Day 66 – Santiago de Atitlan, GU to Antigua, GU

Day 66 – Santiago de Atitlan, GU to Antigua, GU     10/26/10     Mileage: 106

 The weather this morning was great and we had a nice breakfast on the patio overlooking the lake.

Me in front of the Toliman volcano from the Hotel Bamboo...

...and Tracy too.

After letting breakfast settle we took the hotels’ kayak for a quick spin which was good fun and provided spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Kayaking on Lake Atitlan...

A nice setting to kayak for sure...

View of the Hotel Bamboo from the kayak...

Once the bike was packed, we rode over to Panajachel on the other side of the lake where we had a great lunch.

Lake Atitlan from the road to Panajachel...

Welcome to Panajachel!

Lunch in Panajachel on the north side of Lake Atitlan...

We took a quick spin around town before heading for our final destination today…Antigua, which is a cool Spanish colonial town. It took around two hours to get there and we pulled into town shortly before dark.

Antigua, Guatemala...

The Casa Florencia, our home base in Antigua...

After finding a room we set off to have dinner and settled on a place right on the town square called Chimino’s.

Chimino's is right on the town square in Antigua...

It was a fantastic dinner in a great setting complete with a very talented acoustic guitarist playing some Latin songs. Afterwards we walked around a bit more and capped off the night with desert and a glass of port.

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Day 65 – Monterrico, GU to Santiago de Atitlan, GU

Day 65 – Monterrico, GU to Santiago de Atitlan, GU     10/25/10     Mileage: 113

The hotel cocina was buttoned up tight as we seemed to be the only guests…so we made the morning coffee on my backpacking stove and snacked on some tortillas I’ve been carrying. So after our “home cooked” breakfast, we set out for Santiago on the southern shore of Lake Atitlan. The condition of the roads deteriorated once we started up into the mountains, but that was inevitable.

Back on the dirt...

On the road to Santiago de Atitlan, we bottomed the bike on some nasty speed bumps...this wasn't one of them though.

Along the road to Santiago de Atitlan...

 We bottomed out the rear suspension a few times over some large speed bumps…even though I was going dead slow. The skid plate took some hits as did the center stand and lower rear suspension linkage, but it seems OK.

Looks like we're going to get wet...and we did. Fortunately it didn't last long.

We pulled into Santiago de Atitlan mid afternoon and tracked down lunch at the Hotel Bamboo which has a fantastic setting right on Lake Atitlan looking across the water at downtown Santiago.

Lunch at the Hotel Bamboo

Looking across the lake at downtown Santiago from the patio of the Hotel Bamboo...

Tracy had seen this place online as well and we decided to stay the night there. The room was $65 including breakfast…steep by Guatemala standards, but worth every penny.

The view from the landing in front of our room...not too shaby at all!

After lunch we took a manic tuk-tuk ride into town, walked around a bit, had a coffee and did some shopping.

Here's our tuk-tuk taxi...heading for downtown Santiago...

Tracy and the tuk-tuk...

Tracy on the hunt...

We had a funny exchange with this shop keeper. Nothing is priced and everything is for sale…you better like to haggle!
Back at the hotel we had a late bite to eat, used the wifi and then called it a night.

Day 64 – Monterrico, GU

Day 64 – Monterrico, GU     10/24/10     Mileage: Local miles

 We were up relatively early and after the morning coffee, I did some maintenance on the KLR. The air filter was long overdue (again) to be cleaned and I had a new swingarm chain slider to put on that Tracy brought me from the States.

Giving the KLR some much needed luv...

After I was done giving the KLR some love, we went into “town” for breakfast…huevos of course.

I had to dodge a pelican on the way to breakfast....that doesn't happen everyday for sure!

"Main street" Monterrico...

Around town in Monterrico...

Tracy getting her cookie fix...

The policia ride dual-sport motorcycles...cool!

We walked off the huevos around town and then took the KLR further up the coast to the town of Hawaii. Once back at the hotel we did more pool time and just chilled out.

The ocean was very rough and the waves were huge. Nobody was swimming and all you could do is wade in up to your knees or you might get sucked out to sea!

That night we walked back into town for dinner and followed that up with a drink at Johnny’s before packing it in.

Fish, it's what's for dinner...

The aftermath...

Day 63 – Guatemala City, GU to Monterrico, GU

Day 63 – Guatemala City, GU to Monterrico, GU     10/23/10     Mileage: 87

 We were up relatively early but waited for rush hour to pass before setting out towards San Jose and the Pacific coast of Guatemala. I was a bit concerned about overloading the bike riding two up with all the gear, but the KLR actually handled it just fine! It was needless to say pretty ass heavy and handled like ox cart, but it was totally ride-able.

Packed and ready to go...

The ride down to the coast couldn’t have been easier as it was on a baby bottom smooth toll road that connects Guatemala City to the Pacific coast. The cool dry mountain air gave way to the moist warm tropical air with each passing mile and in 90 minutes we arrived at the Pacific Ocean. We rode along the coast in search of a beach front hotel to park ourselves for 2 days and knew we found the right spot when we pulled into beach side town of Monterrico. There were several hotels on the beach, but we liked the Hotel Mangle which cost Q650…or around $80 for 2 nights!

The Hotel Mangle in Monterrico...

The Hotel Mangle from the beach...

The restaurant patio...

The cozy pool area...

Our room looking out on our balcony...

Our own private balcony overlooking the beach...

We quickly parked the bike, changed into our swimsuits and hit the pool…beers in hand of course!  After some pool time, we split a pizza over a few more drinks.

Thin crust pizza + beer + beach = a thin slice of heaven!

That night we went down the beach a bit to another cool beach front joint called Johnny’s where we had dinner and a drink.

Chillin at Johnny's Place...

Afterwards we walked back to our hotel and chilled out on our private deck overlooking the beach before turning in.