Like Pisgah, if it was in Egypt: Pedaling through Peten, Guatemala

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From Dangriga, Belize to Flores, Guatemala… the hills begin!

After our 7 day break on Caye Caulker, we decided to add 2 more to our lazy Caribbean vacation in Dangriga, Belize. We did another fun-filled snorkeling excursion to Tobacco Caye with a gent named Captain Doggy.

The first day back on the pedals, we ventured across the beautiful and at times steep, Hummingbird Highway through the heart of Belize. And I do say it was a fantastic ride. The farmland, hilly jungle and following a beautiful river kept it interesting. That night we made camp at the Blue Hole national park visitor center and spent a good chunk of the night spotlighting tarantulas that were lurking in holes around the campsite.

The next morning we proceeded to ride and made it to San Ignacio, a charming little hill town in Western Belize. We were almost immediately approached and greeted by Father Juan and his wife Maria who invited us in for drinks and a chat. It turns out that they have a son living in Charlotte, NC… small world indeed.

Day 3 was a short one as we crossed into Guatemala and decided to stay at a comfy guesthouse on Rio Mopan and take the day to plan our advance into a new country. Of course we also needed to discover what new junk foods and ice cream novelties awaited us in Guatemala. The next morning we started towards El Remate situated on the tranquil East side of Lago Petén near Tikal National Park.

Leaving El Remate is where it got interesting. We had heard tales of Guatemala roads and the Guatemalans’ lack of grading skills, but we are in Petén, the ‘flat’ area, so we didn’t expect big climbs so soon. We decided to take the dirt track on the north side of the lake which turned out to have some pretty rough sections of rutted and rocky climbs that were steeper than anything we had ridden to date. Not to mention the fact that it was near 100 degrees made it a challenging ride to say the least. With burly climbs through the forest, it reminded me a little bit of Pisgah (my favorite mountain biking wonderland) and I mentioned that to Mike. He quickly replied, ‘Yeah, if Pisgah was in Egypt!!’

Bike touring photo - Belize

Pretty nasty looking storm on the Caye Caulker water taxi.

Bike touring photo - Belize

The tranquil Caribbean in front of our hostel in Dangriga.

Bike touring photo - Belize

Met a couple of guys from Germany going from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego – here is Klaus’ blog.

Bike touring photo - Belize

Typical Belize dish of stew beans and stewed Chicken.

Bike touring photo - Belize

Ran across a Mennonite ice cream parlor on the Hummingbird Highway. The guy who served us didn’t know Gin’s cousin, Strong Jacob Yoder…

Bike touring photo - Belize

The inland Blue Hole for a cool swim after a solid ride.

Bike touring photo - Belize

I tried the Belizean delicacy called Gibnut. Evidently they served this to the Queen of England when she visited and she refused to eat it, so now it’s nicknamed Royal Rat.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Bienvenidos a Guatemala!

Bike touring photo - Surly Troll Guatemala

She’s looking fit, trim and tough… the bike’s not too shabby either.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

A very odd small bee hive.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Sunset over Lago Petén.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Lago Petén in the morning.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Hiking in the jungle at Tikal National Park.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Jungle tree.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Ruins in the jungle.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

The jungle fighting it’s way back on the ruins.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Lots of spikey things around here.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Tikal popping its heads out of the canopy.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Some pretty hairy downhills along the lake.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

This little piggy is running back to his mommy.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

At the West end of Lago Petén.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

The Flores waterfront.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Dogs on roofs are pretty common in Latin America.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Gin at an odd street corner in Flores.

Bike touring photo - Guatemala

Another sunset on Lago Petén.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/dustin.bennett.5070 Dustin Bennett

    Spotlighting tarantulas!!! F that, I’d be long gone. Nice pics – be safe – have fun – drink lots of fluids (beer)

  • Michael

    I had a tarantula hole about a foot away from my tent door. They don’t hunt people, I don’t think..

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

    You’d be screaming like a little girl! There was one in a hole about 2 feet from the door to Mike’s tent…

  • Nena Viglianco

    What is the white stuff on the plate with the stew beans and stewed chicken? Is it a Guatemalan version of potato salad or something more exotic?

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

    It is just plain ole potato salad. It is served with most of the stewed chicken plates in Belize. Pretty good though, I’ve always been a potato salad junkie!

  • Amee Houghland

    Your photos are of the chain. The bike chain that is ; )

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

    Muchas gracias!

  • Anne gilmore

    Finally get to leave a message. So happy Alex & Cat caught up with you guys. Wish they could go on with you. I am jealous since my avocation is Anthropology. Wanted Al to see Tikal. Pedal Safely. Anne Gilmore

  • Catherine Ostler

    Hi–not sure if you’re still monitoring this page, but just wanted to say that my partner and I are reading your Central American journey (and dipping into the African one too!) as we’re following a similar route to Panama (started in Cancun via Cuba). Enjoying following your route and comparing experiences. We’re now on Caye Caulker and want to start the mainland stretch in Dangriga–just wondering, did you take a water taxi from Caye Caulker to Dangriga? Thanks! Catherine

  • http://www.pedalingnowhere.com/ Logan

    Glad to hear! Yes, we did take that water taxi… Enjoy!

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