September 8, 2009

Two Fincas in One Day - En Route to Tikal

We left Guatemala City on Monday morning, heading east towards Rio Dulce, still in our rented Madza 5. This time, we had no trouble getting out of the city, and made it to the Carretera Centroamericana without a hitch.

After a couple of hours, the kids got to complaining, and we decided to stop in Rio Hondo - a place where people from the capital come to enjoy the warm weather and mountainous scenery. We found a hotel, called Hotel California, that turned out to have three lovely swimming pools, set in lush gardens. The owners accepted Q100 for the five kids to enjoy a dip in the pool. The kids had a ball in the pool, while we adults enjoyed some relaxation.

After swimming, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a roadside restaurant, and kept on our way to Rio Dulce. There, we stayed at the Backpackers´ Hotel. It isn´t much to speak of, but at least it is a non-profit that donates its earnings to an orphanage.

The next morning, we headed west, around Lake Izabal, to Finca El Paraiso. This place was amazing. We went to a hot springs waterfall. I have never seen anything like it before. You drive up to a riverbank, walk about ten minutes through green woods, and arrive at a beautiful waterfall. Once in the cool water, you swim over to the waterfall, and it is scalding hot! I was able to stand underneath it, and it felt like a hot shower. That place was incredible! We all enjoyed it immensely, and I got back in the car feeling renewed and refreshed. We planned to have lunch afterwards. But, the kids fell asleep, and there was no way we were waking them up!

We continued on, and made it to Finca Ixabelo. This place is owned by an American couple. The husband, however, was killed by the Guatemalan military for unknown reasons in 1991. Today, it carries on as a farm, hotel, and organic restaurant. We had tasty chicken sandwiches, and the kids enjoyed playing with the macaws they had in a large cage.

Filled up, we got back into the rented mini van and set out for Flores, our last stop for the day. We drove over the causeway onto Flores, which is a small island in a big lake in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle. We found an inexpensive hotel - Hotel Santa Rita - and set ourselves up for the night.

Tomorrow, we head out to Tikal, the ancient Mayan ruins.

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