Wednesday, 15 August 2012

GOING THROUGH GUATEMALA

From Copan in Honduras Leana and I cycled up through the hills and crossed the La Florida border into Guatemala. I had to be rather careful as I was cycling on a broken front rim (it had worn through from braking, and the mean cobblesones at Copan had done the final damage). We stayed over at the first big town in Guatemala, Chiquimula, where I fitted the spare wheel rim. We found Guatemala to be quite similar to neighbouring Honduras, and the living expenses were also about the same. Not far from Chiquimula we paid a gratis visit to a small paleanthological museum, looking at the exhibits of dinosaur bones and some other archaeological displays. We took the Carretera Atlantico eastwards in the direction of the Carribean, where we diverted to take a look at another famous Maya archaeological site - Quirigua. In that vicinity there are some huge banana plantations, to the extent that harvested bunches are transported by cable car to points where they can be loaded (see pic). Then, further East and over some hills we stopped at the pleasant Rio Dulce town where we had a cheap room practically on the jetty where some of the many yachts were moored. We stayed a day and payed a visit to the Spanish colonial fort of San Filipe (designed to curtail pirate activity, which did the job untill the pirates burnt the place to the ground). As in many tropical countries, the palm oil industry is becoming popular (see pic of oil palm). We continued northwards from there through the former jungle province of Peten, as far as Florence (a historic town on an island in the lake, with the "other" part of town, Santa Elena and most shops etc., across the causeway on the mainland. Unfortunately I was rather ill (possibly due to drinking bad water earlier), so I didn't fully appreciate the nice room we had overlooking the lake. From there we headed in the direction of Guatemala's (and Central America's) main attraction, Tikal. For details of distances cycled see the following report.

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