Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Copan ruins to tinny Gracias and to boiling hot in Tela

Starting the day early with Copan ruins and spent just over an 2 hours around the site and have to say it may just be my personal favorite. The structures are not that tall but it has a lot of interesting statues not found at other sites we visited.

That same day we drove to a tinny town of Gracias which was important for a brief time in the  mid 1500's as the capital of CA before taking a back seat to Antigua. It's about 3.5 hr drive from Copan, its a good town if you really want to get lost and just move a slower pace because everyone else is. We managed to hike up the hillside to the castle to get a view of the town and see young people dating on top.

Gracias is so tinny

The following day we drove down the Atlantic coast to the town of Tela, first thing we notice was the people seem darker and when we got out of the van we knew why the place is smoking hot. We walked around for about an hour before finding a hotel. Town seems more expensive than others and not my tourist I guess their in the resorts that line the beach. While in town we visited the botanical gardens which they say is the 2nd largest in the world. Next will be La Ceiba to hitch a ride to the islands to do learn how to dive.

this local doing a back flip

2 days 2 different countries and 2 totally opposite hot springs

Spent one last night in Guatemala city and I think we saw our first sunset of the trip. Picked up some last minute supplies like a fire extinguisher and a road hazard triangle, why you ask? we’ve been told first hand the police and Honduras and Nicaragua will ask for it and if you don’t have the items, they might ask you to make a small contribution to their wellbeing (bribe). 

Our last 3 days in Guatemala were spent on Rio Dulce, traveling to Livingston and roaming around Lago de Izabal. Our first 2 nights we spent parked at Brunos restaurant and marina. We biked 5km to Castillo de San Felipe to see the old castle the guarded the river from pirates during the 1600's fully equipped with canon towers, dungeon, church and living areas. The castle has been nicely restored and we had a tour guide that spoke more english they she made us believe.

Later that day we took a boat ride to Livingston to the see the Caribbean village on the Atlantic coast nothing more than a stop off point for most heading to Belize or the Big Islands on Honduras coast.

huge tickets to the castillo

 she loves showing off her new bag

view from the guard tower

enjoying the ride to Livingston

arriving in Livingston, the people trying to take our bags and show us to a hotel

On our last night we head to El Paraiso about 20km outside of Rio Dulce and soaked in the cool river and showered under the steaming hot water falls. Never have I seen such contrast of hot and cool natural waters. It cost less to $2 usd. to enter and well worth it.

heaven on earth

the water fall was super hot

 2 girls chasing us to sell some bread

The following day we drove 5 hours to the Honduras boarder crossing at Copan ruins. Again this boarder crossing was easy enough very fast no body bother us took all of 45mins to do it all. They asked for 3 copies of everything document which seem over kill but hey thats what they wanted. Total cost to leave Guatemala $1.50 each and to enter Honduras $40 usd including the car.

1.5 hr dirt road to Agua Caliente

mask Jieun

After all that driving we drove another 2 more hours to Agua Caliente to soak some more. But we arrived on 24km dirt road had to pay $10 each to get in a spa style natural springs resort. Disappointed, that water was kind of dirty, and expensive a double shot in the arm. It was getting late and they let us camp in the parking lot for an extra $10.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Final weekend in Antigua

santo domingo hotel

outdoor restaurant at santo domingo hotel

hostel for $5 bucks

shared baths and showers

kid ruined my shoes

Its our 3rd and final visit to this peaceful colonial town and we just started to scratch the surface. Its like every time we pass a corner or walk down a street there is always something new and interesting that we didn’t see before.
cool dog in the town square

live music at one of the many nice restaurants

this guy had one too many big macs

Night time the town comes alive with locals chatting in the centre square, foreign operated bars packed with tourist and expensive drinks. All the fast food joints a busy serving locals and travelers while upper class dine in the warm inviting colonial setting restaurants and the price to follow.

Antigua really has everything from really high end to the budget minded traveler like us. we are heading to Guatemala city for one night and will head to Rio Dulce.