Tag Archives: Copan Ruinas

Antigua to Copan Ruinas, Monday, 12 November 2012, Day 132

Bye to my Antiguan Home and Hosts Cornelia and Irma and whatever the dogs real name is Muchas Gracias

On the road again I have not touched the bike for a good week and I needed to get it out of the garden which was concerning me as considering how difficult it was to get in but getting it again was lot easier which was a relief. I had breakfast with the new batch of students, as there had been a change of guard over the weekend and then packed the bike and slowly hit the road. Tata Antigua it was fun 🙂

First thing I did was get some USD from the ATM for the upcoming border crossings and filled up the bike just outside the city and I was heading into the hills towards Guatemala City and it was only about 8.30am wow never been away this early before!

As mentioned before my GPS only has very limited maps of Guatemala so I had brought an old fashion roadmap and it was weird not knowing exactly where I was and with the Garmin I had plugged in my destination but it never seem to be on the route even though I knew I was so was just like a computer game trying to keep the route on the small screen entertaining and frustrating at the same time. I was in Guatemala City in no time and then got lost trying to cross the city as I have said very few road signs and a temperamental GPS so I got across by good old fashion compass bearings. I missed a lot of turnings or if I did like the look of a turning so added a few more miles to the trip by sticking to the main roads. Enjoyable day even though I was bit concerned about the hassles awaiting me at the border.

Guatamala City

Driving along gorgeous scenery not sure how far away the border is I am in the middle of nowhere no one around considering this is supposed to be a major border crossing or maybe I just made that last bit up as to be honest because as usual I had not got a clue.

I finally hit the border at 1.50pm was directed to a parking lot and then to the first kiosk. Parked the bike and a couple of money changers turned up with huge wads of money I am not sure why it is but they always have loads! Enquire about the rates and they give me them as usual a low rate so I tell them I will get back to them after I cleared Guatemala Customs as I know what the rate should be and I am going to get as close as that as possible with some haggling later.

  • As mention is was 1.50pm so of course I had arrived bang on lunchtime so the customs official did not turn up till 2.10pm so me and about 5 lorry drivers and a security guard just hanging around waiting. I put my helmet in front the window of one of the kiosk so when they opened it knocked it of and fell to the ground so a bit of commotion but it broke the ice. After the 5 lorry drivers who where there first it was my turn bit of a joke about the helmet then to business. They wanted 3 copies of
    • Driving licence
    • Bike Papers
    • Passport
    • Guatemalan Temporary Import Papers

Bloody ridiculous as I had given them copies when I came in but nope they needed more. No problem as I had copies except the Guatemalan Temporary Import Papers so sent the photocopy building. 3 copies so that’s 3 QZL only have a 100 QZL bill okay no problem no charge! Back to my new girlfriend at the first kiosk as I have all the documentation. We then go and check the VIN number on the bike and at the same time being hassled by some creepy guy asking if I need accommodation in Copan Ruinas. I have a joke with custom chica about this and then back to the kiosk for the filling in and updating all the forms. Well in the end they only needed 1 copy of the Temporary Guatemalan so had 2 spare. My theory is it’s a nice little earner on the photocopying front but this time no score with Philly.

  • So bike is out of Guatemala so now me so off to immigration. Hand my passport to the guy he does his stuff and then says that will be 10QZL. My response in my new Spanish says that’s not normal in a stern voice and he says did I pay to get in and I say yes and he says that’s fine and I can go so he saves face and I do not pay and no I did not pay coming in either so another little earner for the customs guys who try it on all of the time.
  • So me and the bike are out of Guatemala next change some money get a reasonable rate for my QZL but they will not move any closer on my rate for USD and MXN peso rate is a joke so I change my QZL to HNL and will try my luck on the Honduran side for the rest

So bye Guatemala like the last time I was here I really enjoyed myself 🙂

Honduras is a complete new country for me, and the first one of what I hope is many on this trip. I had read multiple horror story’s about this border crossing so was planning for the worst case scenario in reality it was quite straight forwards and it seems quite legitimate what I had to do and pay and I got official looking receipts and proof of payments with values signatures and stamps. I had learned all the vocabulary in my Spanish lessons so was ready and challenged everything I felt was dodgy in a firm but polite respectful jokingly manner.

  • So 200 meters from Guatemala to a modern looking building which was Honduran Customs. I was approached by money changers and they are offering the same rate as on the other side but I manage to squeeze a bit more out of them as they claim they are loosing on the deal. I do not mind paying a little over the odds at times like this but I am not going to be screwed so knowing the rates and playing the field can help in reducing the odds in your favour. I change some USD but no one is shifting on the MXN peso so I hold onto these.
  • First immigration for me that is USD 3.00 with a big sign saying this but I challenge it anyhow as I thought that is for exit only but I pay and I probably be charged on the way out as well
  • Next to get the bike imported nice bloke came out to see the bike he did not check VIN number and or number plate just looked at it and then back to A/C office to the paperwork. He opens with the price HNL661 or 36 USD seems reasonable and I insist on a receipt signature and stamp on this. He also needs 3 copies of
    • Driving Licence
    • Bike Registration Papers
    • Passport
    • Guatemalan Import papers!

So as mentioned had all of these except only 2 Guatemalan Import papers and I wanted to keep one of these for my records so he sent me off to get copies of this and I argued this was ridiculous and in the end he only got my one spare one so no copies purchased here either. All the forms filled in manually on paper and this is slow then after this filled in on the computer with one finger typing so this also slow. Whilst this was going I noticed an envelope where the money was going to put in and quite clearly it said HNL 135 for Consejo Hondureno de la Empresa Privada so I again challenged the 661 again and he goes and gets another one he has done before and there are 2 charges 135 plus 525 for Forma 9A-1 and charge for admin so that is the 661 so as long as I have receipt stamped and signed I am okay with this.

So after matey boy had filled in the forms and the another one had put it into the computer of to the bank next door to pay then back to finish it all off. I got all my paperwork together shook everyone’s hand and joked about being a pain in the arse and said goodbye to my new friends and went back to the bike. A bit of a panic when I got back to the bike as I could not find my passport so back to the office to see if I had left it there nope but it was in my trouser pocket not the usual place for it so panic over more jokes with the custom guys who think I am of my trolley but I do not care as I am in Honduras.

Final hurdle completed and I check out  at the gate and it is only about 10km to Copan Ruinas my home for the night so the above exercise had taken 2 and half hours the joys of travelling 🙂 its just like work.

New home another kerb to negotiate and a bar to drive though

Bike safe and sound hiding in the bushes!

I had been giving an address of a Hotel called Viavia run by a Belgium biker called Geraldo so I headed straight there as it was getting late. I could park the bike in the courtyard for safety, which was excellent but meant driving it through the bar and up another high kerb. But no problem as Geraldo did all of this for me so I was settled in a nice hotel nice bar and restaurant in a new country tired but content. I grabbed some food at the bar Nasi Goerang mmm lekker fresh lemonade chatting to an Interesting Canadian chap called Paul who was a fire-fighter in the Canadian bush in the summer and a ski guide in the winter and who travels in between so a pleasant evening watching the Monday football (American) I was not much company as I was totally wacked from 9 days hard studying in Antigua long border crossing as well as 300km on Latin American roads so I was pretty gaga. A sleep into tomorrow and then to the ruins yeah 🙂

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Copan Ruinas, Tuesday, 13 November 2012, Day 133

Copan Ruinas Honduras Cool place

I sort of slept in but guess I have lost the knack. I must of being tired as I slept through the loud music coming from the disco next door it was cool to go to sleep with all the latest disco hits. I had a long relaxing breakfast and then I walked to the Ruins, which turned out, to be fantastic Mayan site so I spent most of the day taking loads of crap pictures and just taking in the sites. The place is pretty deserted so I pretty much have the place to myself which is cool. At about 3pm I find out there is another bit to this site about 2km away so I made tracks there as it was shutting at 4pm. Absolutely no one here at this part and here there was the ruins of the houses where as the main part was temples this was also cool but I had to move fast, which was a shame. Note to self-do more planning! I walked back to town so I have done a lot of walking today I then went to the ATM and on my way back to hotel bumped into Wendy a Dutch girl who was at the house I had stayed at in Antigua so we arranged to meet for dinner.

        

      

      

      

Pleasant evening at Viavia with Wendy, Paul the Canadian chap and another English girl called Becky.

Wendy was flying back to NL but I have arranged to meet her in Panama City in December gezellig  🙂

macaws flying around the ruins

      

Hey Tads you opened a place in Honduras

Copan Ruinas to Gracias, Wednesday, 14 November 2012, Day 134

A total cleaning solution me bike is needing a clean!

Another good nights sleep. Last night I was speaking to the owner Geraldo a Belgium motorcyclist and he had given me a couple of pointers for routes through Honduras. This morning another leisurely breakfast and then Geraldo helped me get the bike out through the bar when I say he helped he actually did it for me and I supervised 🙂 So another recommendation coming up ViaVia in Copan Ruinas run by Geraldo all bikers welcome and here is his number if help is needed 00504/98400292 blond large breasted 18 year old chica’s are also welcome so this chap has a broad taste.

I filled up just outside town after getting lost in the one-way system which seems par for the course on leaving any new town and I hit the road. The weather here is wet and overcast and it was the same yesterday threatening to rain and when it did rain not enough to stop to pull your waterproofs on. Lovely road out of town I passed an elderly couple also on a motorcycle so I waved but they ignored me as he was focused on riding I passed them about 4 times during the day as I kept stopping to take photos and they finally got used to me passing them and I was getting a wave now 🙂 Later in the day I came across what looked like a landside and the road was covered in brown treacly mud and there where a lot of vehicles stopped and I noticed a little older lady with a rucksack walking on the side of the road with a helmet on then I noticed a bloke in brown leather jacket waving at me. I was trying to keep the bike upright as it was like riding on ice but as I went past I realised it was my new friends and they had gone down in the mud and that is why everyone had stopped and was helping he signalled to me to take it easy but I was already totally focussed on getting through the mudslide follow a truck through trying not to touch the brakes and to keep rolling forward. It was not surprising that my new friends had gone down as there was absolutely no grip and I only got through by pure luck and the fact that I had slowed down to a walking pace because of the commotion. They where both on there feet so I hope they are both okay I did want to get involved but as a foreigner here I am not sure what I could have done to help.

It was damp and the roads were greasy and after the scare above my pace dropped considerably.

The roads here are not to good potholes everywhere. The locals make an attempt to fill them and fix them and then they ask for money to do this you have got to admire there entrepreneurial spirit but I think they are making it worse rather than better and I just wave and smile as I flash through. Got to Gracias at about 3.30pm problem is when you arriving in a town early you are less likely just to take the first place that you rock up to. I was looking for an address that Geraldo had given me but could not find it so went to about 4 different hotels which were either to expensive or too much of a dive even by standards. I normally I would have taken one by now. I was doing a U turn and a bloke in jeep asked me if I needed any help and I told him I was looking for a hotel and he said expensive and I said no so he said to follow him which I did and he took me to a place right in the center of town and then drove of. Thanks mate turned out to be reasonable so I checked in there. I went for a wander but not much to do in this place so I am not sure why it had been recommended. A one horse town but it did have a Chinese restaurant so I fancied a change so that is where I had my tea Chicken Chop Suey and it was huge no way I could manage it all on my own but very good I needed a change for me taste buds as there only so much beans and rice you can eat before it gets old. I was chatting to the Chinese girl there and it turned out she was from just outside Hong Kong so I was trying to remember any Chinese I knew but blank and my Spanish not so great either but it was entertaining.

Back to the room as was not the kind of place for wandering around in the evening I think I was the only tourist in town so another night in with my faithful computer and me oh the joys of travelling 🙂

Fireworks anyone!

Final thought for each town you come through there are loads of stalls either side on the side of the road selling whatever the town speciality is today it was fireworks loads of them just on the side of the road if one of these went up there would be one hell of a spectacle as no Health and safety here.