Today was a very long day of travelling. We were due to leave Antigua at 5 so I got up at 4 to repack my bags ready for the trip ahead. Unfortunately one of our group was a little late getting ready so by the time we reached the Guatemala City ring road the traffic was horrendous and it took a long time to get through. Our minibus driver did the best he could but this involved some very positive driving which made me feel a little carsick which is a very rare occurrence for me.
We were due to stop for breakfast on the way between Guatemala City and the border but this turned into a late brunch / early lunch but it was at a nice rest-stop cafe where I decided to have an Omelette. The journey on from here, however, was just as chaotic as the journey through Guatemala City.
Most places around the world when they do maintenance on the road they either do it overnight so as not to cause chaos or they have some sort of alternate route in place. However in Guatemala they just close the roads for hours and create all sorts of chaos when people try to force their way through anyway. When we finally came to a halt the maintenance workers told us it would be another hour before they opened the road again so we gave up and sat outside in the sun for a bit – before a rather hasty scramble back into the minibus when traffic started moving again 10 minutes later.
It took about an hour to cross the border from Guatemala to Honduras, which was up a mountain pass on the way to Copan Ruinas – our first destination in Honduras. As soon as we arrived at the border area money changers came from nowhere trying to exchange our money just like when I was in Africa. They’re usually honest but make sure you know the official rate in advance and have a calculator handy so you can check their calculations as sometimes they will try to short change you. They’re more accurate when you speak a little Spanish though and I ended up with a load of coins which I decided to spend buying bottled water before the border formalities had been concluded.
Now we’re in the town of Copan Ruinas, just across the border in Honduras. It’s quite a nice town with very steep cobbled streets leading to a central square. We had a group dinner in town at Via Via while discussing what activities were available to us in the town – top of my list are the Mayan ruins just outside town but we’ve worked out there’s a way to fit in the ruins, the local bird park and a visit to the hot springs so it should be quite a busy day tomorrow. Time for a few drinks with the group before heading back to the hotel to catch some sleep.