Sweet river, hot waterfalls, and a cool lodge
Sep 10, 2006
??? ??, 2007
. With the remaining daylight we had left, we braved a traditional Mayan dugout canoe, with very heavy wooden paddles, to explore the backwaters and then into the main river where it was deep and clear to jump from the swimming platform. Dinner was all-you-can-eat buffet of lemon chicken and various vegetable dishes, Matt stocked up on the former, and I the latter. We chatted with other visitors, read, and played cards for the rest of the evening. The next day, we paired up with a Dutch couple to visit Finca El Paraiso, locally famous for its waterfall fed by a hot spring above. We took the boat into town, then an extremely decrepit (even for Guatemala!) bus through cowboy country to the site. The fall itself was gorgeous and it was strange to swim in a cold river with hot water splashing on our heads. We clung to roots as we climbed up a cliff by the side of the fall, then soaked in the perfectly hot pools in the stream above. The stream disappeared into the forest, who knows where the source of it is. We were soaked out after a few hours and made the return trip back to the lodge for their locally famous all-you-can-eat pizza night and more hanging out. Although worth every quetzal, our two day splurge took a toll on our budgets, so the next morning we packed, paid, and pushed on to Quirigua.
Again, the perpetual question arose ¨Do we stay or do we go?¨ as it poured on us the morning we were to take a boat tour from Livingston (or LivingSTONE as Matt likes to call it...) to Rio Dulce. We decided to go, and rather enjoyed the misty gray scenery as we cruised down the river, with brief scenic stops that constituted the "tour" along the way. A couple of hours after we started, we arrived in the town of Rio Dulce, a congested, non-aesthetic place, very different from what we were expecting. We grabbed lunch at a cheap comedor, ran errands, then took a short boat ride out of town to the lodge we had chosen called Casa Perico. We were shuttled upriver, then through a "jungle tunnel" of big trees covered in epiphytes hanging over a side channel of the river. The boat pulled up to a dock and the main lodge elevated on stilts above the swampy ground. We took a tour of all available rooms by walking on similarly elevated boardwalks that connected all the outlying buildings. We settled on a room with a deck over the river, this place was one of the nicest we´ve stayed at on our travels to date