Managua, Nicaragua to Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico

Please find the photos for this entry here: Google Album - Managua, Nicaragua to Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico (Photos/videos should be pretty self explanatory, but just let us know if you have questions!)

Managua Nicaragua - August 20, 2017

With the three of us riding together again we set off from Managua looking forward to quickly making progress north cycling through Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In ten days we would reach the border of Guatemala and Mexico, our last passport stamping before entering the United States, after nine months of travel.

The first day was easy going as we pedaled the flat roads of the Pan American highway, a road we first traveled months ago in Chile. As the last few hours of the ride approached a group a lycra clad cyclists passed by, going twice our leisurely pace. We looked at each other wondering if the group warranted a chase, why not? It's good to keep touring interesting with some race pace efforts. Accelerating, we caught their wheels, as Cameron started talking to them they dropped the pace slightly so we could easily hold their wheels. Turned out one the riders, Larry, is Nicaragua’s under 23 National Champion. It was great to ride with some local cyclists and get a good workout to finish the day.

The next day, we left with the plan to reach the border town Somotillo and cross into Honduras the following day. Once we reached Somotillo we began to explore the small town, we were picked out by a man who was determined to invite us to his hotel. Instructed to follow him in his minivan, we continued out of the town until the road turned to dirt. Not knowing what to expect, but being comfortable as we have become accustomed to this type of situation, we soon arrived to his driveway. The room had everything we needed; a few beds awkwardly placed, some bedframes with beds and others without, a bathroom with about five bars of opened soap and most importantly a working AC unit. After a somewhat disappointing mission to get dinner, resulting in terrible ice cream, we settled with a few beers in a makeshift backyard bar before walking back to our room. The next day we would ride to the border for breakfast.

Honduras - August 22, 2017

We left our room in Somotillo after a few cold Nescafe coffees and some leftover snacks to hold us over until reaching the border. We had been talking about how it would be possible to cross Honduras in one day, as we were only along the short south western coast. But we would have to see how the day played out and perhaps we owed at least one night in the country. After quickly being processed into Honduras we sat down on a large stack of toilet paper waiting to be moved one way or the other across the the border. But, for now it would serve as seating for our breakfast of baked Yuca and meat.

After finishing breakfast we continued into Honduras looking for a quick stop to get some water. The heat and humidity of Central America often had is drinking six or more liters of water during an entire day, along with sodas and Gatorade. We found a busy little shop and each filled our 6 liter dromedary water bags, when we returned the empty bottles we were each gifted a cold carton of orange juice. After this act of kindness we talked with the store owner about our trip and asked him why he felt compelled to give us the orange juice (see video in album of his response).

Once we started on our way again, leaving the busy border behind; we thought it might be best to spend a night in Honduras as we had such a great experience in a few short kilometers. Once the heat of the day began slowing us, we found some shade underneath a tree beside the road. After a few moments, a man carrying a heavy load of firewood he had gathered for cooking stopped to rest under the tree. I offered him some water from my steel cup and gave him the remaining chips I had been eating. We watched a few others pedal past, also with wood they had gathered, as the three of us enjoyed a few last minutes of rest from the sun. We said goodbye and set off on our way as the man began his walk home once again.

That night we ended up stopping in Nacaome, we had planned to continue but once the heat of the day hit us we decided not to push for the border before night fall. The next day we biked 35 kilometers to the border with El Salvador and continued the city of San Miguel.

El Salvador - August 23, 2017

Particularly in a few of these Central American countries we had been warned to reach a hotel or hostel before dark. In San Miguel it was clear this cautionary advice held true. We arrived with a few hours before sunset to a busy city with vendors on the streets. By seven o’clock, as the sun was setting, streets emptied, stores closed, and the hotel staff waited for guests to return for the night before shutting the doors to the parking area. This served as a reminder that places can change quickly and to remain aware of how people are acting around you. After interacting with hundreds of people along the thousands of miles of roadway in South America and now Central America, body language becomes a key component in reading a situation. Especially when the language barrier comes into play. In rural regions of Bolivia and Peru people often looked at us with a sense of fear and uneasiness, other places folks would react with excitement and curiosity and some would rather ignore us all together. More often in Central America, I would sense people having concern or fear for our safety. However, we can now say that we traveled through this entire region without feeling directly threatened by anyone.

Our next stop in El Salvador was a day and half spent in San Salvador with the family of Noah’s uncle’s partner Cecilia. She had grown up in San Salvador and was very excited to show us the city and surrounding area. This stop also served as a history lesson and reminder of the ill-effects of US involvement in many of the countries we had been traveling through. We heard first hand experiences of living through the civil war during the 1980s and had time to ponder our country’s influence on the lives of so many outside the U.S.

Guatemala - August 27, 2017

We had contrasting hotel stays during our two nights in Guatemala. Another reminder of the constant uncertainty of what our next 24 hours of travel might bring. The first night we happened upon a hotel and restaurant on a smaller secondary road we had been traveling. With beautiful gardens and very clean rooms with fresh sheets it was more akin to what you might expect in a countryside B&B back home; although for a fraction of the cost you would pay.

Our second night we found a roadside motel on the Pan American with rooms available per hour or the night. The rooms each included a framed poster of a scantily dressed woman and too many mirrors placed on the ceiling and walls. For dinner we cooked outside our rooms in the parking lot, each eating a few ramen soup cups, adding an egg and chopped onion to each.

The next day we had about 140 kilometers before the border with Mexico. We woke up early and rolled out as the sun was just rising. At some point during the day we had a meal that resulted Noah and I (Eli) spending forty eight in a hotel after crossing into Mexico.

Please find the photos for this entry here: Google Album - Managua, Nicaragua to Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico (Photos/videos should be pretty self explanatory, but just let us know if you have questions!)