BootsnAll Travel Network

A New Update: Infiltration, Back to the Jungle, A Possible New Plan???

I’m now back in Guatemala, hanging out for a few days in Antigua as I decide what my next move is.  The last week since my last full update has gone by quickly.  Here’s the quick rundown for those of you keeping score…



After Dangria, I caught the bus down to Placencia, a small beach town at the southernmost tip of a long peninsula.  Things were not as expensive as the Cayes, so I decided to stay two nights here and spent my time doing as Í’ve been doing for the last 2 weeks:  more reading, more sleeping, more lounging and zoning as my attention was mesmerized by the gentle waves, and then in the evening captured by the electrical storms.


My guesthouse room was not right on the beach, as I had to walk a long 3 minutes across the sand to this bar and restaurant.  The town has a happy hour circuit that starts at 3pm and every hour you go to the next bar up until 7pm. 



It was pretty hot so I spent quite a bit of time in the shade.  Been getting lots of comments about how brown I look, so maybe I’ll be just a little lighter when I get back by staying out of the sun.



My room with shared bath was perfect with a double bed, fan, window, small dresser and plastic chair.  BUT…  When was the last time you had TANG?  You know, the space age orange powder drink.  The one with the green label and orange jar top.  When I was in Campeche, Mexico, I bought a powdered pouch of TANG to flavor my water a bit and give me my daily dose of vitamin C.  And I was just about all finished with my stash by the time I arrived to Placencia.  I had it wrapped in a white plastic bag in my backpack, set my bag on the chair just like in the picture.  I was only gone for maybe 4 hours at the beach.  And when I returned…infiltration.  Ants.  Hundreds of the little demons.  I left my pack open.  They were crawling everywhere.  They found my TANG, and more.  I felt so violated!  I spent the next hour cursing and sweating as I killed the invaders, took out all my things and shook and wiped and tried to get rid of them.  The ants even found their way on the dresser.  I ended up hanging a bunch of my things from the walls and ceiling where I could.  They just continued to come back again and again.  At least the infamous cockroaches didn’t visit my room, well at least I didn’t see them.  But I did inside the room of a British gal I hung out with.  She freaked out and moved over to my guesthouse and paid more for her new room to get away from her little friends.  Despite the attack of the ants, it was a fun stay as I hung out with two Brits and a big Texan, Ollie, who likes to where the Oregon Ducks baseball cap because of the big O emblem.





After Placencia, it took almost a full day to travel south out of Belize and into Guatemala.  I ended up spending over $55 US for transportation on a bus, small motorboats and larger lanchas as I made my way to Livingston and Rio Dulce.


Taking the 1 hour lancha trip from PG (Punta Gorda, but everyone just calls it PG), Belize, across the body of water Bahia de Amatique to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.  After clearing immigration, I took another high speed boat to Livingston, where I had to hire another private motorboat to get me to Finca Tatin.



Along the Rio Dulce.



There are only 2 ways to get to Finca Tatin.  Take a 5 hour overland jungle trek from the town of Livingston, or take a lancha along the Rio Dulce (river).  I took the latter.  And what I did was trade the open, sandy beaches with palm trees and refreshing sea breezes for the stifling heat of the jungle forest, no electricity, no Internet, and plenty of mosquitoes and other jungle critters to keep me company.  But ah, what a fabulous place to keep a low profile.  You can swim in the river, hike through the forest to caves, waterfalls and indigenous villages, go kayaking, visit sulfer hotsprings, or just lay on the hammock by the river.  A perfect respite to continue my highly unactive vacation.



Map of the area with pointers for an incredible amount of half day and full day trips you can choose to do.



The finca has numerous private bungalows, some with private bathroom, set admist the forest with dirt paths, or in this case assisted by stones.



A closer look inside one of the private bungalows with private bath in the background. 



I opted to stay in the cheaper dorm room, which was set high atop an A Frame wooden structure. 



The common ‘room’ area, even though there are no walls.



There is no kitchen for guest use.  When you get hungry, you simply buy from their onsite restaurant, which serves simple fare like pancakes and eggs for breakfast, and sandwiches, pasta and pizza for lunch.  Dinner is something else though.  For just over $6, their communal dinner has soup, fresh pita-like flat bread, salad, bowl of veggies, another side dish and the main course.  The three nights I stayed there our main was a vegetarian potato omlette, a vegetarian cannoli pasta dish, and a delectable fish that I forgot the name of.  Everyone sits around a table and you spend the evening conversing and chatting and after dinner continue the same, or in my case you learn how to play new games like Dominoes (HUGE in Mexico) and Backgammon (seems a lot of European travelers play this game).



Where I spent most of my time.



View from the hammock. 



Ana, an outdoor education teacher from California, and Terry, world travelin’ New Zealander who is volunteering at the Finca for the next month. 



I got a little restless after so much inactivity, and did spend one late morning on a little hike to a small community village Ak’Tenamit.



One final look before saying goodbye.  My favorite time, apart from being completely stuffed after dinner, was going to bed.  They turn off their generators at 11pm, and then you are completely lost in the darkest of darkness, and then the sounds of the forest enliven all your senses.  I spent the late night in bed trying to imagine what insect, reptile or mammal was making all the different kinds of sounds.  My definite highlight was on my last evening, when the Finca manager took us (there were only 7 of us staying by then) out on a late night lancha to the middle of the river, shut of the motor, and we just floated in the darkness (almost all the houses on the river had their generators off by this time) while looking up at the stars in the sky.  Next, he took us to the sulpher hot springs where we relaxed in the very hot waters (I had to continually mix my spot with the cold water from the river).



I left the finca with Niklas, Aliscia and Ana early Saturday via lancha to the town of Rio Dulce, where Niklas, Aliscia and I took a bus to Guatemala City.  It was a painfully slow ride and by the time we arrived to the capital 6 hours later, we didn’t feel like getting into a chicken bus.  So we shared a cab and made it to Antigua in more than half the time, then after checking into our hostel, headed out to dinner for some really fantastic food!



After dinner, we hung out on our hostel’s rooftop terrace with Dave and Jessie, sipping wine, smoking and sharing stories about Loganistan, Utah.  After all the stories that Niklas, Leon de Suissa, told me about Loganistan, I will most definitely have to visit at a later date.



Typical Antigua photo — it doesn’t feel like Guatamala because of all the gringos and numerous restaurants, bars and shops.  People love it or hate it, and I’m of the former.  Volcanoes surround the compact city filled with colonial churches, houses and buildings.  And of course they have a Central Parque, the heart of the city.  Did I mention the volcanoes?





5:30am wake up.  6am shuttle.  8am ascent to Volcan Pacaya, one of only four active volcanoes in Guatemala.   




The hike itself is not that difficult, especially when compared to the other hikes I have done.  And at the midway point, I was a little disappointed.  But ah, patience patience patience, I was soon to be rewarded. 



UNBELIEVABLE.  My first hike up Volcan Satiaguito we camped out far away from the danger of the lava, but witnessed countless eruptions and lava flowing down the mountain at a distance.  But here at Pagaya?  Up close and personal. 



I’ve been the Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, but I do not ever recall a time being just a few feet away from this!



Our guide was careful to show us the correct paths on which to walk.  We scrambled over the molten lava landscape, taking care not to fall in, cause that would suck to die being scorched alive in lava.  There are no other precautions in this national park though — no chain barriers, no warning signs, nothing.  It’s walk at your own risk.  Get close enough, and the heat can singe the hairs on your neck from a distance. 



The tourists en horde.  Actually, there were probable more Guatemalan families here than tourists.



Final reflections.



Back in town, ice cream is in order!  Dave and Jessie with a toast to a fun day.




Thinking of heading back to San Marcos on Lago Atitlan to look into those Yoga or Meditation courses.  I ran into Christie last night, a girl I hiked with on the Nebaj to Todos trip and she raved about her one month Full-Moon course.  So I’m thinking of giving that a try.  Or….Finca Tatin is looking for a volunteer.  To do like Terry does.  Help out at the Finca, you get free room and board, and I think maybe two or three dollars a day.  Minimum one month commitment.  Ana is thinking about doing it, but will do a week or two of Spanish school in Antigua to brush up.  My Spanish can be greatly improved with the interactions I will have if I decide to do a month at the Finca.  Very tempting.  It will allow me continue my travels for at least another month, even though I’ll be in one place.  Terry says that he has read at least 3 books a week since he started.  Most of the guests do their own thing during the day, so you have all the time in the world to do whatever.  Sounds ideal.  Decisions, decisions…could be the start of another adventure!  I’ll know by the end of the week what I’m doing, so check back to see where I’m off to next!


-14 responses to “A New Update: Infiltration, Back to the Jungle, A Possible New Plan???”

  1. Mike Jones says:


    HOLY CRAP!! Antigua???

    Those guys know be by name down there!!

    Thats where Intertops and SBG Global are!!


    I wonder if its the same Antigua??

    West Indies?????

    Whoa.. Tell them about me! Tell them you want a comped room at the LaHacendia 5 Star Hotel!!

    Throw my name around down there.

    They know me.

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