Rio Dulce

Published: January 4th 2006
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After a day of travel and another spent chilling, I spent the next one a little more actively. First off I visited the Castillo de San Felipe, built and rebuilt numerous times, it´s main purpose being the area´s main defense against pirates. It also served as a prison at one point, it is interesting as Guatemala isn´t the first place you think of when you think of castles. But in many ways the history is more interesting the actual site.
After another bumpy, crowded bus ride on a typically nackered ex-US school bus I arrived in El Estor, promised a beautiful setting and good atmosphere I was disappointed in both regards. A un-interesting, spread out town. On trying to make my way back I was starting the feel I hadn´t done much of interest in the last few days and that the Guatemalans seemed to lack interest in meeting and helping foreigners, and they were much more interested in trying to persuade you to part with their cash. However as is often the case, when you start thinking negatively you quickly get put in your place, this managed to happen to me several times in quick sucession from this point.
A man called out from behind a line of trees seperating the main road out of the town and a row of houses. Five minutes later I had been introduced to his extensive family (very common here). Exactly the sort of thing I was hoping for, after a chat in broken Spanish he told God to look after me, he became a little perplexed when I told him I wasn´t religious looking at me like this was somehow not possible, like an open-admission to being a mass-murderer (who ironically often are ´religious´). I quickly changed the subject and did the old ´hacer botella´ (make a bottle - i.e. thumb for a lift). The first vehicle stopped for me and I stood in the back of the truck with an indigenous women with a bucket of fish (not in water) with, rather randomly, a kids toy inside. I got dropped off at a hot-waterfall which was very pleasant, before being informed I had missed the last bus. I got chatting to a local guy who offered me a lift but they were going to catch the last of the light first, I said I would try my luck and once again the first vehicle pulled over for me and I jumped in the back, along with several workmen. Rattling along the unpaved road making conversation was difficult, by the time we hit asphalt I was starting to feel the breeze, the guy then hammered on the accelerator and we sped back to Rio Dulce twice as quick as I had arrived. I offered to pay for the ride and they refused, thankfully defeating my pessismism.
Early the next I jumped on a Jet-Ski, no paperwork or deposit, didn´t even ask my name. It was great fun for fifteen minutes though the steering was possibly a little damaged on the thing. Afterwards I waited for a lancha to Livingstone, teasing the guy that his bike was a girls´ one in return he rode off with my back trying to immitate a Gringo gaining numerous puzzled looks on the way to the docks.
The river started wide and relatively un-interesting, but this soon rapidly changing as we went along narrower tributaries with water-lillies, river-side straw huts, and plenty of wildlife. Before eventually arriving in the Garifuna town of Livingstone.


5th January 2006

El Estor
I've been there a few times. Agreed that it's not really a happening place, but the views of the lake are nice. It's mostly a place to put your feet up for a couple of days if you need a break. Rio Dulce is much nice and has more to do, but also touristy, so pricy, crowded, and noisy, depending on where you stay.

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