Guatemala and Belize

Start: December 15, 1988, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Finish: January 15, 1989, Belize City, Belize

This was a short trip borne out of an idea by a couple of my Boeing colleagues. They wanted to lease a sailboat for a couple weeks and sail around Belize. They asked if I was interested and of course I said yes. Then my wild side kicked in and I thought, why not take a month off work and do some cycling?

I flew to Guatemala with the intention of biking through the mountains and jungle up to Tikal, the famous Mayan temple, then cross over to meet up with my friends in Belize. Well, the mountains were OK but when I hit Coban it began to rain. And rain. And rain. It rained for three straight days. And I mean heavy, sheets of rain. Impossible to ride in. By the fourth day it had slacked off a bit but was still coming down. I said screw it, rain or no, I can’t spend another day in this crappy hotel room. I packed up and began walking my bike, in the rain, towards the outskirts of town. I rounded a curve in the road and was shocked to see a lake. Literally. The rain had created a lake about 100 yards wide that covered the road, which was already complete mud.

Stunned, I assessed the route north. Two hundred miles of this? I gave up. I took a bus to Puerto Barrios on the coast, where it was sunny and warm. The next day I was in Belize.

One of the many children street vendors in Guatemala City.

Leaving the craziness of Guatemala City I spent a day in Antigua, an old, quaint little town with lots of Spanish schools for the gringos.

An old convent in Antigua. Formerly the capital, Antigua was destoyed by a number of earthquakes and never rebuilt. I liked the shapes of these old stone pillars and the shadows they cast.

Lago de Atitlan, one of the most picturesque lakes I’ve ever seen. It is ringed by three volcanoes.

These two girls were selling their scarves and other hand-crafted cloth. I wasn’t interested but they were persistent, each time lowering their price by a few quetzals. Finally after several minutes they stated their rock bottom price, in English: “one dollar, special for you meester”. I bought it.

The town of Chichicastenango. There’s a huge mercado here every week, although I missed. Still lots of interesting characters.

In the Sierra los Cuchumatanes mountains. In Guatemala there’s no such thing as a full bus.

Still in the mountains. The great thing about biking is that if you can’t ride, you can always walk.

I finally reached Belize and rendezvoused with my buddies. We explored a little of Belize before sailing. Here’s one of the caves we found. That’s me in the red shirt.

I hooked up with my two work buddies and we sailed around Belize for about 10 days. When I retire from cycling, sailing will be my next mode of travel.

Finally caught a fish!

We stopped at many small uninhabited islands. Here’s a photo of the boat taken from one island.

Another small island with a squall passing by it.