By , October 29, 2011 9:52 am

Since were approaching the 90 day limit on our Guatemalan visas, it was time to make a visa run to Belize. Although we were moving on from Guatemala, the 90 day visa is for the entire C-4 countries region (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua), not the individual countries. Honduras and Nicaragua were our next intended targets, so we needed to move north to reset our visas before heading south.

We made our leave from Guatemala by way of Rio Dulce and Livingston. In both places we took it pretty slow and had a quiet relaxing time. It rained the whole time we spent in Rio Dulce (4 days), which was fine by us, as the hotel had wi-fi and we needed some time to catch up on our blogging anyways.

In both towns, the only notable day trips we made were visits to the local waterfalls.

Getting My “Geek On”

The Hot (or more accurately, lukewarm) Waterfall:

Rio Dulce is close to the famed Hot Waterfall at Finca El Paraiso where water is geothermally heated to about 30 degrees Celsius before cascading into a quick flowing cold river below. Getting there is as simple as taking a half hour collectivo ride from Rio Dulce for 15Q and paying a 10Q entry fee at the finca. The entry fee includes the cost of a guide who walks you down to the waterfall, strips down to his speedo, and spends the day swimming with you. He showed us where to swim across the quickly flowing river and where to climb up the waterfall to sit at the top in the warm pools.

It was a lot of fun swimming the quickly flowing river, and bathing under the warm spray. Truth be told, when we were sitting in the warm pools at the top of the waterfall, we found the water was not as warm as we had expected. It was still a lot warmer than the river it flowed into though, leaving no doubt as to the earth’s heating potential. This lukewarm waterfall was the result of all the aforementioned rain…when the river is swollen, there’s just too much water for the ground to heat as hot as it usually does.

The Hot Waterfall

Las Siete Altares (The 7 Altars):

Las Siete Altares are located 6 km north of Livingston along Guatemala’s Atlantic Coast. Every local that we talked to in Livingston recommended the walk, and raved about its beauty. The walk was fun, but not really that beautiful in my mind. Mostly, I noticed the lack of a walking trail, sketchy bridges (one of which I had to construct myself) and a lot of plastic garbage. I don’t think I can emphasize that enough, A LOT OF PLASTIC. Mostly we saw the remains of pop bottles, plastic forks, shoes and flop-flops. It was enough to make us want to rid our lives of plastic.

Although the 6 km plastic landfill took away from the beauty of the walk, the waterfall itself was impressive. The water flowed through several pools reminiscent of Semuc Champey. There was a small cave behind the waterfall with space to sit, and a couple of pools deep enough to jump into. Like Semuc Champey, we also found the fish that nipped away at our toes (and, for something new, our stomachs). We’re still not fans of fish pedicures, in case you’re wondering.

Plastic Shores

Ashley Making the Waterfall Look Good

Final thought: Waterfalls always make for great photos, but these Guatemalan falls made for especially good day trips. It’s something special when you can put the camera down, hop in, and go for a refreshing swim with such great scenery.

4 Responses to “Waterfalls and Plastic Shores”

  1. Mica says:

    Aww, these are great photos. Except the plastic one, eww. Have you got a waterproof camera?

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      No, we don’t have a waterproof camera. I don’t know much about them, but we’ve met more travelers with a broken waterproof cameras than who had a working one. So, we didn’t even look at waterproof cameras when we went to replace the one that was pick-pocketed from us.

  2. Katie says:

    Okay, if you go to San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, you MUST go to the hostel called “Planet Waves” or “Casa de Pepe,” as the locals know it. It’s a bit out of the way of the main town of San Juan del Sur, but the hostel is fantastic (VERY small), and the host, Peppe, is fantastic! He’s an Italian immigrant and knows all of the best places to dine and surf in town. I stayed there about a year ago and it was one of the highlights of my trip!

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      Thanks for the advice Katie. We are definitely headed to Nicaragua, so we’ll be sure to check the place out. I love finding good hostels.

      We had a recommendation for hostel Tribu on Isla Holbox when we first arrived in Mexico. We decided to follow it up, and loved the place. I have no doubt this will be the same!

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