Sweating it through the tropics

Guatemala is a country of drastic differences and stunning changes. From the chilly highlands we descended towards the sweltering jungles of Petén. Trading layers for thirst. The drastic highlands soon changed to a mirage of slash and burn agriculture in an area that used to be dense jungle. Sounds changed as well from birds like thrushes and songbirds to howler monkeys and parrots. Every patch that remained of jungle on the side of the road housed a family of howler monkeys. Their eerie calls echoed along the road far before you actually neared them…

 

 

We found ourselves on a very bumpy road that descended 11 km’s straight down to the town of Lanquin, the entrance town to the well known National Park of Semuc Champey. We had heard that the road was bad, but not this bad, cursing down on a mountain bike, not fully loaded would have been fun but fully loaded was trying, soon quads tired and forearms screamed from keeping the brakes engaged. I swore that there was no way that we were climbing back up that road…

 

ZephyrLodge

The Zephyr Lodge positioned on the top of the hill overlooking the Lanquin river and surrounding valley.

 

That little road lead us to a scene of beauty in this tiny mountain town of Lanquin where we met up with our friend Sarah, who we had just missed in Oregon and San Francisco, but finally caught up with in Xela, Guatemala. We spent the next few days touring around Lanquin, checking out the bat caves and went into the Semuc Champey National Monument site known for it’s natural limestone bridge and adjacent cascading pools that looks like a dream.

 

MsSarah

Our friend Sara who eluded us all through the states and who we finally caught up with in Guatemala meets us to catch up.

 

Semuc Champey

The cascading limestone pools of Semuc Champey!

 

Chilling in the pools

Sarah, Mike and I going for a dip in the pools.

 

After leaving Lanquin via a shuttle as it had rained for 4 days and the road was impassable coming up we caught a ride north to Sayaxache and got back on the bikes there to head north to the infamous Tikal.

 

CeibaTree

The Ceiba tree, the tree of life for the ancient Mayans. A tree so tall that it was thought to connect the three realms of the underworld, the Earth and the heavens.

 

NightSpotting

Going for a night spotlight in the Jungle around Lago de Peten. Anyone know what kind of frog this is? Let us know!

 

 

After spending two magical days in Tikal, staying late for the sunset and waking up at first light to go birdwatching in the park we cycled south again towards Rio Dulce where we stayed for a while swimming in the pristine Lago de Petén then south to the border of Honduras to spend the next month visiting with friends and family. Our first visit from family since we left back in September 2011.

 

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