You´re are greeted by a military checkpoint upon crossing into the state of Chiapas from Tabasco. Every town had police roaming around with machine guns, the topes where the worst yet– both in number and in size, and the scenary was much more lush, green and mountainous. It was also extremely humid. I was expecting cooler temperature with the increased altitude, but it was one the hottest days of riding since I left Baja.
Palenque was teeming with tourists and venders selling tacky trickets along all the ruins. Not a very inspiring scene despite the impressive nature of the ruins.
The next day turned out to be the first day of rain for more than one month, but did it ever rain. Heavy down pours for over 10 hours straight. Now I understood why they have such large gutters in the streets and drainage tunnels underground.
The next day it was a short drive through the Zapatista heartland for a small town called Ocosing that was recommended by a fellow traveler. It turned out to be a pleasant town with wonderful ruins surpassing Palenque in sheer size.
I stayed in a hotel called Esmeralda Ranch. The owners of this hotel are from Iowa and invested a lot of money in a ranch next to the Tonina ruins. Unfortunately, the Zapatistas decided to target the ranch and invaded it. Today, the ranch sits idle and still held by the Zapatistas. The ranch was rated one of the top ten places to stay by Lonely Planet. Now they are starting over in a hotel in the center of town in Ocosingo. Although, I didn’t get to actually meet the owners the staff were very pleasant.
From the top of the ruins are beautiful views of the surrounding valley.
San Cristobal is a picturesque city, but it is overrun by tourists and stores selling jade jewlery.
One day was enough for me and I continued south for Guatemala.
The border crossing into Guatemala at La Mesilla was relatively easy once I found the right building. The border town is chaotic but I didn’t have any problems with the border officials on either side.
The lake is served by many “launchas” or little boats that depart roughly every 30 minutes. I spent some time in the town of Panachel, although it is probably the most gringo infested town whereas San Marcos was known for its hippies and new age gurus. This little girl was very persistent in trying to get me to buy something but I just didn’t want to carry any more stuff. I eventually bought her a coke and gave her some money for a photo. I told her to sit down and take a load off- literally, she was standing there for a long time balancing the stuff on her head. It was a weird but nice experience as we talked a lot about her life in Guatemala.
They were doing the usual stop and go routine but I convinced them to take a detour for some r&r and go to Monterrico which is famous for its beaches.
I didn't notice there was a river crossing, however....
We saw some beautiful beaches as well as some beach beauties.
The ride to Santa Ana was a pleasant surprise although we had to keep moving because it was getting dark. We rode through some beautiful scenery and a crater lake. We finally got back on the main highway and into Santa Ana. However, the search for a hotel in Santa Ana was another couple of hours. Exhausted, we finally stopped at a 'love' hotel for the night.
We didn't worry about security, however.
An interested take on the chocolate mint on your pillow.
Santa Ana is a nice town to relax. No other foreigners in sight we were greeted warmly by everyone. The only problem was the whole town shut down around 9:00pm.
We stayed an extra day in Santa Ana, but I was anxious to get to San Salvador where I would have a badly stretched chain replaced. The 'three amigos' split up outside of San Salvador.
Next HU Events
- Brazil: Feb 22-23
- Germany: May 29-June 1
- HUBB UK: June 19-22
- NEW! Canada Maritimes: July 4-6
- USA Colorado: July 11-13
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 14-16
Horizons Unlimited DVD Special - it's time to Get Ready!
Northerners! The weather outside is frightful, so what better time to start planning your next adventure! To help you get started, for February we're taking 30% off the Get Ready! DVD in the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'GETREADY' on your order when you checkout.
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
Membership - Show you're proud to be a Horizons Unlimited Traveller!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events such as this one (18 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!