After a few more days in Antigua, getting the bikes and our minds ready for some cycling, we finally got on the road. We lucked out and were gifted with an overcast day and 20 miles of downhill on the nicest road I’ve seen in Guatemala and coasted into the hot and humid lowlands passing farmland and company names like Del Monte and Dole. We couldn’t have asked for a better first day back on the bike. While cycling the flat terrain on my refurbished ride I smiled and gave thanks for such a quality road, staring at the wonderful and massive Ceiba trees we passed along the roadside. The Ceiba, Guatemala’s national tree, has a thick trunk which makes it a standout among other species, not to mention its huge shade giving canopy. During our guide through Tikal, we learned the ancient Mayans revered this tree as sacred and often held ceremonies at its base. The Ceiba’s cultural significance, paired with it being blessing with poor lumber quality, grants us the opportunity to see so many of these tropical giants still standing today. Surprisingly, we passed the 100 kilometer mark and rolled into Chiquimulilla to spend the night, preparing for an earlier than expected arrival to the Guatemalan border with El Salvador the next evening. Well, so much for plans! Our next day was an ass kicking grind uphill to the town of Cuilapa. The heat was intense, my legs were in shock and cramping, and I ran out of water. I even stopped to hitchhike the rest of the way but of course was met with a dry spell in traffic! So, in the end, we made it under our own power, tired and sore, but sure enough on our way to getting back into shape. The next day we crossed the border into El Salvador.
We had spent about 2 months in Guatemala, and less than two weeks of that was on bike! No matter, I for sure enjoyed what this beautiful country had to offer, the mountains, Lago Atitlan, Tikal Ruins, Rio Dulce, Caribbean Coast, the people, the cultures. My expectations were once again met and exceeded.