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Published: November 21st 2016
After leaving Flores Jess and I stopped at en Eco lodge half way to Lake Izabal called Finca Ixobel. This is a beautiful little place nestled right in the countryside. We opted for a treehouse with gaps in the floorboards and no electricity, but it came with a lot of charm. The eco lodge has its own spring fed swimming hole too. This comes with a slightly surreal abandoned feel at first - there is a non working water slide and a bar that wasn't open as it's mid week low season. This lent a slight abandoned feel to the place. Once we'd assured ourselves we weren't on the set of a horror movie it was very tranquil there. The pool is surrounded by bamboo, trees and mountains. We even spotted two Koi carp swimming in the pool, I'm not quite sure they're native fish, but they seemed to be enjoying their pool. This was a very beautiful place to stop off along the way. They even picked us up from Flores so we didn't have to get the bus, which was a much more comfortable option as we'd come to realise when we left down to Lake Izabal on the
Once we got to Lake Izabal we had a quick lunch stop in Rio Dulce before getting the boat down the lake to our hotel, hotel Kangaroo. It is set amongst the mangroves with a dock to have breakfast on by the lake and our dorm is in the thatch roof, making it a very spacious and airy room. All of the houses here are built on stilts in the mangroves, most with very expensive boats sat outside!
The next day, on the recommendation of our hotel owner, we headed back to shore for a trip to Finca Paraiso. This is a waterfall with a difference. The water is hot! I don't just mean not as cold as the river, but actually as hot like a shower. This flows down into a cold river, making it the only one of its kind in the world. The waterfall is also set in beautiful jungle, and surprisingly isn't very touristy. This alone was well worth the trip to Lake Izabal!
After enjoying the waterfall for a while we climbed to the top of the waterfall where there is a hot river, and a series of thermal pools to sit in.
Luckily it has been raining lately so the pools were a bit cooler, making them a pleasant bath temperature to sit and enjoy. Further up the path above the waterfall is a cave where there is pale mud which is very good for the skin, so we walked up and covered ourselves from head to foot in mud, before letting it dry on, then back to the hot pools for a rinse off.
Our next stop was El Boqueróm, a big canyon just up from the waterfall. For some reason that I can only guess was to do with the recent rains, the river was orange! We took a boat trip part way up the canyon, then swam further up. The current was fairly strong here so we only got a little way up the canyon before floating back down to the boat. The canyon is very beautiful. I can imagine that in dry season you would be able to walk far up the canyon to see more of its beauty.
On the way back to Rio Dulce we stopped by the lakes edge at the 'beach', which was just a black sand shore, but a very beautiful view of
the misty mountains across the lake.
The next day we took a trip up to Livingston, on the Caribbean edge of the lake. The boat there meanders as a tour, providing a good view of the lake. We saw an island full of cormorants, with a few vultures too, and the usual local village people paddling out to sell their wares.
Livingston has a very Caribbean feel to it, and made me think we were back in Belize! It's a small town, and I'm glad we only opted to spend a few hours there rather than the night, as there didn't seem to be much to do. It is however famous for its seafood, so Jess got Topedo, the local speciality which consisted of fish, giant prawns, a whole crab, and a few other pieces. It certainly looked impressive, and she said it tasted just as good.
After lunch and a wander around the small town it was time to get the boat back. We went for a faster more direct journey back, having seen the sights on the morning tour.
Overall I'm glad I ignored the people who said Lake Izabal isn't worth a visit, as we both love
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