Guatemalan Roads – pushing on to Salama

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Out of Petén and into Alta Verepaz. Have I already mentioned the Guatemalan roads? We heard there were big climbs, complete with smog-belching, fast-rolling chicken buses (like Fernandita, pictured here). The buses aren’t bad at all, but the roads are definitely steep…

Out of Flores we rode through 2 days of rolling hills and 100+ degree temperatures before we landed in the beautiful range of mountains that is the Northern gateway to Alta Verepaz. After taking a couple of easy days around the Candaleria Caves, the rain began and we started toward Coban. We spent 2 nights in Chisec where we visited some local lagunas in the Mayan village hillsides and ate a lot of grilled meats (pretty much the typical staple in Guatemala, aside from fried chicken).

Did I already mention that Guatemalan roads are steep? The final ride from Chisec to Coban was the most intense ride to date. The Guatemalans’ lack of grading skills shone it’s face once more and we got a hell of a lot of use out of our granny-gears. Both Gin and Mike were under the weather so they caught a ride in a truck for the latter half of the day, but I decided to up the misery-index and climb a whopping 7,064′ to get myself into Coban right before nightfall. Ouch.

Over the next few days in Coban, the rain continued and brought a cold-front dipping temperatures into the 30s. However, we were still able to take a couple of day trips to the Vivero Verepaz orchid sanctuary and Lanquin/Semuc Champey, where Gin and I got stuck due to missing the last combi (microbus) back to Coban. So we stayed in the small mountain town of Lanquin for the night and got the first bus back the next morning.

The ride out of Cobån ascended through the cloud forest corridor where we stopped for the night in the Reserva de Mario Dary (quetzal biotope). Named after Mario Dary, who in 1988 was murdered after a long fight to save this preserve for the Resplendant Quetzal. Unfortunately, while we were there we didn’t see a quetzal, but we heard one and I think we’ll have plenty of other opportunities to catch a glimpse of this magnificent bird.

Bicycle touring in Guatemala - Surly Troll

Pushing up some of the steepest grades I’ve ever seen.

Bicycle touring in Guatemala - Surly Troll

One hill conquered… next.

Travel photo - Guatemala

Some freshwater shells from Lagunas Sepalau.

Travel photo - Guatemala

One of the guides at Lagunas Sepalau.

Travel photo Achiote

Picking some achiote.

Travel photo - Guatemala

Small fauna.

Travel photo - Guatemala

Gin and Mike working some chops at the Sepalau visitor center.

Travel photo - Vivero Verapaz

The master gardener at Vivero Verapaz orchid sanctuary showing us Guatemala’s national flower.

Travel photo - Vivero Verapaz

There are some very tiny orchids.

Travel photo - Vivero Verapaz

One of the gardener’s dogs.

Travel photo - Vivero Verapaz

Orchidias everywhere.

Travel photo - Vivero Verapaz

Pointing out various strains on a giant wall of orchids.

Travel photo - Vivero Verapaz

Travel photo - Vivero Verapaz

A small universe.

Bicycle touring - Lanquin, Guatemala

A mayan woman in Lanquin. It’s kind of hard to get people pics here as the Mayan people generally don’t like being photographed. There have actually been incidents where tourists have been beaten for taking pics of Mayan children.

Bicycle touring - Lanquin, Guatemala

Lanquin is a beautiful little Mayan town set amidst the limestone karst mountains.

Bicycle touring - Lanquin, Guatemala

A hair-raising drive down to Semuc Champey.

Semuc Champey

Gin climbing to El Mirador at Semuc.

Semuc Champey

The beautiful emerald green pools of Semuc Champey from El Mirador.

Semuc Champey

Another view of the falls.

Semuc Champey

The river flows into this cave, then back out to form the falls and pools.

Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey

Kak’ik – a Mayan dish that is a turkey stew that you build yourself with cobanero-achiote broth, turkey, a potato-like root vegetable, tamales, rice and a mole spice.

Semuc Champey

My beard seems to be flourishing in this protein rich environment.

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  • Michelle

    The beard is getting a bit grey old man! xoxo

  • John

    Is that the bridge from Temple of Doom?

    Also, look out Sam Beam! I bet that raccoon on your face keeps you nice and cozy in the frigid jungle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/loganwatts Logan Watts

    As long as it doesn’t feel grey…

  • http://www.facebook.com/loganwatts Logan Watts

    It’s not bad where we are in the mountains, but it does get a little sticky and smelly down in e jungle…

  • Taylor

    Your beard makes me want to throw up. Nice work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/loganwatts Logan Watts

    Thanks. Glad my facial photo could produce a guttural reaction…

  • Michael Viglianco

    That turkey leg soup needs it’s own food truck.

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