11-28-2012, 09:46 AM
Joined: May 2010
Location: Interior BC, Canada
Nov 21 To Copan Ruinas
Had a hard time deciding whether to just head down the El Salvedor coast like many riders do then take a quick shot across the corner of Honduras and into Nicaraugra or take a longer ride in Guatemala and Honduras. I really wanted to see a bit more of both countries so, thought I would take the longer route.
With that, Iím off to Copin Ruinias which is just across the border into Honduras. Had to go through Guatemala City which wasnít bad but still a big City.
Stopped at McDonalds (huh?) for breakfast. Three reasons: 1) The food is edible; 2) They had armed guards in the parking lot and 3) They had coffee. This Big Micky Dees and busy. I pulled into one of the parking spaces and the guard comes over and wants me to park at the back Ė pretty well all the spaces are full. I argued at first and finally asked him if he is going to watch my bike? SŪ Ė Alrighty then, sounds good to me.
Fast food joints deliver here . . .
Some really pretty country along the way
My route took me to a road identified as ďRoadĒ which usually means thereíll be no sweeping corners. It was indeed a shortcut Ė kind of a gravely / rocky road. Road pretty decent, lots of buses (15 psgr vans), lots of people living around . . . then it got gradually steeper, narrower and rougher. At that point GPS said about another 8km, so, just kept going. Eventually got better just at the end when it emptied into a town.
I'd kinda been goofing off along the way thinking I had a ton of time, apparently not. Figuring about an hour for the border I would be getting into Copan Ruinas right after 5 and it would be starting to get dark.
Finally came around a corner to the sight of a gazillion trucks parked beside the road. Just rode past them and arrive at a big barrier across the road. They lift it and tell me to go park in a parking lot on the other side of even more parked trucks. Finally figure out which building is Guatemala Migracion, get my passport stamped after assuring the guy about 5 times that I wasnít coming back to Guatemala soon. Just as he was about to hand me my passport, he wanted 10 Quetzals (about $1.25). I was looking around for the Aduana and just handed it to him, not thinking and he just drops it on his desk. Hmmmm?
Went over to the Aduana to check my bike out, gave the lady my paperwork. She wanted three copies of the original document I had received when I came in to the country. Iím looking around for a copy shop and then notice there is a great big, state of the art copy machine about 5 feet behind her. I ask her if she can do it and she smiles and says sure. Then we go check the VIN on the bike, come back and she wants me to buy a couple pieces of old used carbon paper sitting on a table next to me. I just go grab a couple as there didnít seem to be anyone too interested in selling. She puts the carbon papers between the copies she had just made for me, stamps the top one then signs and dates it. Then takes the carbon papers out, and stamps the signatures and dates on the two copies. Hands all three to me with instructions to take one of them to the guard at the barrier who had waived me through to begin with. Now, Iím officially out of Guatemala.
Finally change my remaining Quetzals to Lempiras with a money changer who had been bugging me then hopped on my bike and rode about 200 feet to the Honduras buildings. Found Migracion, wander in, they had me a form to fill out, lots of stamping going on, give them some Lempires (I think it was 60 = $3) and Iím off to the Aduana.
Guy comes over and starts asking for 3 copies of my passport (got it), 3 copies of my registration (got it) and three copies of the exit document from Guatemala (Donít got that). He says ok, come on in. Then proceeds to carefully fill forms in, enter stuff in the computer and complete an elaborate stamp in my passport with all the details of my bike. Needs like 660 Lempiras which leaves me with 20 left over from my exchanged Quetzals. Nice guy, while he was out checking my VIN, his boss comes over and chats about my trip. Oh, and the first guy did all the photocopying needed. After all the horror stories I'd heard about Honduras Customs officials looking for bribes, these guys were a treat - very professional, helpful and friendly.
With that Iím done. Iím officially in Honduras. There is a fumigation station and Iím hoping it isnít going to cost me more than 20 Lempiras but the guy just smiles and waives me around. Guard at the final barrier wants to see my bike document and Iím out of there. Total about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Only 10km to Copan Ruinas. Find a hotel that has the necessary parking, hot water and internet and Iím done.
Wander around town to check it out, quite the little touristy place. Lots of restaurants, lots of Gringos and Euros. Finally found a restaurant that looked good, and it was packed. Sat down and all of a sudden a pack of French people show up and start trying to put tables together. They need more space (like all of it) so, give them my table and wander upstairs. One little table left and I claimed it. Everything else was occupied, 3 small tables, one with about 12 people at it and one with about 20 people at it. One waitress. Iím figuring if she can get me a beer, Iím in no rush cause she gonna be awhile. This girl was amazing Ė she handled it all. And, she had to bring everything upstairs from the bar and kitchen below. Here she is with her third arm. She used her head carrying plates of food, these little charcoal filled gizmos with the hot frijoles for snacks, bottles of beer and bottles of wine.
Pretty tasty meal
The Hondurans try to cater to all the English speaking tourists with their version of English