Friday, August 26, 2011

GUATEMALA; Derived from the Aztec name Quauhtlemallan- Land of many trees


We can not believe we have been in Guatemala already two and a half months. The time has absolutely flown by. We  love Guatemala.  We have already been on numerous day trips and a couple of week long trips.  An incredibly beautiful country with gracious people.
Backing up a bit, when we first arrived at Mario’s Marina friends Karen and Cheryl (Interlude) showed us around the closest town Fronteras. Now to get to Fronteras (some call Fronteras Rio Dulce), the only mode of transport is by dinghy or the marina’s launcha. The dinghy ride is about 10 minutes.

Karen and Cheryl share all the important tips like here----keep well away from trucks transporting cattle as they make quite a mess.

They also show us all their favourite places to shop for fruits, veggies, regular grocery items along with hardware items.

Fronteras is scattered on both sides of the longest bridge in Guatemala.

 Fronteras is the transport hub for anyone heading North, South, East, or West. Here, looking eastward.

And here we are looking westward. If one vehicle stops, blocking the road there is nothing but chaos.This narrow "highway" through town comes to a complete stop. Then the horns start blowing.

We are in the Department (like a Province in Canada) of Izabel.

The landscape is lush, the heat and humidity exhausting. We travelled down a tributary and found these amazing water hyacinths.

Bounded by mountains- The Sierra del Merendon (Honduras border), the Sierra del las Minas to the SW and Sierra de Santa Cruz to the North, makes the Rio Dulce a well known hurricane hole. The lake/river is protected by the Bocas del Polochic reserve.
Of course we have to stop for lunch at one of the many good restaurants in the area. There is a morning cruisers net on the VHF that promotes many of the restaurants daily specials.

One of our first priorities is to have Ronny and his apprentice make our dinghy “chaps” which will help protect the dinghy from potential sun damage.


Marco, the Marina Manager took a group of us on our first excursion; to the Finca el Paraiso hot water falls, with a stop for lunch at the town of El Estor and then a last stop for a Cayuko ride up a river.
An inquisitive Mayan child watching us "gringos".

The Finca el Paraiso is a privately owned farm where for 10Q per person ( approximately 1.25US) locals and tourists alike can enjoy the fabulous steaming hot water falls.
The pond itself is very cool and refreshing.

But, the closer we got to the falls the water was boiling.

We could make our way underneath the waterfall to a small shelf in the rock where one could crouch. It was just like being in a sauna.

 For an additional 10Q per person Marco asked if we were interested in going on a hike to a river cave to see another water fall. A guide would have to take us....And what a hike/ adventure it was.
Heading down one of the steep, slippery, sharp, rocky hillsides to the river cave. None of us really had appropriate shoes on. My flipflops were so slippery I did most of the hike in bare feet…Really not a good idea.

Francisco our guide.

Marco getting ready to enter the 300 foot long cave with his head lamp.

Inside the cave, we excite the bats. Reaching the end of the tunnel we came to a torrential cascade of water.
Amazing we all still had smiles on our faces after our challenging trek through the jungle.  

We of course all had worked up quite the appetites so Marco took us to the town of El Estor where we had a very nice lunch at Restaurante Don Yuyo.

Our last stop was at a River where Marco negotiated a good price with young local boys. The boys paddled us up the river in their cayukos.

The rock formations were beautiful

The river was down so we had to stop before reaching a small village. But we still enjoyed the refreshing water.

A great way to end a fabulous day.


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