Day 1, Christmas Eve. We got an early start and hit the road at 6am from Antigua with Lanquin (Semuc Champey) as our destination. Here was the general plan:
About 30 minutes into the ride we knew that leaving that early was a questionable decision, too damn cold that early in the morning. We stopped just before San Raymundo to warm up a bit and let the sun show itself.
Just after San Raymundo we started hitting a great dirt road that twisted along the Rio Motagua. I knew the bridge in La Canoa had washed out a few years back but we decided to check out this route anyways and take our chances.
So about 100 kms into the day, we find our first obstacle.. Rio Motagua. I'll let the videos and pictures tell the story:
Here you can see the original bridge pillars and where it sits now, a few hundred feet down the river!
Frenchy went first with his DR200
then I came across
Of course we found this guy after we both crossed... apparently he heard from some of our local audience that the crazy gringos were crossing on their motos and he showed up with his "barge" to offer his services. The locals lay their bikes on the side and let him take them across, I like our way better!
From their we continued on to Salama and then checked out a great 27 km dirt pass that wound up the mountain and then back down the other side to Pantin. A much better option than the tarmac round about way if you ask me. We only saw one car during the whole pass, beautiful views up there. This is where you pop out, on the highway heading to Coban.
Frenchy is known for his flats and he didn't disapoint on day 1. Just outside of Coban we were using our skills once again. Nothing two guides can't handle, back on the road in 30 minutes.
great views in Alta Verapaz
We made it to Lanquin in the afternoon and went to my favorit lodge, El Retiro. This was a great place to spend Christmas Eve and the next morning becuase I knew there would be lots of travelers and a good time to be had. They are known for their all you can eat buffet dinners, perfect for the moto traveler. We stuffed our faces and then taught all the Europeans how to play flip cup... just your average Christmas holiday.
Day 1 Stats:
- Q53 gas in Salama
- Q68 food
- Q100 room
- Q75 beer
TOTAL: Q296, ~$38
268 kms, 7ish hours riding