Our friendly mix of rain forest animals and birds greeted us with the sun the next morning. Quick típico breakfast (frijoles & rice) and we were off to Tikal. Our next set of directions ended us at a river, crap dead end and back in to the city we went. We drove around trying to find the road out till finally someone said take the ferry. Glad the first 10 people forgot to mention a ferry but soon we found ourselves waiting to cross the river (carrier trucks included) to continue on our way.
From there we flew. We made it to Flores, the tiny but colorful city stretched on to a small island just a km off the mainland. We checked in to the Los Amigos hostal and took off for the Tikal National Park, a World Heritage Site full of ancient Mayan ruins dating back to the 4th century BC.
As we ran climbing one temple after another we heard a storm moving closer and closer to us. After a few peaceful moments above the canopy on Temple IV, we decided to book it home. As soon as we climbed on the bike, it poured down. Somehow Ed’s raincoat didn’t make it my backpack and I had to forfeit mine. Crouched down and hiding as much as my body as I could behind him we slowly drove out of the park. Snake, cougar (?), and other scary road signs warning us as our piece of shit bike shined what little light it had. But then the lightening hit. And for once we could see the road. For a beautiful flash of a second the entire forest lit up around us and it was breathtaking. In that second I forgot how wet, how cold I was and watched Mother Nature dance around us. A memory I will never forget. We laughed and sang to keep our spirits high because it’s all we could do. Instead of the hour it took us to get there it took almost three to get home and by then all I wanted was my ass off the bike and a drink in my hand. Once again the day started great and ended a bit wet, cold, and stressed.
Next day goodbye Flores, off to Rio Dulce or “Sweet River.” This trip only took around five hours and when we arrived at our destination we encountered a slight issue. The hostal we wanted to stay in was only accessible by boat and these boats didn’t fit motorbikes. So we found an inland hotel to park our bike (for only $3/day) and hopped aboard. Kangaroo Hostal (of course ran by an Aussie) was hidden in the swampy mangroves in between the homes of the rich Guatemala City folks. Cool spot, but I wasn’t a fan on being stuck in one place. The next day we decided to head back to Antigua early in hopes of staying in the Famous tree house. [See our first day we went to the Earth Lodge in El Hato, above the city of Antigua, for some happy hour cocktails with a view. There we discovered the Famous Tree House; a private room available to sleep in when available. We tried to book this one for the week we got back but of course it was reserved so we decided to book the second best tree house on the property].
No wrong turns, little rain, and a nice rest stop at a water park cafeteria made our afternoon easy and then we hit a traffic jam. I can’t imagine if we weren’t on a motorbike. For over 30+ kilometers we slowly weaved in and out of the two-lane highway passing hundreds of trucks and cars. We continued on expecting a big crash or a construction site that was holding up hours of traffic but all we found was a few stalled trucks and a confusion on who’s turn it was to pass. Waving g’bye to all the unfortunate souls who would be sticks for hours we continued on to our least favorite part: the drive through Guatemala City.
Before leaving Rio Dulce we met some older American bikers. When I told one of him our route home he immediately called a buddy to sort out the quickest way in and out of GC. I directed Ed through the instructions praying each time we were heading the right way. As we found the final road around that insane city, I screamed for joy. Goodbye Guatemala City, next stop Antigua. Of course a chilly, mist rolled in as we drove our final 45mins but we survived.
After dropping off our disgusting laundry from the past week and securing a room for our last two nights we made the climb to El Hato. While checking in we were told the Famous Tree House was available! The reservation was a no show and it was ours! Exhausted and stupidly happy we haphazardly climbed our way up to our haven for the night. It was dark when we entered the tree house and I went to sleep more excited than a kid on Christmas morning. I could not wait for the sun to rise and as soon as it did I never looked away. Below you will find why.
In the end our story finished full circle. There were altos y bajos (highs and lows) on that motorbike but I would not take back a second. Another incredible adventure, another incredible country, and another reminder of why I am so in love with this beautiful world we have been given to explore. Thanks Guatemala, I’ll be seeing you real soon.
Todo mi amor,