After two days on the beach with changing weather and more rain, we decided to pack the motorcycles, visit the turtle museum and drive towards the boarder to Guatemala. In the rain we packed the motorcycles, said goodbye to the beach and drove the 10 minutes to Mazunte, where the National Mexican Turtle center (Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga) is located.
The National Mexican Turtle center is great and worth a visit! We would recommend that you visit on a dry day.
You can get really close to the turtles!
The museum had 7 of 8 marine-turtles (no leatherback turtle ), plus a lot of fresh water and land varieties
After a full day in the rain we stopped for the night at an auto hotel. Not even our raingear and my gore-tex Rukka pants could keep out the rain. We were soaked! Bring a line, so you are able to hang your clothes to dry.
It rained through the night, and it was still raining the next morning when we got up. The rain was light, and we stopped in a small and poor town to drink a cup of coffee. We didn’t have coffee and cake, but we did have coffee and tamarindo (right picture)… maybe you think it looks like something else, but it is not
On our way we visited a state government turtle conservation project “Campamento Tortuga”, which is a 3 km drive northwest from the light house in Puerto Arista. The turtles start to nest during June, but we learned that they only collect turtle eggs form July through September. Again we were at the right place, but at the wrong time. Timing means everything, when you want to experience nesting sea turtles and turtle hatching. The employee spoke a few words of English and in combination with our few words of Spanish and our translator on the phone, we learned more about the sea turtle season for nesting and hatching.
And they had a small baby turtle in a tub, that we could see… and the employee picked it up. Look how tiny and cute it is . The sea turtle will reach adulthood after Ten to fifty years after hatching (depending on the species).
“The lost years”: From the time the hatchlings take their first swim until they return to coastal waters to forage as juveniles may be as long as a decade. This period of time is often referred to as the “lost years” since following sea turtles movements during this phase is difficult and their whereabouts are often unknown. Following the “lost years”, when they have grown to approximately the size of a dinner plate, their pelagic (open ocean) phase comes to an end and they return to coastal waters where they forage and continue to mature. During this time, these reptiles are highly mobile, foraging over large areas of ocean (Source http://www.seeturtles.org/sea-turtle-life-cycle/).
During our visit it started to rain really hard, and we asked the employee if we could stay until the worst rain was over. They said “Yes”, and we were invited to join them for a cup of coffee.
Our best chance of seeing sea turtles nesting and hatching is in July in Costa Rica or Panama. We have decided that our turtle hurt will have to wait until we get to those countries. We had a great time and after an hour the rain had stopped. The manager of “Campamento Tortuga” came out to see our motorcycles, and to have her picture taken with us. Thank you for your hospitality.
It was time to leave Mexico and we got on the road to Guatemala. We were back on the motorcycles. Look at the pictures, this is how much rain we got in less than one hour… there was no water on the road when we arrived at the “Campamento Tortuga”.
BUDGET AND EXPENSES: We have been keeping track of ALL our expenses during our travel. We travelled 86 days in Mexico, and including every expense in our Toshl Finance app on the phone in average we used 50 USD per day. Check out this overview of ALL our expenses in Mexico: “Expenses in Mexico (86 days of travel)”.
A the Mexican border: First a meticulous examination of the motorcycles. Here we also to export the motorcycles and documenting our exit of Mexico in our passports. A lot of paperwork and it takes a lot of time, but the employee was very helpful and friendly.
Then to the border in Guatamala…
First at the immigration office and after that we had to import our motorcycles. Again a meticulous examination of the motorcycles making sure everything is in order (left picture). Also we were allowed to park our motorcycles in a no parking zone, while one of the locals was cleaning and looking after the motorcycles. We tipped him 5 Guatemalan Quetzal (0,80 USD or 5 DDK).
After 3 hours in total at the borders and we were ready to drive to our destination a hostel in Xela (Quetzaltenango) in Guatemala. It was only 70 miles (112 km), BUT…
First we hit a lot of rain… yes, I got wet but this time my boots stayed dry
Second we hit a lot of heavy local traffic – and it is really hard to pass if your can’t see a thing!
We finally came to the hostel after 3 hours of driving. We could park the motorcycles behind the gates at the hostel “Hostel Argentina”. A nonprofit and volunteer-run trekking company called Quetzaltrekkers (https://www.quetzaltrekkers.com/xela/) are located at the hostel, so it is time for some hiking.