FRIDAY JUNE 21ST – DAY 16 – PUERTO ESCONDIDO – TUXTLA GUTIERREZ
We woke up that morning on some restaurant´s beach chairs, once again to the sound of pounding surf. After a quick spin-cycle bath in the waves it was on to tuxtla-gutierrez. 350 miles away. We were both kind of dreading the distance but I had a friend there and we had to make it in one day. We passed through beautiful winding roads through dense vegetation then onto long straights with windmills on both sides for miles. Even at 65 mph the air was hot/humid enough to make us sweat.
After ascending through a gnarly mountain highway we arrived in Tuxtla-Gutierrez around 5 PM. My friend Jaime was there to welcome us and took us around the city briefly and then to a giant burrito restaurant. Once again our hosts were EXTREMELY gracious and tried to make us feel as comfortable as possible during our stay.
SATURDAY JUNE 22ND –DAY 17 – TUXTLA GUTIERREZ
Originally we planned on only staying the night in tuxtla and continuing onto Guatemala the next day. Jaime convinced us we´d be making the mistake of our lives by not staying a day or two in the state of Chiapas. It didn´t disappoint. Jaime woke us up early for our first activity – A boat tour through the sumidero canyon. Steep green canyon walls, monkeys, and TONS of…crocodiles. Apparently we have to watch where we swim from now on.
Later we took a stroll through an old colonial town, ate pineapple popsicles and drank posol (a traditional drink made from corn and cacao) from a coconut. We continued on to San Cristóbal from there, which I am deeming the Park City, UT of Mexico. Trendy, fancy, cultural city. Tons of Europeans go there to live and visit. Finally, we visited the caves of rancho nuevo, hired a 12-year-old indigenous guide who spoke and told hilarious jokes in monotone, and then ate some giant corn tortilla quesadillas and fried bananas in creme. DELICIOUS!
SUNDAY JUNE 23RD – DAY 18 – TUXTLA GUTIERREZ – PALENQUE
Early church with Jaime, followed by our first oil change at almost 4000 miles and then chain adjustments. Jaime again convinced us that we´d regret not visiting Palenque so we waited one more day on Guatemala and hit the road east towards the ancient mayan ruins.
We climbed to nearly 8000 ft and went right into the clouds once again. We got wet, then cold, then miserable. First we went through cold, high altitude villages where all women were wearing the same purple dress then we dropped into the sweaty depths of the jungle where you either leave your visor down and get hot or use just your sunglasses and get pelted in the face with airsoft pellets (bugs). I generally prefer pain over sweat.
We arrived in Palenque just as it was getting dark and paid $10 each for the penthouse suite at a ¼-star hotel. Air conditioning was an optional extra $10. We declined.
MONDAY JUNE 24TH – DAY 19 – PALENQUE – HUEHUETENANGO, GUATEMALA
We awoke to the soothing melodies of various 10,000 watt speaker systems just below our room, advertising different breakfast promotions and other commodities. We ate our last Mexican meal. Eggs with chorizo, rice, black beans and of course, corn tortillas. We traveled the 5 minutes to the ruins and spent about an hour and a half walking around. The mayans had a pretty cool setup there. We left Palenque around noon and got back on the same road we came in on. More jungle, followed by higher altitudes and pine trees. We found a road that wasn´t on my GPS and it turned out to be a huge shortcut down the mountain to the Guatemalan border. All day with almost no rain. Hallelujah!
Guatemala to be continued!