Guatemala's Center


Description :
A small rather charming village by a nice river

Comments : Most people use Sacapulas as a transport hub only. Why not therefore be original and spend a night there ? 

Where to stay ? 

  • Hospedaje Tujaal, street behind the church, right side / Q20 per person / Cold shower but TV in all the acceptable rooms
  • Restaurant Rio Negro, pink house by the river / Q20 per person / HW shower / Basic & empty rooms without view under the roof. 

Leaving ? There are quite a few buses from Quiche to Nebaj (Q10, 1.5 hrs) or Uspantan (Q13, 2 hrs). Schedules are unreliable but there are regular buses in the morning and a few in the afternoon. Last bus for Nebaj was reported at 7pm and for Uspantan at 18. Expect changes. For Huehue, you will have to hitch to Aguacatan first. A lot of buses to Quiche (Q4, 1 hour). 

The trip to Nebaj (Ixil Triangle) : SSSS / Right / Q6 / 1.5 hrs
This was a trip like I love them : the bus showed up from Quiche already packed and I had to share one third of half a seat (my traveling companions were 'large') at the back of the bus. Not the best conditions to enjoy the great scenery !
The road on the edge of the mountain was lovely as well : narrow, rocky, dusty and turning all the time. Excellent for the digestion !
My conditions improved fortunately a bit after one hour, as people got off : half a seat and then a full seat ! I could not enjoy this luxury for too long however as we arrived 15mn later. 

The trip to Uspantan & Coban : SSSSS / R & L / Q7 + Q3 + Q10 + Q2 / 2 + 0.5 + 4 + 0.5 hrs
This was certainly an interesting adventurous trip but it was a truly amazingly beautiful one. 
It started rather unoriginally with a packed bus ride to Uspantan : Q7, 2 hours, scenery on the right up to the split with the Nebaj road (if coming from there, save twice 45mn by getting off at this crossroad) and then slightly better on the left.
Most people spend a 'night' in Uspantan (at least 3 places in the Q20 per person bracket) for the simple reason that the only bus to Coban leaves at 3am. It actually did not look like an ugly town to spend an afternoon but I had a problem : the next day was Santa Semana and there would be no bus running. 
I therefore had no option but to hitch my way. Quite a few pick-up do the trip to Chicaman (Q3, 30mn), from where it is supposed to be easier to get a connection to Coban. I don't know how easier it was but not too many options did show up when I was there. Early in the morning and outside of Santa Semana would certainly proved better.
I was however not completely out of luck. A medium sized truck showed up an hour later. Yes, it would go to Coban or, more exactly to San Cristobal Verapaz. And it would cost me Q10 for the privilege of joining the dozen of people already in the back. 
Sitting on my backpack did not prove a good idea : I was getting all the smokes from the truck in addition of the dust. Standing up was less original but more hygienic and offered a better view on the left side.
About one hour later, everybody got off. I was not against the idea of getting more space. But then, a wonderful surprise : the truck turned around ! We had made a side-trip for those guys ! - Maybe you could have told me about it ? - I was the only transport available anyway ! That may have been true but I was still a bit pissed off by this more than one hour 'waste'. I consoled myself with the amazing scenery. 
It took us 30mn to get back to the crossroad (just after a basketball field, the road to Coban is the left one). There, the already great scenery turned even better with the view of the river below. 45mn later, we reached a bridge and the clouds. A few rain later, the driver stopped to invite me in a dryer place : next to him in the cabin. I hesitated a bit as I would not enjoy the scenery as much but my legs appreciated my choice of comfort. 
It was also easier in the cabin to realize how bad the road was. Nothing to compared with some roads of Asia, of course, but this was the worse road I had encountered in Guatemala so far. Soon after, the scenery nicely moved on my right side, with some views of the jungle and some splendid panoramas. If taking the 3am bus from Uspantan, this may be the only section that you will spot... 
We arrived at San Cristobal at 4:15pm. This also looked like a nice place to spend some time, with a lake, a beautiful plaza and an ethno-museum ('Katinamit', morning only) about the life of the Maya-Pokomchi people. But would there be buses tomorrow to Coban ? 'Not sure' being the answer, I took the Q1-2 every 30mn until 7pm bus to the city. I arrived at 5pm. Ouf !

See also the trip from Aguacatan