Our alarm started ringing at 4:30AM… I felt my body panic in confusion. WORK!?
Nope. Just hiking a volcano today… whew.. that was close. I realized it was the first time I have woken up to an alarm in almost 5 months (Not that I am trying to rub it in or anything…)
I stumble around in the pitch-black cabin fumbling for the light-switch. I find it and listen to the groans from the sisters. “5 more minutes?” Lauren asks. Nope! Not today, We gots to go.
Our destination for the day. The top of Volcan San Pedro on Lago Atitlan. It is the large volcano on the right-side of this pic. You can see the town of San Pedro down below it.
San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala is an interesting and beautiful place. The town sits on the volcano ringed Lago Atitlan (Lake Atitlan) at the base of the (now dormant) San Pedro volcano. It is populated bythe indeginous Tz’utuhil Mayan people who still work the land growing mainly onions and coffee beans for export.
From Tikal we hit the road to San Pedro where we planned to take some spanish classes. Our friend Zach had given us some info on the highways down there. There appeared to be two roads that took you from Peten down deeper into Guatemala. One was supposedly a much more rough and tumble route while the other was a decently paved road. Zach in the AstroVan opted for the easy route. We of course choose the rough and tumble path.
Our road actually turned out to be pretty decently paved (We heard from Zach that he accidently chose the road of death and sent us on the good road, HAHA!). We drove through lots of little lakeside villages and saw some beautiful Guatemalan countryside.
It has been a while since we have done an update, We ended up spending the past 2 months in Guatemala soaking up the culture, slowing down our pace, and doing some much needed repairs to the truck. Life had been a bit hectic and I couldn’t muster up the energy to write a decent blog. We are now in Honduras, tucked somewhere up in the Pico Bonito National Park hiding from the craziness of Semana Santa (Holy Week). For the first time in a long time we find ourselves with nothing to do but listen to the crickets and frogs sing lullabies outside our truck. Perfect time to do some writing.
The border crossing from Belize into Guatemala was fairly uneventful. We went through the process of checking ourselves and the truck out of Belize. Got the truck fumigated, paid for new visas and a vehicle permit. All completed in our crappy spanish without the use of a tramidor (Tramidor: Dude who hangs around frontier borders helping/scamming confused gringos getting into the next country) thanks to our friends at LifeRemotely who posted a great explanation of the process, fees, and buildings. We spent 10 minutes in the car studying up and hit the booths, about 30 minutes later we had everything we needed. We were officially and legally now in Guatemala.
We spent all our money at the border and had nothing left. Our tank was on fumes. (We waited to fill up till Guatemala, Belize gas was at $6/gal)
We assumed (stupidly) that there would be a gas station and ATM somewhere near the border on the Guatemalan side. Well there was an ATM but it was empty. No cash. We tried to ask if there was another “cajero” nearby but our spanish is so bad we received nothing but confused stares. Oh well… hopefully there will be one further up the road. We placed our faith in the 4Runners crappy gas gauge being off and headed further down the highway. We have our 5-gallon reserve tank in case we ran out.
The section of Guatemala we entered is named Peten. Unknown to us at the time, It is a very sparsely populated section of Northern Guatemala. We drove past miles and miles of clearcut farmland, rolling green hills, and a few small pueblos with no services. Our destination for the first day was the Mayan ruins of Tikal.