Our time in Guatemala is over, and all I can say is that it's a wonderful country of good people, food, and beautiful places. We will be back shortly when we go to Tikal in early April, but for now we are headed to Honduras to Utila. Utila is one of the Honduran Bay Islands. There are two major islands. Roatan, and Utila, with Utila being the smaller and a few smaller ones. After speaking with a few people, we decided Utila best matched our desire for adventurous, less touristy places, and we hoped we had made the right decision.
The Grand Tikal Futura - Guatemala City
Arriving in Guatemala City
We got to Guatemala City and it was dark. We were told to be very careful in G.C. so we never got out of the rental car. We got stuck in a pretty big traffic jam on a Saturday night, and as I drove through the city, basically not having a clue where I was going, I finally recognized a major street, and we saw a Taco Bell on the side of the road. I wondered how tacos were in Guatemala, and have always been a fan of the Bell. We went through the drive through, and asked the guy where a nice hotel was. We had spent the day traveling, and were filthy. He said the Grand Tikal Futura Hotel was nice and it was a half a block away. We pulled up and I ran inside to check prices. This place rivaled any luxury hotel in the United States with glass elevators rising up from the lobby before us reaching 10-15 floors, marble everywhere, bell hops dressed to the nines.. etc etc.. 105 per night! Expensive for Guatemala standards, but we decided to spoil ourselves and get a decent shower and a soft bed, something we have rarely been able to get together, ok not at all.
We ate our Taco Bell which is absolutely disgusting here in Guatemala. In fact, by far the worst meal we have had down here, and I believe I am still paying the price in the abdomen!
The hotel however was great! I showered, Shelly took a bath, there were even robes! J So about midnight, when I was about to go to bed, wondering how late I would be allowed to sleep in without the usual chickens cawing at 6am we grew accustomed to all over Central America.
Leaving The Grand Tikal
I got online and found out there are only two buses for La Ceiba where we take the ferry to Utila. Long story short, after getting to bed at 1 am, we got up at 4am to book tickets on our bus ride. Well we couldn't do that online apparently, so I tried calling around and did some research for 2 hours. The tour bus Hedman Alas, said they needed us to be at their private terminal at 8am to get tickets for the 9am bus. So by 7am we left the luxury hotel we only had for such a short time, tired and a little sick to our stomachs from Taco Bell. So much for relaxing in comfort getting a good night's sleep in the lap of luxury.
Going to Utila from Guatemala City
We dropped off the rental car, and the guy who took the car from us, said he would drop us off at the Hedman Alas terminal which he said he knew where it was for 100 quetzals. Which is about 5 dollars. We agreed, and immediately we realized this guy had no idea where the terminal was. Now we had only about 15-20 minutes to get the terminal to buy our tickets by 8. We were told there were only 3 seats the night before. This guy stopped and changed drivers at his auto agency car wash and this kid of all of 17 years old, didn't know how to get there either. He just keeps saying to us, " it's okay... I will get you there don't worry...etc etc.." I was starting to get pretty upset at this point, and really started losing my cool when. Poof there it was! 8am on the dot. I need to go with the flow more! At times it's easy to get worried about a future that isn't set and I was sure we would miss our bus and have to stay in G.C. another night. We got tickets and were on our way. If there is one thing we are learning on this adventure; it's learning to go with the flow and have faith things will just work out in the end.
Hedman Alas Toilet Incident
So we sat for 12 hours in a bus that smelled a lot like those little disks they put in toilets to help mask the smell of crap, but makes crap only smell a little bit more rosey? Ya that was us! We were sitting right in front of the bathroom, and were told that the bathroom was a "little backed up". 12 hours later, we arrived in La Ceiba, Honduras after finally falling asleep most of the way. We were fortunate the Taco Smell we ate the night before didn't make it's way out... it would have been a smellier ride for us. We spent the night in an air-conditioned hotel near the ferry port.. it was hot that night!
Heading to Utila on the Utila Princess Ferry
The Island from the Ferry Dock
The Utila Princess
The hotel was only 3 blocks from the dock, and we got up at 7:30am to get to the dock to buy tix to the island. The Utila Princess Ferry was unremarkable. Simply a boat, all inclosed which we found they called the Vomit Coffin, once we got to Utila. It wasn't bad, and we didn't get seasick. Neither did anyone else that I could tell. We got to the Island of Utila shortly after 10:30am.... and it was AMAZING!!!!!!! The road to Utila was tough, but worth it! We cannot believe we are going to be here for a week in such an amazingly beautiful place! We made the right decision to come here.