Reluctantly, we left the little slice of paradise where Nola spends part of her year (Thank you again Nola. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit!).
Before crossing the border into Guatemala we detoured into a Garifuna town where we enjoyed a wonderful lunch of red snapper, fried plantains and coconut rice while watching the surf. On our way out of town we stopped at a house that offered pan de coco (coconut bread) for sale and stocked up on some rolls. Pan de coco is one of the things we’ll miss about being on the coast where coconut trees are plentiful.
Stamping out of Honduras was not a problem. However, getting stamped into Guatemala was a different story.
We stopped at the first large building, assuming it was the emigration control office. It turned out to be a restaurant where one of the friendly staff indicated that the office was a further 5 km down the road. We set off again and in a few kilometers, found a policeman parked at the side of the road. He indicated that the office was about 5 km away (verifying distances and directions in a place where most people don’t drive is always prudent).
It became a bit disconcerting after traveling 10 km into Guatemala and there was still no emigration office. Again we stopped and asked and were told the office was another 5km down the road. The third “5 km” was the charm and we managed to stamp into Guatemala.
The road became increasingly loud and crowded as soon as we passed the intersection leading to Puerto Barrios, a port city on the north coast, a major transportation hub for Dole and Del Monte. We shared the road with a seemingly never ending stream of the two companies’ trucks. Towards the end of the day we were tired of breathing diesel fumes belched from the trucks.
We camped behind a gas station and treated ourselves to round after round of coconut water. Picked fresh from the palm, the green coconuts were so full of water that they gushed when my knife finally poked through the nut after hacking away the husk (another reason we need a machete). The only draw back to the immature coconuts was there was little meat to eat.
The coconut water was the perfect, refreshing drink on a hot humid evening. A pleasant welcome present from Guatemala, on the occasion of our second entrance.