But second chances are rare. Right? And that’s worth celebrating

I had planned on staying in San Pedro another week, but after a Spanish class that wasn’t ideal and a notification that there would be no power in San Pedro for an entire day, I decided to just head back to Antigua.  So I did that, stayed in a nice hotel to get some work done, and planned out the rest of my life. This was the place (Sak’cari) I stayed in San Pedro for a couple nights before leaving. It was very nice, and this was probably the worst view in the whole place.

Sak'cari in San Pedro
Finally, a hotel with some landscaping

Not much to say about Antigua week, kind of over the city, but glad to get work done. I splurged and stayed in San Jorge Hotel, which must be good because it has lots of retired white people in it. It was worth it for the quiet, good WiFi, and parrot that said “hola.”

I brought BC to Porque No Cafe, and we had the best eggplant ever; the people there are really nice so it’s the one place I’d really recommend in Antigua. Say hi to Carlos for me.

Then on Saturday we left for Semuc Champey. It was a lovely shuttle trek that started at 9am (I didn’t get picked up until close to 10 though), and arrived at 7pm. Nothing like 10-hour shuttle rides. The last hour or so of that was riding in the back of a truck to the hostel, which is situated right next to the National Park. That was the good part – the bad part is we were kind of hostages and had to spend all our money there.

On the plus side, the jungle is very scenic and it’s a beautiful little park. Is it worth all the trouble it is to get there? I’d probably go with no, but there’s no denying it’s beautiful and it’s a nice way to spend a day (unfortunately it takes a day to get there, and a day to leave).

The hostel is very nice and new looking, but it’s in the middle of nowhere so there is only electricity 4 hours each day, no Wifi, or anything else nice. But again, tough to beat the view even right form the hostel.

You can jump off this bridge (actually you can jump off all bridges)
You can jump off this bridge (actually you can jump off all bridges)

And then there is the actual park. The walk is only like 5 minutes to the park, so that was easy, and then it was about a 40-minute hike up to the viewpoint. It’s nice to look at, so here are some pictures looking down on the jungle and the pools.

Here's the view of Semuc Champey you can also easily find on Google Images
Here’s the view of Semuc Champey you can also easily find on Google Images
A shadowy Semuc Champey
You can throw pennies at locals from here

It doesn’t really do it justice, as it looks quite cool, but my photography skills are limited, and there isn’t much space to dilly-dally at the viewpoint area.

Another angle of Semuc Champey
Woo, nature

And then basically you walk back down. Here is a nice picture of the river looking up from the pool area.

The water is green
The water is green, like trees, and the money the hostel makes

But it’s hard to go wrong with the actual cascading pools. We swam for a bit (our group was all solo travelers: me, BC, a guy from The Netherlands, a girl from The Netherlands, and a Toronto girl) and just hung out looking at the scenery.  Because there’s really nothing else to do here but relax.

Another picture walking along the river
Another picture walking along the river
Preeeety pools/waterfalls
Preeeety pools/waterfalls
We swam in them
We swam in them

And that was the park. Took the better part of the morning, and then the other attraction here was the caves. BC was snowballing some white girl grouchiness (we didn’t have any clear liquors or Groupons for spa packages to ebb that growing tidal wave), then Toronto and Dutchgirl wussed out, so just Dutchman and I escaped and did the caves. It was us and a guide, each with a candle, walking into this underground river/cave thing.

Due to the nature of it being a swimming and wading experience, photos were not possible. But basically just think of a flooded cave river. It was us swimming through these pitch dark areas with just our candles, climbing up ladders, checking out the stalagmites, and looking at little underground waterfalls. It was all pretty tight (in both the space sense as well as the 90s skateboarder sense), but didn’t really bother me.

At one point we dropped straight down a waterfall for 1m, went completely underwater, then had to come back up and grab our candle from the guide. It was supposed to take 2 hours (with a big, probably out of shape group), but we were through in about 20 minutes. Dutchman was freaked out and hated it, but I thought it was pretty interesting.

And then the next day (Monday morning), it was shuttle time. I had not made good plans. I had a flight booked from San Pedro Sula on Wednesday morning, so I had two days to get there. I got directions from someone at the hostel, then altered them slightly. Either way, it turned out I had to go halfway back to Antigua in order to follow my new plan: go to the Copan Ruins, then take a shuttle up for my flight.  This is what my day looked like:

7am Truck from Semuc Champey to Lanquín
Shuttle from Lanquín to el Rancho
Shuttle from el Rancho to Zacapa
Shuttle from Zacapa to Chiquimula
Shuttle from Chiquimula to Camotán
Shuttle from Camotán to el Florido
9pm Truck from el Florido to Copán Ruinas

So just in case you’ve stumbled upon this page researching how to get from Semuc Champey to Copán Ruinas in one day, you can follow the above route. An alternative route, which I might recommend, would just be to go ahead and kill yourself instead. The first couple hours, in my opinion, provide for the most beautiful places to die.

My favorite part was probably getting dropped off at the border at night with no one around and being told to just walk through the border crossing by myself. So that’s what I did.

There were some people in the Guatemala to Honduras purgatory, one of whom offered me a ride to Copán Ruinas for 20L (<$1). Since all of my best decisions involve getting into a strange man’s truck at night entering a dangerous country by myself, I obviously decided to take him up on the offer.

His English was ok, and he was there to guide a bus of people to his hotel, which looked legit, so I decided to just go with it. He offered me a room for $10 (normally $25), so I decided to do it (I didn’t have anything booked either). The hotel had good WiFi, a pool, a nice terrace, and my room even had towels folded like swans in it.

This is hospitality
Basically what I’m saying is that I planned everything perfectly

Hotel Mar Jenny is their place, which in the end is quaint and a good deal for one night. But if I were planning a trip, I probably wouldn’t bookmark it.

But on to the actual town of Copan Ruinas. On my walk to the ruin site, I walked by some colored chickens.

seriously, WTF?

Now that that’s over with, on to the actual ruins. They were pretty interesting to walk through, and you can walk all over them and whatnot. I didn’t do a guided tour, so it was mostly just me walking around looking at rocks and assuming people were sacrificed there.

More rocks
Tombs, I think
Carved rocks
Pretty sure people WERE actually sacrificed on this thing
Atrium of rocks
This is from the top of some stairs
Giant atrium
So much room for activities
The actual cool Mayan staircase was being renovated
Hand-carved Mayan staircase. At least they think it was their hands, but do they really know?
They have a lot of stairs here
Mayans are known for their incredible calves
They killed people here, probably
I only had to sacrifice a morning looking at this
Indiana Jones set I think
I think this is just a set for Indiana Jones
Statue of a dude
That’s the dude that tried to pull out his heart
Copan ruins
It kind of looks like a weird playground

There is also a Macaw Sanctuary in Copan, but I didn’t have time to go up and visit it. However, there were tons of Macaws at the Copan Ruins, which was pretty cool to see them flying around. They’re difficult to take pictures of though.  But here is one.

Macaw sanctuary
This picture fails to capture how absurdly loud a group of Macaws is

I wouldn’t mind spending a few days in Copan to relax and do more of the things, if I were to do it again.

After that, I had some coffee in town at a special coffee place. A lady gave me a demonstration (I accidentally ordered fancy coffee, I guess) in Spanish, which I mainly just stared at her stupidly for the duration of. Coffee was good though.

And then, a 3-4 hour bus ride to San Pedro Sula. Getting to my hotel, I bartered my rate down to $100L (less than $4) from $150L, and then the guy who took me almost broke down like 4 times on the way and I felt like a dick for squabbling over $2 so I gave him $125L.

This city has the 2nd highest murder rate per capita in the world, so I’m just going to pop some popcorn then wander around the streets tonight waiting for something exciting to happen.

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