The map shows some amazing offroad cycle opportunities in Guatemala; dirt roads, steep climbs, hidden villages and single tracks are here to discover! If only we hadn’t got a stubborn cold…
The climb up to Antigua was getting better and better, temperature dropped slowly and the cool air gave us our energy back. Guatemalan people were giving us thumbs up while we passed ash spitting Volcano El Fuego and reached colonial Antigua with its cobblestone streets and colorful houses. We wandered the streets, enjoyed great espressos and had dinner with our new Dutch friends; Toos, Leon en Ad. The spirit returned and we were planning some great offroad trips on our way North to Tikal.
“Hatsjeeeee!!!” Oh no.., Elmar has a cold, a nasty one.. he’s coughing, has a head full of snot and a headache which keeps him in bed. Not good. He’s shivering too, probably a fever. Well, it is what it is, these things happen, so we are left with no other choice but to stay a couple of days more in Antigua, which is no punishment though! Antigua is a beautiful colonial town with nice restaurants, good coffee places and a great atmosphere. And since Elmar is tied to his bed, I decide to meet up with a local photographer, Rudy, to chat and roam around the streets for fun and talk about photography.
Unfortunately the cold hits me too, but after a few days we believe it’s time to hit the road again, to cycle to Lago Atitlan. This lake is surrounded by volcanos and the Guatemalans say it’s the most beautiful lake in the world, it sure is nice but the most beautiful lake in the world? Neh..! We enjoy the clouded sunset and find ourselves a B-route North, passing Chichicastenango and Sacapulas. It’s not quite the C-route we had in mind (still very populated), but it’s good enough for the state we are in! With steep hills to climb among the many Pine forrests (I love the smell of Pine trees!) we cough our way up and down to Coban and further to Lanquin and Semuc Champey, from where tropical green and lush forests cover the hills.
The afternoons are a rainy treat, but it’s nice and cool in the mountains and even in the valleys is not as hot as the other Central American countries were. We are sorry that we were not able to discover the real Guatemala by cycling single tracks and dirt roads, but that leaves something to come back for! 😉
A horrible muddy and steep track leads to a hidden gem in Guatemala: the turquois colored limestone pools of Semuc Champey. Ok, we cheated and took a lift in a truck from Lanquin! 😉 And looking at the state of the track, we are happy we did. We pay the entrance fee and hike up to the viewpoint, it’s a steep and sweaty climb and we’re coughing our germs around, but we made it. 😉 And it’s a great view down and the pools are calling for us: “Elmar, Ellen.. come and swim!” So, we stumble down and jump into one of the beautifully colored pools: ahhhhh, very refreshing!
Underneath the pools the river flows rapidly, but the pools are calm and packed with tourists and fish! It’s really nice and we could stay here all day. Semuc Champey is definately worth a visit!
We are now in Flores and this leaves us one more important sight to visit: the Mayan ruins of Tikal! Can’t wait to see these mysterious temples! From here it’s on to Belize and Mexico is just around the corner, where a big surprise will be flying in to us… What that is, we’ll let you know in one of the next blog updates. 😉