...what a stunning part of the world!
We didn't arrive at Rio Dulce until the early evening after the sun had already set, but even in the darkness, you could tell that this was a very sweet spot in Guatemala. The city of Rio Dulce is nothing to write home about, just another Guatemalan city, but there are a couple of lovely restaurants and bars that have some prime locations right on the river.
We had booked a couple of beds in at "Kangaroo", which is an Australian and Mexican run hostel that is about a 10minute boat ride from Rio Dulce. Gary (the Aussie), had informed us to go to the Sun Deck Bar, which was right on the river and they would call him to collect us when we arrived. I was not even half way through my Corona when he showed up. How is that for service?!
Gary and Graciela have owned and run Kangaroo for the past eight years. Gary is an ex builder from Australia who moved over to Guatemala about ten years ago and is about as Australian as you get (hearing him speak Spanish with such an Aussie accent was quick an experience...do I sound that bad?!). When he saw the property go up on the market, he jumped at the chance to buy it as he saw its potential. When he purchased it, it was nothing but a few reinforcements into the river (there is no land on the entire property...you are literally on a deck over the water! A very interesting way to live!). Now there is a huge wooden cabin which includes the restaurant, dorm facilities and the main lounge. Out the back are about five smaller private cabins and a hot tub. With a set-up like that, it is very easy to lose a couple of days relaxing here! Not only are the location and facilities fantastic, but so is the food. Graciela prepares some amazing Mexican dishes (let's just say I well and truly broke my no more tortillas for a while rule!). It certainly has gotten me very excited for visiting Mexico.
We were also very fortunate to come across some really lovely fellow travellers during our stay. There was Ed from New Zealand (who I actually knew from San Pedro), Ihban from Israel (not actually sure if that's how you spell her name), Chang from Perth (who was a friend of Felix's from Xela), Sabrina from Germany (who was travelling with Chang), an Israeli couple (don't think I ever caught their names even though I spoke to them quite often! Happens way more than I would like to admit!) and an Israeli family with three small children. Through and through, it was a lovely group of like minded people who just wanted to relax and enjoy everything that this beautiful region had to offer.
Gary is definitely a people person and goes above and beyond in accommodating his guests and advising what there is to offer in the area. He recommended the group to begin our full day in Rio Dulce with swimming in the agua caliente (hot water) waterfalls of Finca el Paraiso and then to El Boqueron where we can canoe through a gorge and swim in the river. After his thorough sales pitch, it didn't take long for him to convince the group that this is what we needed to do! And even though this new plan required us to change our plans and stay there an extra night (we had initially planned on one), it was well worth it!
Our final day, we packed up our things and made our way via the 9.30am water taxi to Livingston. Until next time Rio Dulce...
Hope this finds you well, wherever it is in the world that you are
Our neighbours at Kangaroo...everything on stilts! Amazing!
The big smoke of Rio Dulce!
We took a collectivo for our day trip to the waterfalls and the gorge...yes, I am serious! The clown car was in full effect. I coudn´t believe how many times we stopped to collect more people! People on the roof. Random children in our laps. It was hysterical! Cheap, fun and clearly the only way to travel within Guatemala...
I spied this lovely lady on our hike to the agua caliente waterfalls...gorgeous.
Agua caliente! It was a lovely afternoon dip!
I am not sure what type of ants these are, but they are everywhere in Guatemala and are mesmerising to watch! They are always carrying leaves, and always in a line, and I have absolutely no idea what they do with them...they had quite an audience watching them! Ed, Felix and I were captivated for about fifteen minutes! Simple minds.
Our mode of transport into the gorge.
Kangaroo on the water...
Castillo de San Felipe...St Felipe´s Castle...Ihban, Felix, Ed and I took the kayaks out for a fun ride over to check out this pre-classical castle that was built in 1644.
Lillies on the river...