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The Mayan Empire: first edition! (AME1601)

Saturday, March 12, 2016 | Manuel Marabese | North and South America

Day 14: Atitlan to Guatemala City

And the last day had to come, at some point. This new tour has been rich in every aspects: a great group of riders (actually, travel friends now), many astonishing sights of Mayan ruins, great fun on mountain roads, realx at a caribbean beach, enjoyable weather, what else? Have a look at our last photos... We kept the beautiful Antigua as the cherry of top of the yummy cake. Thank you everyone for being so good fellows in this centroamericana adventure!

Volcan Toliman and on the back the mighty Volcan Atitlan
Martin on top of the viewpoint
Sweet spot for parking our bikes... Catedral La Merced in Antigua, which was for two hundred years the powerful capital of the Spanish colony of Guatemala, encompassing Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Belize and even Chiapas.
Lunch al fresco

Day 13: Comitan to Atitlan

What a ride today! After a very quick border crossing out of Mexico we are awe-struck by the great sweepers of the Interamericana newly repaved. The stretch of road leading to Alaska pass at exactly 3000m is pure joy. Fast curves on a perfect grip where the shoulder of the tyre finally gets some smiles. Our way to Atitlan is still full of surprises: leaving the interamericana we reach the lake shore on small and twisty roads with spanning views over the three volcanos.

Conquering Alaska pass... a big fun ride
Picture-perfect view from Atitlan shore in Santa Caterina

Day 12: Palenque to Comitan

Yesterday we had a glimpse of what Chiapas roads are: extremely curvy and lots of fun. Oh well, except for those hundreds of thousands of speed bumps. It seems locals got inspired by the Mayan pyramids, since the bup instead of being a gentle round "bump" (duh..) is similar to the base of a Mayan temple, with inclined faces and sharp corners. A true delight for our rims (and bottoms).

Cascadas Agua Azul... true blue like its name today!
Quick roadside stop to enjoy the cool air at 2400m
Colonial flair in San Cristobal de Las Casas, the epicentre of Chiapas tourism and also Zapatista movement.
A few roadworks on the interamericana
Evening stroll in Comitan, another pretty parque central

Day 11: Rest day in Palenque

Another fantastic opportunity to discover some more Maya history and to relax at our stone jungle pool. Otherwise, those that fancy a ride on a newly paved curvy road can join the ride to a gem of a waterfall still away from mass tourism.

Before they started to excavate Palenque every ruin was covered by this thick rain forest
A great view over the Palace, mind-boggling construction from the 6th century with a double arcade and corridor systems.
The tomb of Pakal, the mightiest ruler of Palenque.
Time to enjoy a refreshing deep in the pool now
Cascadas Roberto Barrios, still a hidden spot for the most...
To jump or not to jump...

Day 10: Campeche to Palenque

Another long cruise today, first along Campeche's Malecon (waterfront), then some good-morning sweepers and a stroll along the coast. The rest of the day is mostly a highway ride through our last Yucatan prairies before hititng the wonderland mountain landscape of Chiapas.

What a surprise on our way! We are fortunate enough to meet two great travellers, Bea&Helle, also known as Time to Ride (check their blog at, they have been riding around the world since 2011.
A nice spot to spend a couple of nights, a jungle resort near Palenque ruins
Dinner at the backpacker-heaven El Panchan, enjoying Don Mucho's cuisine
Something traditional mexican... Pizza!!
Great evening with our new friends! Keep to rubber side down and enjoy your amazing ride!

Day 9: Chichen Itza to Campeche

It's time to get geared up and enjoy a long ride mostly through small roads crossing quiet villages along the lesser know Maya ruin area: the Ruta Puuc. After 400km inland we reach the coast again in the UNESCO listed colonial town of Campeche, built in the beginning of the 16th century by the first Spanish settlers. It's pastel-painteed house are simply astonishing!

It's hard also being a passegner
Colonial flair in these small unknown villages
Dinner with a premium view
Magnificent Cathedral of Campeche

Day 8: Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza

After some quality time of beach&relax in Playa we have ahead a veeeeeery long ride: only 2 hours and we are in front of the majestic Chichen Itza: one of the biggest late Maya-Toltec city of the glorious pre-Columbian past. Before gettign there we indulge in a Maya chocolate&coffee stop in the centre of Valladolid, a pretty and quaint colonial town.

Bootie time.. ehm, briefing time I mean. Oh well, this is Playa style...
Colonial helmet holder
Checking-in at our Maya hotel
He's the night guardian
Listening to the interesting stories from our archeological guide
El castillo, where twice a year during solstice the shade of sun climbs the stairs simulating the bosy of the snake god Kulukan
Group shot... uups where is Karin? and where is our local guide José?
Lots of Homer Simpsons! Those Maya invented everything before us!
El caracol, the astronomic observatory. Only two other round towers have been found in Yucatan
The "church" in Old Chichen Itza, the only building found in original shape and not being reconstructed
And this is the luxury view from our hotel... the oldest one in Chichen Itza, with direct access to the park

Day 7: Rest day in Playa

A rest day could not be more restful than this one: briefing... what? no briefing at all, just chilling at some of the Beach clubs, strolling around the fine beach or sitting at the tequila bar on Quinta Avenida and enjoy beautiful people watching with some electro lounge chill beat. Oh yes, for the most active ones there is the possibility to catch the ferry to Isla de Cozumel... And in the evening it's again time to enjoy some Mexican fine dining.

This is the frontdesk of our very eclectic hotel in Playa... uhm..
Yep, that's a big cage... just beside the lobby pool open 24h.
Also interior lighting is very thematic...
Chilling on the beach...
and after dinner, fish massage! Jeff is very happy, he was longing for that since the good old time in Siem Reap, Cambodia
and clubbing for those into some loud booms

Day 6: Bacalar to Playa del Carmen

Aww... nice to have 8 days ahead without any border! Everyone feels quite happy about that. The day goes fast, on some "pretty straight" highways (how many curves in 270km? five including the turn into Tulum ruins?) towards Tulun, a scenic late Maya ruin right on the coast. From here to Playa (where we are going to rest for a day) it's a mere 45min... 

How many archeological parks have their own Caribbean beach? Just a bit pity for the grey weather... IT wasn't supposed to be! Ehy, it's dry season now!

Day 5: Belize to Bacalar

Uh, what  day... where to start? Well, it was meant to be a quite relaxing and entertaining one, with Altun Ha ruins in the morning, then some rough road to stretch our legs and a fairly easy border crossing into Mexico, allowing us an early arrival at Bacalar lagoon... BUT. With border crossing sometime surprises (and never good ones) arrive, and this time some changes in the procedure that our fixer was not aware of made us stay in the good companyof the Mexican (female) officers for over 6 hours. Jeeez... We had to make the best of it and enjoy the sunset from our forced stay in the custom house. When also the last bike was cleared a cheerful crowd left the custom house roaring, direction Bacalar. Finally! Thanks to everyone for being so patient!

Jeff in adoration to the the god of wind.... ops, he should have prayed to the god of border crossing!
Gudrun tries to get a bit comfy in the long wait at the border...
another "hidden camera" shot thx to Donna
Yep; I clearly wasn't happy...

Day 4: Lake Peten Itza to Belize

The first border crossing is coming! After a short ride through we cross into Belize: quite a few steps for the border procedure, including a "fumigation" (anti bacteria wash for the bikes) and another stop for the mandatory Belizean insurance... and we are in!  

Everyone ready to go, also our hippie magic bus support van... Just kidding.
The Marina in Old Belize, near Belize City
and some Caribbean atmosphere...

Day 3: Rest day in Tikal

Rest day today, but full adventure programme: Tikal magnific Maya ruins in the morning, followed by a dirt road through the jungle to get to Uaxactun, a minor temaple area but magically silent without any other tourist, and to close this great day we went "ziplining" on a canopy tour! What a day!

A tall Ceiba, the national tree of Guatemala
Group shot with a proper Maya background
Plaza Mayor
The sweeping panorama after climbing the 70m tall Templo IV
Just us and three cheerful local girls in Uaxactun
Jeff watching the world Downunder style
Karin in Spidergirl-tandem
Have a good rest everyone... well deserved after the long adventure day!

Day 2: Rio Dulce to Lake Peten Itza

After crossing the big bridge over Rio Dulce the landscape becomes progressively more green and the forest more dense. Some very pleasant sweepers un and down those hills are a great good morning stroll! We enter the Biosphera Maya: not long time ago the journey to Tikal was very long and perilious, now it's a short ride on (almost always) well paved roads. Oh ja... except for those pyramid-shaped speed bumps...

Flores, a gem of an island-village on Lake Peten Itza
Someone doesn't feel too safe on our boat?
Iguana stop...
And after the sweaty walk to El Mirador, this is our reward...
and this one as well! Little salad for Karin

Day 1: Guatemala City to Rio Dulce

A new Centroamerica Adventure was born during winter time: after a 2-week scouting in December the route was sketched and in the following weeks all details were fixed. Now it's time to start! Jeff, Greg, Michael&Gudrun, Hans&Michael, Bob&onna, Martin, Rudolf, Karin (from our office) and Manuel as tour guide together with our local partner José: what a good fellowship! The first day went pretty smooth. Leaving Guatemala City wasn't too bad after all (we've seen worst yesterday evening during rush hour...) and we are enjoying an early check-in at the riverside resort in Rio Dulce, the most protected marina in the Caribbean where most of the yachts and catamarans come to escape the hurricane season.

Room view in Guatemala City
Lunch time!
Toros everywhere!
Ohh.... a well earned relax time.. poolside...
or riverside for the boot beer?
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Add a comment Rate this post
Michael und Gudrun
Monday, March 14, 2016 at 16:29

Hey to everybody
"Normal live" is going on again. It was a great time for us to travel with all of you. Thank's a lot to everybody specially to Manuell. Hope we see you soon again somewhere on the road.
Best wishes to all of you and enjoy your live !
Michael and Gudrun
PS: to everybody that did not have the pleasure to be with us - take the chance to go this Maya Empire tour - it is really special one !!!
Monday, March 14, 2016 at 15:16

Donna Torche
Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 01:16

Also, Jeff ... there were a few other names that come to my mind. I recall "little fruit plate" and "Jiff" Great meeting you and everyone else!
Bea & Helle
Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 03:43

Hi Manuel & all bikers of the Edelweiss Mayan Empire tour!
It was a pleasure to meet you guys on our way to Palenque yesterday and we really enjoyed our time together. Great conversations about motorcycling, traveling and more!
Maybe we´ll meet again somewhere on the road!
Cheers, currently from Chiapas de Corzo,
Bea & Helle
Manuel Marabese
Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 05:16

Hello Bea&Helle!!!

It's been a great pleasure to cross your road! Enjoy your fabulous ride north now!!!
jeff king
Friday, March 4, 2016 at 23:23

Great to see so many familiar smiles,sorry to have missed the party but snowboarding with my son and daughter conflicted.Looking at these pictures reminds me of my tuscany tear with Manuel,and my isle of man criminals Jeff&Craig,Karin best of luck. Enjoy Enjoy cheers jeff
Monday, March 7, 2016 at 15:03

Hola "EJ!" )

Yes, miss you too! See you next time, Gregorio
Ramona und Dirk
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 18:51

Hallo Karin, Jeff , Manuel and all other riders.
We wish you a great tour with perfect weather, a lot of fun and many boot beers.
Mona , Dirk
Manuel Marabese
Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 05:15

Hallo Mona und Dirk!!!

Danke!!!! Ja alles gut auf Tour... endlich wieder 20C und nicht mehr 35C...
R.B. Sperlich
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 08:45

Hallo Gudrun +Michael ! Wunderbar, wäre gern dabei, wir freuen uns mit euch.
wünschen weiterhin gute und interessante Tage !
Albert Knapp
Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 19:04

Hi everybody, apparently you are having a very good time! Sure enough Manuel is doing a great job trying to make it a perfect holiday. Enjoy!
Angela de Haan
Sunday, February 28, 2016 at 10:26

Heya, good morning Karin, Jeff, Manuel and all the other riders!
I wish all of you a fantastic tour! Looks like very nice weather and location!
Great rides!! Saludos, Angela
Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 19:24

hey angela > jeff here. good hearing from you and looking forward to september. we enjoy the trip. cheers
Sunday, February 28, 2016 at 21:47

Hi Gudrun and Michael!
Great opportunity we persecute you on the Internet and want the whole group a beautiful ride! Daddy Mommy +
Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 15:35

Wenn man genau schaut sieht man Gudrun und Michael ja doch. Schoene Fahrt noch. Naechstes mal kommen wir mit! Was fuer ein Motorrad habt Ihr?
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 15:59

Ha, ha, google translator can't do everything: The word should be "track" - we track you on the internet.
Liebe Gruesse


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