, if you will. Anyway, there isn't much to be seen in San Pedro Sula anyway, it was just a stopover before taking the 3 hour bus journey to La Ceiba to take the 1 hour ferry crossing to Utila - One of the Bay Islands.

I must say, it's quite cool here. Everyone speaks english and it's full of americans which is fine for the short term - It actually feels like a little holiday from travelling! Stephen is staying in a different hostel as he is doing a diving course - Me and Wendy decided we had a list of demands for our hostel in the Bay Islands. It must have a kitchen, Wi Fi and our own private room. The first guy who stopped me as I got off the ferry promised all this for USD 5 a night... Bargain! We saw the room and it was very basic but fine so we took it. It turned out the next day that the Wi Fi was so bad, and only actually works if you sit in one certain chair and the kitchen looks like it contains a variety of sea life so we haven't made use of it. We also didn't have pillows for the first night and the lock on the inside of our door was broken and only got fixed today. Oh, and the transvestite cleaner keeps giving out abuse. BUT despite all that we have met a couple of cool people here, and that will stay in my memory BUT... It's no San Juan Del Sur!!

Utila itself is very beautiful and very small.. Not a great deal to do here if you're not into diving and believe me, everyone here is OBSESSED with diving and thinks we're crazy for not doing it.

We're getting the ferry tomorrow afternoon and spending a night in La Ceiba which will hopefully be a bit nicer than San Pedro Sula, before our 7 hour bus ride to Copan to see the Mayan ruins. I am very much looking forward to getting back to attempting to speak spanish, seeing fewer americans and eating rice and beans for every meal. Central America rocks :)

Posted by ThatsLife 18:24 Archived in Honduras Comments (0)

Nicaragua

Pictures!!

sunny 35 °C

So we arrived in Granada a couple of days ago.. It's beautiful but full of tourists and mosquitoes! We only stayed for 2 days and just explored the town a little bit and also took a chocolate making course where we got to make our own hand made chocolate which was good fun :) We roasted, shelled and ground up the beans and sustained various injuries believe it or not!! We then made some drinks out of the beans which tasted absolutely foul. Then we made our own chocolate bars which we have all enjoyed eating today. The diet starts now, I am starting to get a bit fat!

We left Granada this morning on a bus to Managua then had to change to another bus to get to Leon. When we arrived in Leon, we encountered the most bizarre situation. Taxi drivers were actually fighting over us and grabbing our bags and throwing them into their cabs. We were torn between getting into a cab with a boy who looked about 12 and one where the guy only had one eye and! no rear windscreen. It then dawned on us that these weren't real taxi drivers and were probably just looking for someone to rob... Anyway, we found a friendly cab driver who showed us the right plates to look out for and we are now safely in our hostel which has a pool table and a swimming pool for only USD 8 a night.. woop!!!

Tomorrow morning me and Stephen are going ashboarding down Cerro Negro. This means a 45 minute climb up and a 45 second ride down on a board but it sounds like such fun! I will be moaning like hell after having to climb that volcano so may spend the rest of the day lazing by the pool.

Anyway, the main point of this entry was to at last upload some photos!

San Juan Del Sur Beach

San Juan Del Sur Beach

San Juan Del Sur Beach 2

San Juan Del Sur Beach 2

Surfing USA

Surfing USA

Isla De Ometepe 1

Isla De Ometepe 1

Ojo De Agua (Natural cold spring)

Ojo De Agua (Natural cold spring)

Isla De Ometepe

Isla De Ometepe

Volcan Conception

Volcan Conception

Granada

Granada

Granada 1

Granada 1

Making chocolate

Making chocolate

Posted by ThatsLife 14:08 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

Nicaragua

Rivas, San Juan Del Sur & Isla De Ometepe

sunny 30 °C

So my last blog entry was when we were heading to Rivas.

Rivas is a very bizarre place. It was like man city... There were no women anywhere!! We got off the bus from Managua and went straight to the closest hostel as it was dark and ate in a strange restaurant next door. It had no menu and just asked us what we wanted to eat and they appeared to go to the shop and buy everything we'd asked for and cooked it from scratch! It was brilliant though. The next morning we woke up and opened our bedroom door and there were about 20 men just lying in the garden in hammocks not doing very much. Again, strange. We managed to find a bus parked up without having to walk too far which was handy as it just didn't feel safe to walk around with all our bags. Thoughts on Rivas - Don't waste your time!

Our bus journey to San Juan Del Sur was only a very short one and what a great place it is! It felt like it had a lot more tourists so we didn't stand out as much too which was nice. We stayed above a surf shop and the hostel was great fun, met some really cool people there and had several good nights out! A potential 2 night stay turned into a 5 night one but it was so worth it. Had a surfing lesson which involved me falling off A LOT but it was great fun trying. I could have stayed there for weeks, loved it :) We had a few night time swims too :)

We are now in Isla De Ometepe and the ferry ride here whilst suffering from a hangover was hard work! We went down to Charco Verde today which is a lagoon quite close to where we're staying and it was really nice. Stephen and Laura are considering climbing Volcan Conception on Sunday but after seeing how steep it actually is I think I am going to sit this one out. I'm no rock climber. The hostel we are staying at is beautiful and has a massive garden full of hammocks.. It's so quiet here too, the perfect recovery after my 5 day party in San Juan. They are cooking us dinner tonight.. German sausages for the meat eaters amongst us and butternut squash for me. I'm starving and very much looking forward to having my dinner cooked for me....

I have absolutely loved Nicaragua so far and I am excited to see what the rest of the country has to offer. I can't believe I was going to fly into Honduras originally, this has got to be one of the most beautiful countries i've ever seen. Get yourselves to Nicaragua before it becomes infected with American tourists!!!

Posted by ThatsLife 18:09 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

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