In 24 hours traveling you can easily make it to Australia, Hawaii, Japan…Or like me make about 900km in buses, taxis, vans and Tuk-Tuks from Mexico, Barra de la Cruz to Guatemala, San Pedro de la Laguna.
After last days of surfing in Barra de la Cruz south Mexico I wanted to visit my friend Jonathan who at the moment stays in San Pedro in Guatemala. On the map the trip seemed pretty easy… but we are in Central America and things work different here.
I left Barra at 5pm 23 of April to Huatulco and arrived round 6pm to catch the bus at 7.30 at the bus terminal. I checked in my luggage and my new surfboard ready to drive to Tapachula, border town to Guatemala. But when the bus driver checked my ticket we realized that the lady from the ticket counter booked the wrong date. So I went to change the date only to get told that this connection is fully booked. Only possibility is to take a bus 2 hours later and with one 11/2 hour stopover in a town called Juchitan. No choice I took it. The bus ride itself was easy and I made it to the border to Guatemala in the morning at 10am next day. There hopping out of the bus a crowd of Guatemalan guys so called tourist border guides (in fact they make your life far more complicated) try to sell you their services – luggage transport, changing money, show you the border… After fighting my ass off I finally made it to the checkpoint to leave Mexico. The guy behind the counter smiled at me and said I must pay 306 Mexican Pesos for leaving the country. Beside the fact that I already changed all my Pesos to Quetzal (curreny in Guatemala) he couldn’t really explain me what the fee for. So he made me waiting for about an hour just to tell me that now its fine and I can pass without any fee. Then crossing into Guatemala the crowd of tourist guides was waiting again. Damm it, no chance to escape this time and I booked a 2 hours cab ride to San Marcos for 20 Euros. Arriving in San Marcos a small town in the mountains around noon at the bus terminal. It turned out that “today”, if there ever was, is no direct connection to San Pedro I have to travel via Quetzaltenango. So off to Quetzaltenango.
The bus itself you can imagine looks like the school bus of Bart and Lisa Simpson with colorful paintings on it. An the drivers also drive that crazy as Otto. With 70km per hour through the town no problem… The 2h trip was horrible, I tried to sleep but in every curve (and there were a lot) I had to hold on to a bar or I either would have bumped on the lap of my neighbor Jose or I directly would have fallen on the floor. So I kept cool and stared out of the window…
Arriving in Quetzaltenango… The bus terminal was a wide street where in no order 20-30 of this Simpson school buses stood around. It smelled gasoline, police tried to organize, the different bus drivers and there helpers were trying to get people into their buses and I was standing there in this chaos with my backpack, my surfboard and my adidas shoulder bag…AAAHHHH. After walking around a bit I found an older man Manuel who told me there is surprisingly no direct connection but I could take another bus to Sololá and from there a boat to San Pedro. He also showed me the right bus and there I was again. This time the driver had music on, Guatemalan folk music for several hours; torture!! Ipod had no battery anymore. Reading… forget it no chance. When the bus attendant came and asked for the money I asked him for reconfirmation of the route I am taking. Surprisingly he had another idea how to get to San Pedro. He will drop me off at a place called 148km and from there I can take a bus directly to San Pedro.
I trusted why so ever this guy and get off at km 148 somewhere in the middle of nowhere in the Guatemalan mountains. By that time it was already round 4pm. At 148km my only option was to wait and to talk to the owner of a small shop. Asking him the the question. “I am right here for a direct bus to San Pedro”. And this old men maybe around 60 smiled at me and said YES but the bus just left 10min before u arrived. But there will be another one. When?? Ahorrita he said, what means could be between 1min and 1hour… Not this wasn’t my trip.
But finally there was another bus and it went directly to San Pedro and I was happy when I arrived at the hotel after a last Tuk-Tuk ride and saw my friend Jonathan again… It was 5pm 24th of April.
Enjoy and keep being happy 🙂
Mario Carlos, El Tunco, San Salvador