T – Woohoo! Guatemala here we come! But first I better wait until its daylight, and I should go get some breakfast. I was awake early and keen to go today. I was feeling very excited about heading into Guatemala. One of our friends had told us that if we loved Mexico then we would probably love Guatemala even more!
C – We found a fantastic little place for breakfast, Todd munching down on banana pancakes whilst I went with a Belizian breakfast.
T – After we did the usual packing up and researching the border crossing just to make sure we we knew what to do, we headed off. The border was only about 15 minutes away and we rode in blissful sunshine. Right up until we reached the Belize border. At which point the heavens opened up and gave everything a good dowsing.
C – The Belize border was surprisingly sedate, with only a few money changers hanging about. It was pretty ordered and easy to find where to go. We are still a bit unsure about our vehicle transit fee we paid at the entry into Belize – no one here asked us for proof we had paid it, but another couple were told clearly about this payment. So, it is or isnt a genuine fee!!
T – We were checked out of Belize quickly and efficiently and were soon crossing through into the Guatemala border checkpoint. Again the formalities were easy and we were soon through. The whole crossing taking about an hour and a half.
C – We were approached by a small boy when we reached the fumigation station on the Guatemalan side. He explained to us that he speaks ‘mucho espanol’ and then followed us around, translating when he thought we did not understand. Obviously he was doing this for some money, but he never directly asked for any and was fun to hang out and we had lots of jokes with him. We did give him a bottle of water and some change, but it is such a difficult thing to figure out. Do you give him some money for his assistance and reinforce this as a way to make money??? For me, it is one of those situations where you want to give but have an ethical dilemma about giving.
We met a lovely couple from America at customs. Honi and her husband were travelling around the area on holidays. Safe travels to you two!!!
T – The rain at this point had stepped it up a notch and it was bucketing down! We picked a lull in the weather and headed for the Guatemala entry point and then just like that, we were in a new country! Woohoo!
We had planned on staying near the Tikal ruins in a town called El Remate but it appeared a little hard. The rooms that were within our budget were all sold out, leaving us looking down the barrel of a $USD40 a night room. Not in our budget at all! Then like a knight in shining armour come to our rescue Zack, another biker, pulled up and told us about a great hotel he was staying at in the nearby town of Flores, on an island to boot! We had a quick chat as Zack was off to see the Tikal ruins and then we headed to Flores.
Shortly after we were settled into our room and peeling off the very wet, very soggy, very smelly layers of our riding gear. We filled up the room with our wet boot stank and wandered around the local area. It was quite pretty and the lake really was gorgeous. I couldn’t stop taking photos, much to Chantelles annoyance.
C – I was feeling frustrated for no particular reason really.. although I think my ethical dilemma at the border contributed this… not being able to figure out how I felt about what was ‘right’.
T – We chilled out for a spell with a much deserved $1.50 rum and coke before heading off in search for dinner. Both of us have been feeling a little frustrated the last few days and the rum definitely helped to take the edge off.
We had a browse through a few restaurant menus, all of which were quite pricey, before we found some road side stalls where we had way too much food, drink and cake for just under $3 each.
We are so excited to be in Guatemala and I am loving being back into the Spanish scene. We shall head from here to Lake Atitlan the long round about way before settling into Antigua for a week of spanish lessons. But tomorrow we think we will stay put and do some exploring of the local area. We want to visit the ruins of Quirigua at Lago de Izabal south of us before heading west.