Thursday, December 10, 2009
Jerry and I normally go to a place once and mark it off our list, not to return, only to look back at our memories, pictures and notes, this time we used one of our favorite places as a home base to do several other things on our list… go to Copan, Honduras and climb an active volcano; with no restrictions of getting as close as your own body will allow to the molten lava.
On our first trip to Guatemala we stayed in Antigua, Panza Verde Hotel and Restaurant …and to this day it is top of the list, but the need for such a romantic place with the most expensive food was not what we needed. We needed peace and quiet, time to relax, and a place to settle into. This time we choose a hotel middle of the road cost wise, Quinta de la Flores… but a favorite in my mind in that it was spacious and quiet! While each room was full, Friday night we rarely crossed paths with other guest, only to eat, or catch a cab.
While Antigua was our home base as I called it, Honduras, Copan Ruins were our main goal for the trip. We had our bags locked up in Antigua and took only what we needed for the trip, in our little back packs… got up long before the sun, and took a van into Honduras. In the van we got lucky we were the ONLY TWO people in the van, this allowed Jerry to lay in the front bench and sleep, how, I have no idea. I was having a hard time just sitting up straight. Laws are different where ever you go, but there are no laws that say a vehicle in Guatemala or Honduras have to have lights/ functional lights I should say! So on several occasions our van would be IN the ON coming traffic lane get over into the correct travel lane and suddenly a metal wall was in front of us. 18 wheelers with NO LIGHTS what so ever. Not to mention the people on bicycles, or walking, and animals of all sizes in the road, all around 3 am in the morning? What are people thinking?
We got to the boarder, and frankly I was worried, but our driver was so well known… we filled out NO paperwork, paid our fees, got our stamp!!! HE stamped our passports while the woman ate her breakfast, and he dropped us at our hotel! Don’t expect the same! There are 6 windows for paperwork… This guy has driven from Antigua to this Honduras Boarder for 2 years EVERY DAY! Everyone greeted him, arms waved, words exchanged (that I didn’t understand) and horns honked every few feet.
Living quarters appeared to be somewhat worse than most of Guatemala BUT Copan is not a major city and few tourist make it there. “We’re not in Kansas anymore” … was Jerry’s quote. To my surprise… our Hotel, Yat Belam, was FAR beyond what I expected. Air Conditioning, a fridge, cable, movies, drying rack for clothes, private balcony, enough room to sleep 4 or 6, sound proofed windows with UV protection, public outdoor living room with books, sofas etc. Nice place! And GREAT Cappuccino; best of the entire trip!
The ruins are something that will take me weeks to express! Of the Mayan ruins this one is on the top of my list. We practically had the place to our selves, we ran into less than 10 other tourist.