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Old 05-04-2010, 01:25 PM   #9
lukeman OP
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Washington DC
Oddometer: 456
Belize and Guatemala

Belize & Guatemala
I was supposed to meet up with a friend in Belize, that fizzled out and I’d figured that I would spend more time in Guatemala and further south. I got through the border without any difficulty. I had read Daveg's postings which were very in-depth and an invaluable resource. Actually printed out his border crossing notes and reviewed them before the crossings. It didn't completely remove the anxiety of a crossing but helped a bunch.

I spent two evenings in San Ignacio just relaxing and hoping to find some sort of scene to drink a few beers and talk to interesting people. Word was that the boarder crossing was washed out and I would need to wait a few days for the water to go down. It was evidently the off season, because the town was pretty much deserted. I went to the local bar, played some Hold’em with a few people and that was pretty much as crazy as it got. This was just the calm before the storm before hitting Guatemala. I got word that everything was open and off I went.
Lovely day of riding in Belize

Some local roads around San Ignacio

Looking tough

Lot of rain the previous couple days.

I headed out of San Ignacio and my plan was to go straight to Tikal. The road on the Guatemalan side after the border was interesting to say the least. It was primary white clay as far as I could tell and with all the rain recently it was just a shit show. I made it to Tikal without difficulty in the early evening and heard from some others that it was possible to buy an evening ticket, tour for a few hours and then it would still be good for the next day.

It was a great way to see the park, watching the sun go down on top of the largest pyramid. There was probably about 8 of us up there hanging out none of us looking forward to walking back in the darkness, let alone walking down those steps. A Colombian couple that I met early in the day hired a guide which allowed them to stay after dark. They invited me and the remaining group to join them in seeing the park by night. Awesome. The couple was also into motorcycles and had done from California to Alaska if I remember on a GS. We got to climb pyramids in the twilight (not for the faint of heart) and even went up one that was off limit because someone had fallen off recently. Also awesome. We all road back to the hotel at Tikal in the back of the guides pickup, talk about service. It was a Jewish holiday I believe and that night the Israelis invited us to have dinner with them. Some swimming then bed.

Token Tikal Shot. About this road for future travelers. The road to Tikal is basically a speed trap. Some of the nicest tarmac I saw the entire trip and I damn well made use of it. They hand you a ticket when you enter with a time stamp. At the end they look at the time, knowing how long it should take. I didn't realize this as I was traveling and proceed to ride the hell out of it going somewhere around 60-80mph. A sweet ride. I got to the other end of the checkpoint in some absurdly short time. The guard looks at my card, looks at his watch, eyes go wide open, looks at his watch, taps on his watch to and reads it again, show's his buddy the slip. His buddy is equally amazed. I realize now whats going on. Oh shit. How much is this going to cost me. I'm going to have to pay off him and his buddy. Playing it cool, I tell him that my bike has a mind of its own and rev the engine a bit and smile. He asked me how many CC it was and I told him 1000. Mierda he said, laughed and said go ahead in and not to do that again.

Hotel at Tikal (the farthest one from the entrance) well worth the money

La Cieba

The stairs are intense.

Sun is setting

Camera took in a lot more light than what it looked like with the human eye. Some scale of the steps

Night time in Tikal

Pickup ride

Toured around the next day with some American's from DC. One of them grew up in Guatemala and provided some help during the tour in Spanish.

Next up Flores and Semuc Champey.
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