Saturday, August 1, 2015

CA6- Juayúa a Copán Ruinas (por Guatemala)

I was on the bus to Santa Ana just before 6am.  The fastest way to get to Copán Ruinas in Honduras is to go through Guatemala, so I did.
Juayúa-Santa Ana.  One hour, thirty minutes.  80 cents.

Adios plantas de café .  Adios montañas.

Luckily I asked the conductor 'donde puedo encontrar el autobus que va a Metapán' because after everyone disembarked he drove me to the bus, just a few minutes away.  But the moment I got on we left.  
Santa Ana-Metapán. One hour, forty minutes.  80 cents.

Usually the workers that board the bus are selling things like candy, and food, and drinks, and medicine, but these young men played music, a song called Libertad.  It was great, totally worth the 20 cents I gave them (once again, super generous).

After arriving in Metapán I only had to wait 20 minutes for a bus to Anguiatú, la frontera de Guatemala.  The bus system is fairly easy, the places listed in paint on the front of the bus are accurate, and the drivers are helpful.
Metapán- Anguiatú.  35 minutes.  55 cents.

Before we left I bought a slice of amazing banana bread from this woman.  I know what you are thinking, when will banana bread ever catch on in the States?!

When I arrived at the El Salvadoran border there was hardly a line, but within five minutes a line had formed.

After checking in at the El Salvador border I walked to Guatemala and found a microbus that was going to Chiquimula.  (I wasn't going all the way there, just most of the way until the road that leads to the Honduras border crossing, El Florido.  As it turns out the microbus just took me to another microbus that was heading that way.  The microbus I am sitting on now paid the other microbus so I just had to pay once.
Anguiatú- Chiquimula.  Two hours.  20 quetzales.

The driver pulled over for about five minutes to watch a partido de fútbol.

As soon as I arrived at the turn off to El Florido there was a minibus waiting.  It wasn't long before we were on our way.
Chiquimula- El Florido.  One hour.  15 quetzales.

Okay, we pulled over and had to get out to take another minibus to El Florido (but I used the same boleto).

In between the last picture and this picture over an hour went by.  It is a long story but I will make it short, and will eventually admit my mistake.  When I tried to cross the Guatemalan border they asked me where my stamp was.  I said I didn't know because I don't work at the border, but they didn't give me a stamp.  He asked me to go into another room where I was told that because I didn't have a stamp I was going to have to go back to El Salvador.  I, of course, said no; that was not going to happen.  He said fine, then go to the Honduran border and see what they say.  When I walked to Honduras they asked me where my exit stamp from Guatemala was.  I said they didn't give me one, because I didn't have an entry stamp.  The Honduran customs agent said that I would have to talk to a lady who works at customs in Guatemala (the place that I had just came from, the place that told me to go back to El Salvador).  They took my passport and asked me to wait.  As I waited I seriously felt like breaking down and crying but I couldn't muster up any tears, so I just waited.  For an hour.  Totally tearless.  Retracing my steps back to El Salvador, wondering what time the border closed, etc, and why I was waiting.  Eventually the lady from the Guatemala border came and told me to leave my stuff and walk with her back to Guatemala.  She told me that I had to (and always have to) check in on both sides at the border.  She told me about ten times, just so I was clear.  She explained to her coworkers that I made a mistake and told me I had to pay a multa (30$, much better than traveling back to El Salvador which would have taken a minimum of seven hours round trip).  I thankfully paid, kicking myself.  
What happened?  I was thrown off by something I read.  When arriving in El Salvador I paid 10$ for a 90 day visa, valid in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.  So I didn't think they were going to stamp my passport.  It was a stupid mistake, but the multa in Honduras would have been higher so I am glad it happened in Guatemala.
So, just so everyone is clear, check in at the exit point, and the entry point.  It is not that obvious since in between the exit and the entry you walk, and cross over bridges and... well, it was a stupid mistake.
El Florido- Copán Ruinas.  25 minutes.  65 lempira.

Not just for effect (since I already took three buses and five micobuses and crossed two borders) I took a tuk-tuk to my hotel in Copán Ruinas.  I took the tuk-tuk because the hotel is located a little outside of town, up a few steep, rocky hills. and after today I just didn't feel like lugging my stuff around.
El parque central- Casa Dona Elena.  5 minutes.  20 lempira.

I made it.

I hadn't had anything all day except banana bread so my first mission was food and coffee.

Copán Ruinas is a neat little town, with a very distinct central park.

My dinner at Pizza Copán was mediocre at best but my cappuccino at Café San Rafael was so incredible I forgot all about the pizza (that I gave away to some niños de la calle).

After walking back to the hotel I played the banjo on the roof.  One of the employees immediately came up to talk to me about the instrument, and to take pictures and video me while playing.  (So I asked her to take a picture with my camera...)
The banjo is a very foreign instrument in Latin America.  It is the second time I have been videoed at a hotel while playing.  Before I leave I am going to have a top hit in Latin America!  Or maybe a roof top hit, if nothing else.

Somewhere in my room is a gecko that I hope doesn't get bored and try to lick my eye in the middle of the night...


  1. Oh man Brady, if you don't turn this post into some sort of novel, I will be so disappointed. You had me on the edge of my seat with the exit/entry stamp issue. If I hadn't known you made it through with the shear fact that you blogged about it, I would have been worried. A real "page turner" my friend. AWESOME telling of the tale.

    Love the photos of your little town, your happy face with coffee and the vision of a gecko licking your eye.

    Oh, and the banjo playing on a roof top. Great, great photo and story. Way incredible... all of it.

  2. I had some adventures down there SCUBA diving in the late seventies with my Argentinian dive buddy, Boris Contreras, but you may have me beat. When you're back in Norte America we'll have to all get together over a beer flight and swap stories. I'll show my silver Piece of Eight I brought back from a shipwreck when I was in British Honduras (now Belize). We miss you but are enjoying your blog entries. Stay safe.

    1. You never showed me the piece of eight!!


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