Rio Dulce

Rio Dulce was one of my all time favorite spots of our trip. As we took a 4 hour bus ride down, we noticed the coast gradually change from hills and dryer areas to palm trees and humidity. We were uncertain whether we were landing at the right spot when we got out but we found our way down to the dock and someone there called our hotel for us. A little boat showed up and we climbed aboard and rode over to the last stay of our trip. We spent out time at the Tortugal River Lodge which was right off of Rio Dulce. We had a beautiful place to stay - nothing like I had ever seen before. We took a little path back through jungle plants and palm trees to our room which was in its own little building. We hung out in the hammock by our room and listened to the birds and water.
Once we put our things away, we got a big plate of nachos to share since Kyle's plate was so good the night before. We looked out at the lake where we were at and talked to some of the people who were also staying there. We had dinner later on and each had the best smoothies - Kyle got a banana one and I got a pineapple one. We went to bed early since we were going to be spending the next day on the river. Going back to the hotel, I went to dry my hands with a towel and noticed it felt particularly soft in one spot. Looking down, I saw a big web with little eggs and freaked out once I saw where it came from. Poor Kyle jumped up, not knowing what it was and thankfully, still killed it for me. I have not had good luck with bugs and spiders particularly this trip.

Our hotel called an early boat and we got on with some other friends we had made at the hotel from Vancouver, Canada. From the start the Rio Dulce (Sweet River) was breathtaking. Clear blue waters and deep green shores. 

Our driver first took us out to an old Spanish fort that  was built in the 1500's to keep pirates out. 
We then went to a bird island where a ton of birds were just hanging out. 
He took us to a cove with a lot of lily pads where we also looked for manatees. We learned earlier that the reason pirates are also called Buccaneers is because they would eat the manatee meat which is called bucan. No manatees showed up unfortunately but we were able to see more birds and neat homes along the side of the river. 
We stopped at a natural mineral hot water stop and I could barely put my foot in. It was far worse
than a hot tub but if you got right in between the river water and the hot water it was just right. 
We made our way down to the end of the river right before it connects with the Caribbean Sea. This part was probably my favorite because the banks were really steep and covered in greenery. It looked like Jurassic Park or another type of beautiful island. 
Once we saw the view of the ocean, I couldn't wait to get out to the beach. We had to pass through Livingston which is a combination of Guatemalan heritage and island life. We were immediately followed by a guy who gave us advice and unfortunately did not leave us alone for most of the trip, sadly trying to make some money. We went with our friends from Canada out to a beach which was a 10 minute car ride from Livingston. We got out there and ordered some more pineapple drinks. They had a dock with a little 2 story open house at the end with 4 hammocks. We relaxed there and listened to the water and felt the breeze while drinking our sodas. The water was so warm and if we would have had more time, I think I would have jumped in. 
We made our way back and ate at a little place right off the water where I had my first big coconut with the coconut water. So refreshing! We got back on the boat to head back and unfortunately, had a really bumpy ride with it being midday and windy. We got back to the hotel and got a swim in the river and rested until dinner. We played a couple of games of pool, had dinner and shared the best homemade chocolate helado I've ever had (besides Kyle's). 
Waking up, we relaxed and tried to not think about going home although we both felt ready to. We had yet an amazing breakfast and more pineapple and banana smoothies. We sat out in the sun and listened to the water. The boat took us back to the dock where we waited at the bus station before boarding on our 5.5 hour bus ride to Guatemala City.
Green mangos!
Dear Guatemala, 
Thank you for being a beautiful land full of volcanoes, deep jungles, sweet rivers,
good eats, beautiful people and plenty of choco bananas. You will be missed. 

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