Two Up travel route. January - early March 2016.
We ran into Kyle and Stina (whom we'd met previously in Lake Atitlan) in El Cuco. They are from Pittsburgh and are riding to Panama and back. Kyle is an artist, Stina is a yoga maniac and they are now some of my favorite people.
We all got sick in El Cuco (reason unknown) and spent an entire day miserable at the beach. At least we had each other! We all stayed an extra day to give ourselves an ample recovery and a proper sunset.
Somewhere along the road in Guatemala, we passed a wild animal park. It was the type where the animals roam around large habitats and you ride around in a van. We had the windows of the van open until we entered the lion's zone and were told to close them - much to my dismay. Petting the big cats was not allowed.
Lake Atitlan is a lake surrounded by volcanoes. It's stunning. The road through the volcanoes to the lake isn't for the faint of heart. Once lakeside, however, one can and should take a boat from one village to the next.
The weavers in San Juan La Laguna use a unique technique. They twist the thread to restrict the dye in ways that render specific patterns when woven. So cool.
Tikal is the real deal. These ruins feel like ruins. The jungle is dense and the route isn't totally obvious. You need a map and you'll walk miles. The temples are often half covered in vegetation because they're fragile and to cut away the growth of years might damage the integrity of the structure. Wildlife is very present. The howler monkeys sit and scream while the spider monkeys swing - constantly.
Our good friend, Ben, made a simple request. It was fun to oblige. The recordings below are made with an iPhone. Forgive the quality. The photos are meant to add context to the recordings.
Birds gather and chatter in the trees of Parque Central every morning and evening.
As we were leaving the square to have dinner, a small but bold procession began their march around the park.
We had high hopes for for Carnaval in Merida but arrived to find the festivities had been moved out of the city to the fairgrounds on the edge of town. The event was now overrun with corporate sponsorship and felt generic and boring compared to the spirited festival we attended in Mitla. The night was made worthwhile by a arts group who paraded beautiful oversize Alebrijes.
For 200 pesos/person (10.67 USD), we took a 2 hour boat tour through the Sumidero Canyon. The canyon is a hot bed for crocodiles of which we saw 4 or 5. Our tour guide/boat captain took great pleasure in getting the boat as close as possible to the crocs (who could care less about us) and many a selfie was made.