Quick peek: 3 good Hills. Hot and Dry. Beautiful scenery. Border Crossing.
Its funny sometimes in the mornings I don’t feel like getting out and biking, just like most of us feel about getting to school or work. But once I am out and about, I feel the energy to keep moving. This morning was one of those days. I spent a bit of time lazing around, but eventually had to get going so I could do the day of hills when sun was still out.
I had spotted a subway in town and headed up for b’fast. I was never more happy to see a subway to be honest, after a long while, I actually see some food with colors! Chalk it up as a fine meal in Guatemala. And it was reasonably priced too, at 26Q with coffee! After the meal, I head out in the sun at 8:30.
The ride out of Chiquimula still had a little bit of truck traffic, but once I took the turnoff from the highway towards Jocotan, the traffic dies out. It started flat and the hill started the instant I took the turnoff. I had scouted this route and knew there were two big hills and one tiny one inbetween. What I hadn’t catered for was that these hill start at 8% and lead up to 13% before cresting. Why can’t people build roads at a gentle 4-5% where one can spin all the way thro, I could never understand.
Anyway, it was a warm day and though the hills were short, they were steep and I was sweating buckets. I stopped a couple of times for gatorade and fruit and every time, dunked my head in a bucket of water to cool myself down. I helped immensely. The route was heavily forested in these parts and was pretty to look around. The desert before Chiquimula disappeared, must be something to do with rains and hills I reckon. The last bit heading towards the Border was flattish and followed a river, There were a couple of stiff sections, but nothing too terrible. I had some snacks I had picked up and after one of the hills, I stopped to eat some. I found a local kid waiting for a bus and chatted a while as I had my lunch.
I got to the border at 2 pm or so and used the last bit of Quetzal’s and exchanged them for Lempiras. As with border exchange guys, the rate was rough, but I just had a couple of hundred Q’s, so I didn’t lose much. There was an exit fee of 10Q and an entry fee of 66 Lempiras (3 USD). The immigration was painless and the people were super friendly and wished me luck on my way.
The last bit getting into the town of Copan Ruinas was a hill, The scenery and the road conditions continued (good roads at crazy slopes) and I descended the last bit into town by 4:30 or so. Turned out my contact in town was on a trip himself and I had to find a hostel to stay at. After shopping around, I found a spot for 155 HNL (7 usd) and decided to stay. As it seems to be the practice, my Card didn’t work at the ATM again and I have to stay another day here to use the ATM. Bummer. Though a bit backpackery, the place is alright and people seem friendly too.
Route: Chiquimula (Guatemala) to Copan Ruinas (Honduras)
Distance: 64 km
Ascent: 1092 m
Descent: 901 m
Expenses: SG$ 28.16
Comment: One more painless border crossing. Honduras feels good.