This is the place for photos and reflections of my visits to Latin America beginning in 2012. Previous blogs are linked on the main pages of my photo collections on flickr. HAPPY TRAILS!

Saturday, June 28, 2014


We had just 2 nights in Antigua but made great use of our time. We stayed at my favorite little hotel in Antigua, Casa Cristina. We made great meal choices and enjoyed exploring the streets, colonial ruins, and markets.

Breakfast at Fernando's Kaffee, just steps away from Casa Cristina.

Dinner at La Fonda de la Calle Real; there are 3 restaurants with that name but I hugely prefer the 1 on 3a. Calle Poniente.

Susie told the Mariachi band at this Mexican place near the arch that it was Jennifer's birthday (a little white lie).

The mermaid fountain in the parque central

The cathedral

La Merced at dusk

Sculpture gazing at Nim Pot

One of the highlights was a 2 hour class at Chocomuseo which included information about the history, importance, and processing of chocolate and lessons on how to make an intriguing and delicious variety of chocolate drinks and candy. I highly recommend this activity, especially the tasting parts.

Our teacher, Marisol.

After a nice breakfast on Saturday morning, we packed up and hopped in our shuttle to Panajachel - shout out to Henry of Adrenalina Tours, safe, friendly, and reliable.

Happy trails!

Friday, June 27, 2014


We enjoyed the trip from Omega Lodge to San Pedro Sula with Miguel Martel, a gregarious, knowledgeable driver I have used on previous trips. He delivered us to the bus station where we hopped on a comfortable Hedman Alas bus to Copán Ruinas. We had 3 nights there, 2 full days and the half day before we hopped on a bus again. We stayed at the hotel attached to Comedor y Pupuseria Mary, a tasty restaurant frequented by locals - great choice.


Tipico breakfast

This nice garden area in front of our rooms had benches and hammocks.

The one nearest our room was occupied every afternoon by the owners' little boy.

Our time in Copán Ruinas was focused on 2 things: Maya history and birds. To those ends we hired a knowledgeable, personable guide - Yovani Barraza - to take us on 2 combined trips, Maya sites and birding. Yovani is the nephew of Jorge Barraza, another outstanding guide I have enjoyed on previous trips. I learned several years ago he had fallen in love and moved to the US; this week we learned he 1) lives about an hour and a half away from us in Oregon now and 2) is back in Copán for the summer. He joined us for our 2nd tour and we joined him and his wife Kathy later at a local cafe to grab a bite and watch Honduras' last World Cup game, at least until the power went out.

These photos are roughly chronological.

Huge, beautiful scarlet macaws fly around the Copán Maya site and quarrel in the trees overhead. It is the national bird of Honduras and there are many ancient macaw carvings at the site.

Team Jaguar

Ball court detail

The famous Hieroglyphic Stairway which played an important role in the decoding of Maya glyphs.

We also visited the Las Sepulturas site

and the amazing Sculpture Museum with a life sized replica of the Rosalia Tomb, discovered at Copán under other structures.

On Wednesday we were up  at 5am - the guides packed a nice breakfast.

We also visited the Los Sapos site near Hacienda San Lucas - can you see the stone toad, symbol of fertility? Jorge is spotting a bird.

Birding has changed with the advent of cell phone aps with photos and bird calls. We used binoculars and a spotting scope; for 2 of the photos below I put my camera lens up to the scope.

Boat billed flycatcher

Altamira oriole

Malachite butterfly

Blue crowned motmot

The view of Copán Ruinas from Hacienda San Lucas.

Thursday morning we hopped a tuktuk (golf cart taxi) to Macaw Mountain Bird Park. There were so many beautiful plants, flowers, and birds it was hard to select photos but here you go:

Note photo bomb at the top

Here are a few photos taken around the town of Copán Ruinas.

Another favorite lunch spot - Casa Ixchel, nearly next door to Comedor Mary.

The parque central

A gecko in the light fixture above our table who got dinner before we did (can't remember the name of the restaurant but service was sloooow).

I stopped by to visit my friends at the Ixbalanque Spanish School and walked through the neighborhoods of the host families I have lived with in Copán.

Proof I was there.

Thursday afternoon we checked out of our hotel and headed to the Hedman Alas bus station. In part thanks to a long wait at the border,

a '5 to 6 hour' trip turned into 8 hours and felt like 12. You know when the best part of a journey is, "I didn't throw up" that you have had better experiences. I'd go with Hedman again but on a longish trip like that I would pay the extra to be in the cushier seats up front away from the bathroom. Eventually we made it to Antigua, Guatemala for a much-deserved nights' sleep.

Happy trails!