Thursday, April 09, 2009 11:25 AM
Guatemala Road Trip - Poptun to Antigua, Guatemala
Determined to be on the road at 9:00am, we woke early to a cold, misty morning, checked email, enjoyed a filling, hot breakfast and checked out of Finca Ixobel on schedule.
Continuing south on CA13 for an hour and a half, we reached Rio Dulce, a bustling town on the northern shore of the river. The crowded markets spill out into the street nearly choking the already narrow roadway. The whole town is a bee hive of activity.
Crossing the bridge over the Rio Dulce, we could see dozens of marinas, restaurants and bars along the shores and looked forward to exploring this area toward the tail end of our journey. From CA13, we headed west on CA9 toward Guatemala City. On the map, this looks like a fairly straight shot on what is marked as a major highway. In reality, it is a well paved two lane road that snakes through the Sierra de las Minas, following the Rio Montagua. The topography varies wildly from subtropical in the valleys by the river to nearly desert-like higher up in the mountains, vast expanses of arid brown dotted with cacti and other suculents.
We stopped for lunch in Rio Honda at a small restaurant Comedor Melina. The proprietor, Dona Norma, was our host and offered us the three meals for the day: carne asada, pollo frito and lengua con salsa tomate. We tried all three and each was simple but delicious. While we were quite pleased with our meal, if you are looking for more options, head a few more minutes down the road to Teculutan, a larger more modern town with lots of bright shiny restaurants all presumably with air conditioning. No time to stop and sit for a meal, hit one of the any road-side stands selling fresh fruit. As each small town approaches, the road sides become cluttered with small thatched huts selling the predominant regional crop: pineapples and bananas, then melons, then grapes.
After a bit of difficulty navigating the route in and out of Guatemala City we finally arrived in Antigua with a few hours of sunlight still remaining. We found our accommodations, Hotel Las Farolas, checked in quickly, unpacked and rushed out to explore the city. North of the Parque Central, we happened upon one of the evening processions and enjoyed a nice warm up to the larger processions scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.
Too tired to do much searching around, we settled for dinner at Chimino, one of the nice but expensive restaurants surrounding the park. We enjoyed our meals, our host and the musical accompaniment, but restaurants like this are not exactly in the budget for this trip. I'm going to have to do some research for tomorrow. We stopped in for a quick ice cream and latte at Helados Marco Polo and wandered back to the hotel to tuck in for the night, looking forward to more pageantry tomorrow.
Go to Antigua - Day 1