Travel day (don't sit too close to me)

Copan Travel Blog

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Nice place along the riverside near Rio Dulce.

Hello all,

Today I woke up in my cabin on Las Sirenas a bit later then normal.  Last night's after midnight socializing, and the cool weather helped me to sleep until after 7am.  An amazing accomplishment!  Part of the problem with having such a sounf sleep was that I had some more fresh bug bites.  Some of them just above my belt-line, and right in my sunburned area that I have been developing.  Ouch.

We woke up within sight of the Rio Dulce highway bridge, so we certainly didn't have far to travel.  Elias served up breakfast of cheese omelettes with fresh tomato salsa, and a big tray of fresh pineapple on the side, and it tasted even better then normal with some Belizian hot sauce on top.  After breakfast I figured I would get a head start on packing.

Impressive wooden touches in front of this house.
  While doing that, and knowing I was in for a long bus ride today, I was able to recharge my iPod off of my laptop computer.  I got hot inside the cabin during the daytime, and I packed in shifts.  At about 8:00am we headed towards the boats home mooring area across from the Rio Bravo restaurant.

All four of us and our luggage piled into the dingy and got to the dock at about 9:40am.  Thoughts of relaxing in the interent cafe for a while were nixed when we saw that the place had just been painted and there was not a computer in sight.

My goal for today was to get to Copán Ruinas in Honduras.  I certainly was in dire need of a fresh water shower, and I didn't want to settle for less then decent accomodations for the night.

Pollo Campero money paid for this spread. Check out the little sand beach on the left.
  I figured if I pulled that off, it would give me a full day to check out the Mayan ruins near the town.  And since I was not sure if I could catch an early enough bus to San Pedro Sula's airport for my noon Thursday flight, I might need that day.  I checked with one of the local agencies to see if there was a direct shuttle to Copán Ruinas sometime today.  He informed me that I would likely need to take four different busses to get there.  He was also nice enough to write everything down for me and get me on my way.

Fuente del Norte was the company that would take me to Chiquimula, which is one stop further then I was told.  That should eliminate one of the busses I need to take and save me some time.  The bus was a non-A/C Pullman style coming from Tikal, five hours away.

The Rio Dulce bridge from our overnight anchorage.
  It was just empty enough for me to get a window seat and remain at least a bit cool.  A little girl roamed the aisles and seats around me under the eye of her nearby mother.  She wanted to talk to me about something, but I wasn't understanding anything.  I figured out she was trying to look at my iPod, so I pulled up a video and played it for her.  It was a clip from the 'musical' episode of Scrubs from american TV.  I gave her one of the earbuds and let her listen too, and she had a huge smile on her face.  I think her dad or uncle even recognized the show.

We stopped a few times for food or snacks before getting to Chiquimula, and from here I was told I could get a mini-bus to El Florido Frontera on the border with Honduras.

Yummy breakfast. Our last meal on the boat.
  I got off the bus and grabbed my bag, al the while hearing the mini-bus pitchman calling out "Frontera, Frontera, Frontera, Frontera...".  He was in a hurry, and i threw my bag to the conductor as the bus was pulling out.  Talk about your timing!  I guess it may be designed that way.

I bought my 10 Quetzales ticket and settled in.  My seat got better as people left and got on, and eventually I had my coveted spot on the open window.  This bus was not only the local, but it was the 'get off the main road to go into town, then backtrack back to the road and move on' local.  Our progress was slow, but I was still on the way.  According to the ticket we had stopped in nine little towns, and now they were kicking us all out.

View east from the bridge on the bus.
  I got my bag and headed for the next mini-bus.  After confirming it was going to the border we were off again.  My fare was still good from the last bus, but there were still nine more stops until we got to El Florido.

We reached the border, and I looked for one of the money changers that frequent such places.  I managed to talk him into $2 more worth of Honduran Lempira before we transacted things, and then I headed for the official looking building through the big gate.  It was a small border crossing with only four windows... Honduras entry and exit, and Guatemala entry and exit.  I got caught behind the only other two gringos that were on the second mini-bus, two girls from Quebec, but things still went smoothly.  In fact the Honduran customs agent was even nice enough to finally explain that my June 5th stamp while entering Nicaragua was a 90 day visa for the four countries I had been in since then, and that's why I had not been stanped since.  Finally, I know what was going on.  The only country stamp I will have totally missed out on will be El Salvador, having already had a Guatemala stamp from two years ago.

I was only 10 kilometers away from Copán Ruinas at this point, and things were going surprisingly good.  The mini-bus stop was a few hundred meters from the border, and with me there were five people waiting for some more passengers.  After about 20 minutes the next shuttle arrived and we took off.  10 Lempira and 15 minutes later we were in Copán Ruinas.  It is a tiny town, and after checking two hotels I settled into what I heard was the best place in town.  I may have been exhausted and smelly, but still managed to talk my way into a $16 a night discount for the two nights.  It was 4pm when I kicked on the A/C and collapsed with three Coca-Colas and a bucket of ice in my room.  Six hours on the road, and I don't think it could have been done any quicker.

I was finally hungry at about 8:30pm, and a walk around the cute little town found no attractive open restaurants.  I settled on some street food, a couple of pork-on-a-skewers for about $1.75 with fresh salsa and tortillas for the hotel room.  Very tasty, but hard to eat without a fork.  I hit the sack pleased and full at about 10pm.  Tomorrow I'll look into the bus situation and attack the ruins themselves.

Later, Phil

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Nice place along the riverside nea…
Nice place along the riverside ne…
Impressive wooden touches in front…
Impressive wooden touches in fron…
Pollo Campero money paid for this …
Pollo Campero money paid for this…
The Rio Dulce bridge from our over…
The Rio Dulce bridge from our ove…
Yummy breakfast.  Our last meal on…
Yummy breakfast. Our last meal o…
View east from the bridge on the b…
View east from the bridge on the …
photo by: Vlindeke