At one point during our trip, Roxy said, “I think this is the least relaxing vacation I’ve ever had,” and she was probably right. In between the kayaking, 5-hour hiking, rope-swinging, and profuse sweating, we didn’t exactly have a lot of down time. It was an adventure though!
Here’s the story in photos:
After a shuttle mix-up (a.k.a. Guatemalan transportation never comes when they say they will) which meant Roxy and I spent three hours catching up on a curb outside the airport after her flight arrived (you’re not allowed to actually go inside the Guatemala City airport and wait…weird), we made it back to NPH! We spent the weekend visiting Antigua and running around doing crazy Quinceañera preparations, and then I stayed up late packing after the Quinceañeras so we could head out Monday morning!
To officially kick off vacation on Monday we took, in order: a chicken bus, another chicken bus, a cab, a six-hour Pullman bus, a short walk, a boat, and another boat. Yeah, we were traveling all day. But, we made it to our hostel – Finca Tatin along the Rio Dulce (only accessible by boat)!
Boat from Livingston to the hostel
Rio Dulce is located in eastern Guatemala. Giant Lake Izabal turns into Rio Dulce, which flows into the Caribbean. Rio Dulce runs through tons of nature preserves, and a trip down the river is considered one of the most beautiful sights in the country. The Caribbean side of Guatemala also has a funky, beachy, super-distinctive flair. It’s definitely different than where we live. I loved visiting the area!
Our hostel right on the water!
Amazing rope swing!
A self-proclaimed “jungle hostel,” Finca Tatin wasn’t kidding. We slept under mosquito nets, walked 10 minutes through the jungle to get to the bathrooms, brushed our teeth over a bayou, shared the place with lots of critters, and spent every minute in 1,000% humidity, approximately. Pretty crazy.
Lovely mosquito-net-covered beds.
We spent our first day kayaking forever to this bizarre hot spring right alongside the river, and we spent our second day hiking for five hours from our hostel to the town of Livingston (a town right on the Caribbean and only accessible by foot or boat, no roads). We were literally hiking through uncharted jungle territory – our guide was machete-ing the path into existence as we walked, hah. By the end of the five hours, we were covered in rain, sweat, and lots of mud, but it was beautiful! Such an amazing trek! :)
HOT hot springs!
Look out point during the hike.
Desperate for shade hahaha.
By Thursday, it was time to head to our second stop, Semuc Champey! We took a beautiful 45-minute boat ride down the river to the actual town of Rio Dulce, and from there we hopped a 6-hour ride in the cab of a pick-up truck on a gravel road. The entire six hours. Gravel road. Ay Dios. It was one of the most uncomfortable drives I’ve ever taken through Guatemala, but thankfully, it was the most beautiful too. Literally breathtaking.
We spent our last day lounging by the gorgeous pools in Semuc (it was my second visit….just too amazing to not go back), and on Saturday we headed back to NPH (but not before we stopped in Antigua for some souvenir shopping and to experience the Banoffee Pie at Rainbow Café)!
Phew! Exhausted from reading?! Just imagine how dead (and dirty) we were by Saturday night. Laundry and a hot shower had never been so exciting.
I’m now spending this week recovering from vacation hehe, and miss you already, Roxy!