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Rio Dulce Guatemala

GUATEMALA | Thursday, 19 June 2008 | Views [1141]

a chance smileAmy, Turgay, Chris, Pa’ and myself headed out early in the morning on a small boat from Livingston up the Rio Dulce (Sweet River) to a town that bears the same name. The banks of this scenic river are dotted with fishing villages and individual houses as well as the occasional Finca (a plantation usually turned over to tourism). As we traveled in our small boat up the river we were able to view the daily life of the people who make this river their home; laundry being washed, people out fishing or just traveling on the river to transportationvisit neighbors or head to the market. Following the river upstream we journeyed through both thick jungle and steep walled canyons before passing through two areas were the river opens up one being El Golfete and the other lake Izabel, both are home to many large yachts and sailboats as the U.S. Coast Guard has declared these ports the safest harbor in the Caribbean during hurricane season. The fort at Rio DulceAt the entrance to Lake Izabel is the town of Rio Dulce (also known as Frontera) here the longest bridge in Central America spans the river, connecting the Peten region in the north with the rest of the country. This used to be the last outpost of civilization before a long difficult journey into the Peten region, thus the name Frontera, but with tourism and a new and greatly improved road system all of that has changed. our hotelOur boat took us out onto Lake Izabel for a view of the old Spanish fort that sits at the end of the town before finally dropping us off at our hotel. We decided to stay at the Hotel Backpacker’s which is owned and operated by Casa Guatemala, an orphanage. Ma' and Pa' check out the bridgeAThe proceeds from the stay and meals in the adjoining restaurant go to support the orphans and the orphanage. Although a great program if you plan on staying hear make sure you stay in the building that is separate from the kitchen facilities or you will be in for a rather warm and definitely odor filled night as we discovered. my and Turgay struck up a conversation with a Turk on the boat (the first Turk they had encountered on their travels) Gökçe was from Istanbul and after six weeks of studying Spanish was traveling all over Guatemala. They spent the afternoon and the evening chatting on the restaurants deck overlooking the river. The next morning after saying goodbye to Gökçe, we all (including Chris) walked across the bridge into town to catch our bus to the border of Honduras. Although the “direct” bus proved to be one bus and two minibuses each progressively smaller than the last, we all eventually made it across the border and boarded our final minibus for the day to the town of Copan Ruinus.

Tags: guatemala, rio dulce, world tour, world travel

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