5th-7th June 2004
Departed Copan for Guatemala. Seven buses and 10 hours later, having refused to pay the unofficial "entry tax" into Guatemala, and visiting the ruins of Quirigua with impressive hieroglyphic inscriptions, we made it as far as Rio Dulce where we overnighted before continuing on the way to Flores for Tikal. Although tempted with a week on board a 46
foot sailing catamaran to the Caribbean, we resisted and continued on to Flores. Tikal was impressive with a few more temples unearthed since Roger last saw them (including Temple V which you can climb up ladders to the side. European safety inspectors would have a fit here, since there is nothing to stop you falling off the top (other than common
sense!). Lots of thatched roofs seemed to have sprung up all over the place, too.
3 days in Guatemala is as much as we had time for, so off we went to Palenque by bus, then motorised canoe across the border, the bus again. Palenque retained the same charm it had last time for Roger with archealogists still at work excavating. The Mayans clearly had a good eye for scenic settings (or at least the queen did) - the nearby
watering hole was very nice (see pic).
Back to the border with Guatemala (sadly it was easier to go to Palenque & back than do this all on the way!) to visit the Lacanja area, with a Lacandon indian to guide us through the jungle to some Mayan ruins as yet unopened to the general public. Authentic trek through jungle, across numerous wooden planks/trees over rivers to get there, with
interesting wildlife on the way. Following day included an hour´s ride on motorised canoe down the Usumacinta river until we reached Yaxchilan - a Mayan ruin utterly surrounded by jungle with the cacophony of Howler monkeys to add to the atmosphere. Thoroughly enjoyable! Next to Bonampak, with its very impressive murals, still in full colour after
all these years, though not quite in as perfect condition as they once were (see pic).