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  • Writer's pictureXPLORid

Guatemala City to Nicaragua

Linda hasn’t been feeling well lately. This, and because of the sweltering heat and high humidity we decide to take the night bus from Flores to Guatemala City, cycle to Antigua and have some more rest at Lake Atitlán.

Señor Cielo Azul and Señorita Luz Solar are ready to roll again. The bus ride didn’t harm them. We cycle through the busy capital city of Guatemala. There’s a market which causes even more chaos besides all the traffic.

Lake Atitlán

In Antigua we take the chicken bus towards Lake Atitlán. We want to feel the vibes of this bus: the drivers of the old US school busses pimp them in a lot of different an colorful ways and there is often wild stock on board. After 3.5 hours and 4 transfers we arrive at Lake Atitlán's hub: Panajachel.

Mayan patterns

Several authentic villages are scattered around Lake Atitlán. Santa Catarina is known for its handicrafts and aguas termales naturales. We also notice the colorful and traditional Mayan patterns all over this little town. It’s all part of a community-based art project called the “Pintando Santa Catarina”.

The Indian Nose and San Juan La Laguna

From San Marcos La Laguna we join a hike to the Indian Nose.

A great lookout to see the entire lake.

Especially during sunrise the view is phenomenal. In the afternoon we go to nearby village San Juan La Laguna. We enjoy La Calle de las Sombrillas and La Calle de los Sombreros.

Let's ride again

During our short break at Lake Atitlán we regained enough energy to start heading to the border of El Salvador. Before saying goodbye we take one last shot at the mermaid fountain in Antigua.

Progress is very slow on the steep climbs towards Barberena.

It takes us 5.5 hours to do 14 km.

We call it a day in Santa Rosita and avoid a heavy rain shower on a dirt road.

Fortunately we are welcome to stay at Domingo’s and his daughter Roxanna. Our first homestay in Guatemala. It’s actually a family of 12. During the afternoon and evening we meet them all.

As a thank you we give our delicious coffee from El Gran Café in Antigua to Roxanna. Roxana has tears in her eyes when we say goodbye.


Only a couple of miles away from the border we can already taste El Salvador's national dish "pupusas". Thick corn tortillas stuffed with various fillings: meats, refried beans, cheese, and even squash flowers. The filled corn tortillas are cooked to perfection on a traditional grill named "comal".

Bienvenido a El Salvador

The border crossing to El Salvador is the easiest one so far. We only need to show our passports to the customs of Guatemala. In El Salvodor no check, no stamp.

Just a warm Bienvenido.

The custom officers even want to take a selfie with us.

Vamos a la playa otra vez

In Sonzacate we decided to change our route. Adiós San Salvador, vamos a la playa. This coastal route is 20 km less cycling uphill. Moreover we prefer the beach to busy cities.

Again we change our routine to solely doing morning rides. It is hot and humid in El Salvador, especially on the coast.


On our way to San Miguel we try to do some shortcuts, but the narrow paths between the houses made of corrugated sheets aren’t the best option to avoid flats. At a second attempt the road is much better. In this way we can escape the big carretera. And we can make a nice photo of the Volcano San Miguel.


A couple of months ago we had our first experience of an earthquake on this continent. We can still vividly recall the sound of the earthquake alarm.

This time in La Unión there is no warning alarm before an intense earthquake: 6.7. Everything seems to be moving. After 5 minutes it is all back to normal. Phew!

Muchas gracias!

On our last day of cycling in El Salvador the ladies in the food stands next to the road are still "clapping" when we pass by. Even though we only spend 2 weeks in this country, the memory remains they are making tortillas everywhere, non stop.

You can watch the video about our adventure through Guatemala and El Salvador here:

One week ago we filled out the form to enter Nicaragua. Just in time we receive an email that we are welcome.

We’re ready for the border crossing by boat to Potosí.


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