March 22, 2007
We continued on our travels by making a 9 hour trip to Rio Dulce. After the most uncomfortable bus ride we’ve had yet, we were thankful to get off the bus and get on a motor boat headed to a hotel tucked away in the jungle right on the river. We slept in the loft that had a thatched roof where bats lived. The next day we wanted to explore the town of Rio Dulce and find a place that was closer to the town. We found Tortugal where we have been for three nights. This is a very unique place that caters to yachties that bring their boats from places like Sweden, Canada, and Texas. This means the food is more expensive, but there are hot showers and our dorm room is above a dock and has a great breeze that battles the humidity. We climb a ladder to reach our beds and can feel the structure sway with the breaking waves.
From here we took a great boat trip up to the coast to the town of Livingston. Even though the boat was late, cutting our time in Livingston very short, the ride was beautiful. We passed by little villages on the shores of the river, hot springs, and saw plenty of birds. Livingston is very small, but it has its own culture being populated by ‘Afro Caribbean’ people. We enjoyed fresh fish for lunch and then got back on the boat to Rio Dulce.
The next day we hopped on a bus towards the ruins of Quirigua, one of three national heritage spots in Guatemala. The bus dropped us off on the side of the road and we had to walk 4 kilometers to the entrance of the ruins. We were not quite sure if we were going the right way until a big tourist bus full of gringos passed by, an d near the end a nice Guatemalan man with his wife and baby gave us a ride about a quarter of mile from the entrance. In addition to the ruins there were large sandstone structures that were intricately carved with Mayan symbols and calendars. My favorite part was the grassy palace floor, surrounded on all sides by big stone stairs that helped create an acoustic sound system for the Mayan king to speak. Even though these ruins were a tourist hot spot (the entrance fee was Internationals: 25Q Locals: 2Q) we were glad we made the trip to see the remnants of what used to be an impressive Mayan city.
We wanted to explore a nearby fort called San Felipe de Castillo, which was built to protect Rio Dulce from pirates. The fort is accessible by kayak or by foot. Wanting some adventure we decided to head out on in a two person kayak from where we were staying. After an exchange of frustrations, we figured out a system and managed to get to the fort. The structure was pretty amazing with plenty of hidden rooms and doorways. The ride back was a work out, but less frustrating. Andy and I agreed that we need to work as a team more often, especially if we are going to someday be on the Amazing Race. The rest of the day we spent waiting on the side of a road for a bus to take us to the ‘hot waterfall hike’ that never came. Not phased by this we made a trip to the Mercado to buy snacks for our ride back to Antigua tomorrow. Kathy and Randy, Andy’s parents, arrive in Guatemala tomorrow night for a 10 day visit! We’ve got a great trip planned and we will tell you all about it.