5 januari 2015 - Panama City, Panama
We arrived in Guatemala by speedboat in Puerto Barrios; this was our first visit of this country!
The first impression
A lot of streets with big potholes, gravel and lack of maintenance
Also there was a lot of traffic.
Many of the houses were having bars attached on their windows and doors.
The fences had barb wired or the walls had broken glass on top.
Even that didn’t give me a bad feeling.
Although I wouldn’t go on the street after sunset!
Everything gave the impression of being unorganized!
Hotel of choice
We were shown several hotels, most of them being too dark; no windows and lack of natural ventilation. The atmosphere was terrible.
Often these hotels belonged to a Chinese (or Taiwanese) owner(s), who gave the impression that they didn’t care that much how it looked!
In the end (of course, always in the end) we arrived at a hotel that, in the past, had a higher clientele.
Now it had some lack of maintenance but it had atmosphere; floors that were under an angel of about 20% and cracked when you walked over it, we liked it.
The rooms were high and comfortable for the few days we stayed there.
When we did our last shopping we met an American guy who lived in Guatemala for more than 10 years.
He now owned two stores and an evangelical radio network.
He gave us a lot of information.
When we told him we did want to cycle to Guatemala City, he strongly advised us to take the bus.
The stretch of road was terrible; hardly any shoulder and very busy (banana container) truck traffic.
Especially in the mountains the road was winding, narrow and NO shoulder at all.
Also this road was infamous of the almost daily accidents that often had deadly casaulties!
As already written in my blog we took the bus to Guatemala City.
The arrival there was chaotic and I was happy we didn’t cycle towards Guatemala City.
We spend some time in Guatemala City and enjoyed it.
I bought several gifts for my family.
For myself I bought a painting of a painter that was selling his work on the street.
The painting showed a hummingbird that was near a flower, sucking the nectar.
This picture I did sent home in a special pipe. It arrived!!
The way out of Guatemala City
When we did leave this big city I was very happy with my GPS. It showed exactly how we had to cycle out of the city.
We were at an altitude of almost 5000 feet and first had to decent and climb some hills again.
The climbing was hard; altitude, heat, sun, the grade and the fumes of the trucks!
In the end we descended and I was going really fast.
At the start the road was fairly good and further down it was even better, that was when it became a toll road.
Roads in Guatemala towards El Salvador
The road near the coast towards El Salvador had a good surface and not a lot of traffic, also the hills were not to high or steep.
We enjoyed the views of the numerous volcanoes that were at the left of us high above the rest of the landscape.
Also the many sugarcane fields were nice to see.
This sugarcane was just being harvested and a lot of trucks with that sugarcane were (carefully) passing us.
Memorable last night in Guatemala
We did have some trouble to arrange a hotel stay at the end of our trip trough Guatemala.
We stopped at a restaurant along the road.
We asked the woman there if we could stay under the patio for one night.
Tanja did speak some Spanish, so she asked the questions.
The woman, in the end, did allow us to stay on the patio of the restaurant in the end, for free.
We were happy.
We had a good diner too, which we tipped well.
We camped with our tent (without the fly) and slept well.
The next morning we had a good breakfast and tipped her well again.
Just when we decided to leave we suddenly had to pay for the night: a normal hotel fee.
We didn’t agree with this; we paid half of that and left.
This was a rude woman to try and take money from us, after first tell us that it is for free!
In the end:
We had a nasty feeling of how we were treated.
Our general feeling of Guatemala though was good !
The rest of the trip towards the border of El Salvador was good; we took several pictures of the volcanoes and sugar cane fields and crossed the border.