Mid-Journey Check-In

At present I’m in the midst of a month-long journey around Guatemala and its neighboring countries. Once I conclude the journey and resettle in Antigua next month, I’ll start recapping the journey and posting photos.

In the meantime, I want to check in quickly and post something as evidence that I’m alive and well.

I wish I could take credit for photos such as these, which were taken by Don Gato, a retired American graphic artist here in Guatemala whose Flickr page is among the best I’ve ever visited. If you like what you see below, you’ll find about 600 more posted on his Flickr page.

These photos were all taken in the Río Dulce region of Guatemala, where this past week I stayed for a few days at Nutria Marina. The hotel was great, among the best I’ve stayed at here to date. If I were to return to the region, I’d stay at Nutria Marina again for sure.

The Rio Dulce region is in the far east of Guatemala and is comprised of a gigantic, 228-square-mile inland lake (Lago de Izabal), a jungle-strewn river connecting the lake to the Caribbean Sea (Río Dulce), and a festive beach town at the mouth of the river (Livingston).

Here’s a description of the region reprinted from the Maya Paradise website:

The area called “the Rio Dulce” begins at the mouth of the river on the Bahia de Amatique at the Garifuna town of Livingston. Going upriver, one passes through a spectacular steep walled canyon lined with jungle vegetation and wildlife. The river then widens into a small lake, El Golfete, the shores of which are lined with beautiful locations, Mayan settlements and a manatee reserve. The river then narrows and passes the towns of Fronteras and El Relleno where there is an abundance of hotels, restaurants, marinas, services for boaters, medical care, communications and transportation. A little further and the river widens into 590 square kilometer Lake Izabal, the largest lake in Guatemala.

And here’s an evocative description of the river itself as written by legendary American explorer John Lloyd Stephens in 1841:

In a few moments we entered the Rio Dulce. On each side, rising perpendicularly from three to four hundred feet, was a wall of living green. Trees grew from the water’s edge, with dense unbroken foliage, to the top; not a spot of barrenness was to be seen; and on both sides, from the tops of the highest trees, long tendrils descended to the water, as if to drink and carry life to the trunks that bore them. It was, as its name imports, a Rio Dulce, a fairy scene of Titan land, combining exquisite beauty with colossal grandeur. As we advanced the passage turned, and in a few minutes we lost sight of the sea, and were enclosed on all sides by a forest wall; but the river, although showing us no passage, still invited us onward.

Rio Dulce Highlighted on Map of Guatemala

Río Dulce Region Highlighted on Map of Guatemala

Rio Dulce

More Detailed Map of Río Dulce

Here’s some more information about photographer Don Gato:

Don Gato

Don Gato

I am an American, 60 years, old retired Graphic Artist living on my sailboat. I am currently in Guatemala. I do freelance photography and all types of graphics. I take photos everywhere I travel. I am a Flickr Addict.

I am working on a replacing all my old photos with Hi Res versions. I will also be traveling to many of the places I have been before and places I never got around to going. I have two new cameras both with over twice the resolution of my old camera. I have a lot of work to do.

Check my site often I will be adding photos daily whenever possible.

I work on a website with some other boaters who live here on the Rio Dulce. The site is a news and information source for anyone interested in traveling to Guatemala or the Rio Dulce area in particular. riodulcechisme.com/

We also have a Forum for information and a place for us to post opinions and argue with each other. riodulcechisme.com/bbs/

My friend Shuttersparks flickr.com/photos/shuttersparks/ is a member of our staff and he also has a website focused on the Rio Dulce. mayaparadise.com/index.htm and a blog maya-paradise.blogspot.com/

He just arrived on the Rio after a long absence and has recorded his entire passage across the Gulf just ahead of Hurricane Gustaf.


4 responses to “Mid-Journey Check-In

  1. Sounds like you had a great time in our little paradise.

    Thanks for all the compliments on our local businesses, and for linking our website and our friends websites.

    I hope you got a chance to get around the Rio and see some of the beautiful sites in the area.

    Next time you come this way visit with some of the boaters. I’ll bet you could score a free sailboat or trawler ride.

    Don Gato

  2. Ha ! You guys are great !

    Great photos.

  3. We’re thinking of you and your travels as we walk through 15 degree Michigan weather to the Dark Horse.

  4. Hey Jason!

    Thanks so much for writing nice things about us! It was great to have you guys here for a couple of days!

    Where are you now…back home or studying more spanish!

    Thanks for mentioning Nutria in your blog, we rely on word of mouth…so thanks again!

    Bec Nicholls

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