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Article by Tor Pinney                                                                                                                                        Back to List of Tor's Tips


© 1990 Tor Pinney - All Rights Reserved


A Note to the Reader

This article was featured in the October 1992 issue of Cruising World magazine. Much has changed in the Rio Dulce since then. This author has not been back to see it in person. There is plenty of more up-to-date information available, and any sailor seeking to visit that region should avail themselves of it. Still, I hope my quarter-century-old notes, which follow, may be of some use and interest.


Part I - Introduction

There's a very special place that can only be seen by boat. It's a new place for cruisers. But it's ancient, too, older than the Mayans. It's warm, friendly, unspoiled, and very inexpensive. Tucked into a pocket of the northwest Caribbean, Guatemala's Rio Dulce is a haven and a heaven for cruising sailors. It's just being discovered by adventurous mariners who want to get off the beaten track, maybe learn a little Español, and spend some time among Central America's most colorful Indian culture.


The first outsiders to visit Rio Dulce were the Spanish conquistadors, whose treasure ships anchored here laden with plundered gold destined for Europe. In the 16th century they built a fort, Castillo San Felipe, to protect themselves from marauding pirates who sailed up the river to loot the Spanish galleons. By then, the great Mayan civilization whose land and river (and gold) this was, was fast disappearing.

Eventually, the Spanish invaders were driven out and Guatemala became an independent country. Although the pyramid-building civilization of the Mayas never returned, today their direct descendents once again live in peace along the banks of the Rio Dulce. They speak Spanish to others, but among themselves they still use the old Mayan dialects.

According to the Indians' ancient religion, the river is a vein in God's body. It provides fish and water, and its banks yield the raw materials for a humble, rustic life far removed from the materialism of the western world. Common throughout the region are the Indians' primitive thatch huts, sketchy, one-room shelters over a plain dirt floor. Their small corn and bean gardens meekly challenge the encroaching jungle.

At dawn the river is a still mirror. The reflected sky glows like an ember, backlighting the dark rain forest; silhouetting a wild profusion of trees, bushes and hanging vines. From a small clearing ashore where an Indian family lives a cock crows, competing with more exotic birdcalls that echo out of the bush. Tortillas are already baking over the Indian's open-hearth fire. The tantalizing scent mingles with the perfume of flowers and lush green vegetation and the peculiar, musty-sweet odor of fresh water so noticeable to a sailor newly arrived from the sea. Maybe that's why they call this El Rio Dulce, the "Sweet River".

The Indians are early risers. A father and young son already fish nearby on the river. The father stands at the bow of their cayuco, a rough dugout canoe, poised to fling his wide throw-net over a silvery school of small river "pescados". The boy sits aft, nimbly maneuvering the boat with a single, hand carved paddle.

As the fisherman throws his mesh net, there's a net of a different kind reaching out across the Rio Dulce: the yachties' morning radio net on VHF Channel 70. A retired electronics engineer, locally known as "Electric Bob", runs the 0730 hrs. River Net from aboard his sloop, Forthright. Each day he announces weather forecasts, then calls the local up-river sailors' hang-outs to hear what lunch or dinner specials they're offering, as well as any sailor activities planned such as movie nights, pot luck dinners, holiday events and swap meets. Other announcements of interest may include the name of someone flying to the States within the week who will post mail there for fellow cruisers (the Guatemalan postal system can take a month or more to carry mail between the river and the U.S.). Boaters announce things like, "We're looking for an impeller for a Perkins 4-108," or "Anybody know whether or not they have gasoline today at the Miramonte fuel dock?" For the rest of the day, Channel 70 is the cruisers' call channel and party line.

Colorful characters abound on the Rio Dulce: expatriated Americans (and Canadians and Europeans) straight out of a Jimmy Buffet song. They've stayed for the warm weather, the slow pace, and the cheap living. There are cruisers who came to spend a week or two - several years ago! Some have bought land to homestead here. Others who, like us, are just passing through for a month or so talk of "cruising schedules" they probably won't stick to.

The lazy charm of the Rio Dulce has a way of making schedules fade away. This is where "mañana" means "not now" - a place where time isn't measured in hours. It isn't measured at all. Like the river, it just flows gently by. Only the seasonal weather patterns - the rainy season and the dry season - give any indication that time is passing. Even those changes are subtle.

The early summer weather arrived around the same time we did, in mid-March: flat calm in the morning, with just a hint of a westerly zephyr. If you're heading downstream this is the time of day to do it, charging your batteries while you motor along with the gentle current. By noon, it's hot enough to appreciate the easterly breeze that springs up, mildly at first. Within the hour, the full northeast trade winds, 15 to 25 knots, are whipping up a moderate chop on the more open stretches of the rivers and lakes. It's a good time to ease the sheets and scoot farther up-stream toward the town of Fronteras or beyond to Lago de Izabel, or to drop the hook in any one of a hundred snug harbors.

There are scores of rivers and streams, navigable by cayuco or by dinghy - and some by sailboat. They penetrate the jungle from the Rio Dulce and from western Lago de Izabel. A trip up a jungle stream is like a Disneyland ride. Wild orchids bloom above water lilies and hyacinths clustered along the banks. Bright Morpho butterflies dance ahead of the skiff. Overhead, hanging bird nests dangle from the branches of tall ceiba trees. Turtles sun themselves on logs; iguanas scurry up tree trunks; rarely seen manatees munch green leaves along the banks and the occasional, elusive otter entertains with watery antics. Exploring the jungle this way is sometimes like travelling through a green tunnel, the sepia water dividing and winding snake-like through a seemingly endless labyrinth. These natural waterways are completely unspoiled and the wildlife is unbelievable.

At dawn and dusk, trees-full of black howler monkeys create an awesome din, roaring with such incongruous volume and ferocity, they sound more like a pride of angry lions. And the birds! Egrets, cranes, multi-colored parrots, hummingbirds, wading birds, herons, orioles, pelicans, and more. Why, there are five types of kingfisher on the Rio Dulce (there's only one, or possibly two types in the whole United States). Little wonder that, half a century ago, this location provided an ideal setting for filming the original Johnny Weismuller "Tarzan" movie.


There are waterfalls to visit, caves to explore, mountains to climb and vistas to behold. Cruising the Rio Dulce offers the yachtsman a variety of unusual and interesting excursions from the boat. (See Part II - Sailing Directions, for details)

As if the river weren't enough, the rest of Guatemala is just a bus ride away. And what buses! You haven't lived until you've ridden in a Guatemalan "chicken bus", packed cheek to jowl with real, western-style Guatemalan cowboys and with Indians clad in bright native costumes, all carrying bundles and, yes, chickens and piglets and whatever, to and from local markets. Fortunately, there's a fast, comfortable express bus, El Especial, that'll whisk you up to Guatemala City in about 4 hours. From there you can connect for all other points. There are several side-trips inland that Rio Dulce sailors particularly favor:

High in the mountains to the west lies picturesque Lake Atitlan, flanked by conical, cloud-capped volcanoes. This is considered by some travelers to be one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Just an hour's bus ride from there is the famous marketplace of Chichicastenango, where the colorful mountain Indians converge every Thursday and Sunday to sell an incredible assortment of handicrafts, as well as foods and dry goods. Shopping here will hone your bargaining skills. In the center of this extravaganza perches a Catholic Church where Mayan Indians burn incense on the steps in unique Christian/pagan rituals.

Another land trip popular with yachties is a visit to Antigua, a city rich in history and early Spanish architecture. Many take advantage of an unusual language school system which has evolved there, living for weeks with a Guatemalan family and learning Spanish in a concentrated program based on everyday conversational use.

For a firsthand glimpse into the ancient Mayan Empire that once ruled this region, you can visit Tikal. This vast Mayan city, which includes pyramids as awe-inspiring as any in Egypt, is being reclaimed from the jungle by archeologists and is open to tourists.

In the Caribbean there's no place accessible to cruising sailboats that offers such a unique variety of natural and cultural diversions. There are few places in the world where the land and the people are so unspoiled. We spent only about 6 weeks cruising the Rio Dulce. It was barely enough time to sample this "paraiso", this Mayan paradise. Cruisers who have been there for months and years still haven't had enough of its charm. Maybe they never will. The Rio Dulce - how sweet it is!

Part II - Sailing Directions

A Cruising Guide to the Caribbean and Bahamas (written by Hart & Stone, published by Dodd & Mead) devotes several pages to a discussion of the Rio Dulce, though some of the information is dated. It includes handy sketch charts. The Seven Seas Cruising Association (500 S.E. 17th Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 USA) has also published sailing guide information on this region. If you're going to visit the Rio Dulce, you will benefit by these guides, and any others that may have been published since I was there. Here are some additional details that might prove helpful:

The Rio Dulce can be divided into five sections: (1) The Entrance, which includes crossing the shallow bar, and clearing in at Livingston; (2) The Lower River, the first and, perhaps, the most dramatic stretch, with steep cliffs bordering the deep, serpentine river; (3) El Golfete, about 10 miles upstream, the first broad expanse of water. It is bordered by rolling hills and the Mico Mountains to the southeast, and by dense tropical rain forest (that you can sail into!) to the northwest; (4) The Upper River, the second stretch of river where civilization, such as it is, has a firm foothold with marinas and a town; and (5) Lago de Izabel, a large lake offering access to a host of natural marvels.

The Entrance

To enter the Rio Dulce from the sea, first you've got to cross the bar at the mouth. This shoal is the controlling depth for the whole river, limiting the draft of entry to about 7 ft., and that much only on the highest tide while dragging your keel through soft mud at the shallowest (6½-ft.) ridge along the way. Boats of less than 6-ft. draft can cross on practically any tide. Leave the small, green sea buoy one or two boat-lengths to port, and head for the river's cut in the hills ahead. While entering, watch carefully for evidence of a crosscurrent setting you onto the shoals to port and starboard. When you're even with the town docks, turn to starboard and anchor off the town of Livingston, in about 10-ft. over a mud bottom.

Livingston is a port of entry for Guatemala. Don't go ashore, but fly your Q-flag and wait for the officials to come out to your boat. They are friendly, if not quick. The various officials each charge something before the formalities are completed: In the spring of 1990, it totaled 110-Quetzales, about $30 U.S. at the then-current exchange rate of slightly under 4/1. They were giving a 3-month cruising permit and visa to entering yachts, with no requirement for advance visa application. If you declare firearms aboard, they confiscate them to hold safely until you clear out at the end of your visit. Pets are allowed.

Basic supplies and produce are available in Livingston, but are less expensive and fresher in the town of Fronteras on the upper river. It's best to wait and re-provision in Fronteras. However, fuel is sometimes in short supply there, so Livingston's Texaco dock may be a good place to top off diesel and gasoline tanks.

U.S./DMA Chart 28164 will guide you into Livingston and beyond for about 5 miles up the Rio Dulce. After that, you just have to assume the river is deep, which it generally is, and to find the occasional mud banks and soft shoals with your depth sounder and your keel.

The Lower River

Heading up the first stretch of the Rio Dulce is a magical experience. Suddenly the sea disappears astern and steep cliffs and jungle enfold you. As the river snakes inland, exotic flora - so much green! - lines the shores and vine clad trees angle precariously over the riverbank. Here the river is often in shade, but the sun lights the leafy walls that tower above.

La Vaca is a prominent white cliff on the first bend. About 100 meters beyond on the right side is a horizontal tree. Near here, we were told, there is a cave through the mountainside to the jungle. From there you can climb up and look down on the river. We anchored in 17' along the shallower opposite bank, Sparrow swinging to the 1-knot current. We found the horizontal tree all right, but searched in vain for the cave. Evidence of a recent landslide suggested that the trail - perhaps even the cave - might have been covered.

Farther upstream, however, we did locate the hot bath, a place along the bank where a natural hot spring merges with river water to create a tub-hot pool. Rio Dulce's water is fine for swimming (but probably not for drinking). We enjoyed the novelty of a piping hot bath in the serene, outdoor surroundings while watching the occasional river traffic passing by. The bath is located on the right bank as you head upstream, shortly before entering El Golfete. It's opposite a tributary river (the last tributary before El Golfete) where there's a small Indian country store. The bath can be spotted by watching for some rocks that have been rearranged to form the pool. Sometimes steam is visible rising off the water there, along with a mild sulfurous odor. Here, too, it's the opposite bank that is shallow enough to anchor.

El Golfete

El Golfete is an oblong lake, roughly 10 miles long by 3 miles wide. It's really a broadened section of the Rio Dulce. It offers an immediate, snug anchorage in its northeast corner, in between Cayo Grande and the mainland shore.

Just beyond Cayo Grande along the northeast shore, the Manatee National Park gives you a first glimpse into the Guatemalan rain forest via a beautiful nature trail. Our 5' draft enabled us to tie Sparrow to their dock while we visited the park. As the name suggests, this is a manatee preserve.

The Indians have hunted the river manatees for food - nearly to the point of extinction. So, too, have the river otters been hunted for their valuable pelts.

At the very next point of land, about ¼-mile past the dock, a navigable river heads off into the bush. This is the entrance to a series of lagoons connected by a river, all part of the national park. You're likely to have any of these isolated lagoons all to yourself for a tranquil, land-locked anchorage.

Continuing along the northeast shore of El Golfete, the deep Rio Chocon can be found marked by a wooden post structure. The entrance is about 30-yards to the left of the post by the reeds. A big boat can go a long way up this river. Past Rio Chocon, you'll see several other good harbors along both shores of El Golfete.

The Upper River

Continuing up-river, you're soon back into the Rio Dulce, but a change is immediately evident: Now there are modern, western style houses - estates by local standards - along the manicured shore. This is the "uptown" section of the river, where wealthy Guatemalans and Americanos have bought property for vacation and retirement homes. To port you'll pass a large "Clinica" sign. This is the orphanage, where you are welcome to visit and to contribute anything at all - food, clothing, money, or just a warm smile - for the children of this noble, under-financed effort.

As you approach the busy town of Fronteras, the sight of the high, modern bridge spanning the river appears futuristic, strangely out of place on the Rio Dulce. Here, just before the bridge, is the river's yachting center of activity. There are several marinas and lots of good anchorages.

The Catamaran Club, begun by American Kevin Lucas back in 1969, has docks for visiting boats, a dockside bar and restaurant topped with palm thatch, a swimming pool, and hotel cottages for land guests. It also has the only telephone around. Kevin is very helpful to boaters.

Mañana Marina, just across the little cove, is dedicated to visiting yachtsmen. They have movie nights, playing VHS tapes on their big TV, a marine swap meet approximately every other Saturday, pot luck dinners every Sunday, mail receiving, boat storage, and other services aimed at assisting cruisers. They also have pinned up a huge topographical map of the region, which you can study for details.

Our favorite hangout was Suzana's Laguna Restaurant (& Marina), a little beyond the bridge on the left. Her lagoon is a perfect all-weather harbor. We left Sparrow here while we traveled inland for a week. Oh, the nights we sat around under the high thatch roof, passing an old guitar back and forth, singing songs that spanned two cultures, three languages, and at least four generations. And the St. Patrick's Day party at Suzana's...Well, you just had to be there!

Any of these marinas can advise you on the bus schedules for travelling inland. They can also turn you on to discounts at certain hotels in Guatemala City. Just ask.

The Miramonte Hotel & Marina offers little of interest to cruising sailors, but they have the Shell fuel docks there. It's wise to buy diesel and gas when available. They sometimes run out for days on end.

The town of Fronteras is the central town of the Rio Dulce. Unlike Livingston, it can also be reached by road. Fronteras offers fresh produce (Saturday and Wednesday are the best market days), and other provisions for restocking the boat. There are numerous food stands and restaurants all serving good, cheap native fare. Between Fronteras and the smaller section of town across the bridge, called Relleno, there is a post office, a tailor, two small pharmacies, two hardware stores, two outboard motor dealers (Yamaha and Mariner), numerous general stores, a lumber yard, and a police station.

A 40-minute bus ride away, the larger town of Morales has a very big market, banks, and international telephone communication at Guatel, Guatemala's phone company. On the public phones outside their office you can now dial 190 for a direct connection with a U.S. AT&T Operator, for collect and credit card calls. Between Fronteras and Morales is Ruidosa (meaning "noisy" in Spanish). It's the crossroads where you'd catch the express bus to the capital. About ¬-mile east of El Cruce on the main highway is a gas company that fills propane tanks. They'll probably tell you to come back "mañana" to retrieve your tank, but they can often be persuaded to fill it right away for a 2-Quetzales (= $.50) tip, saving you an additional hour of riding in buses the next day.

LAGO DE IZABEL: The Rio Dulce leads you into Lago de Izabel through a narrow cut. A restored Spanish fort, Castillo San Felipe, guards this entrance. The fort itself is interesting to visit, featuring dungeons, tunnels, and bronze canons. The surrounding grounds are a beautiful setting for a picnic. Just beyond on the right is the Johnson outboard motor dealer.

Once into Lago de Izabel, it quickly opens up to a large, open lake, roughly 25 miles long and 10 miles wide. The southern shore offers virtually no protection for anchoring, and not too much of interest to visiting yachtsmen. So it's the northern and western shores of the lake that we'll explore:

Cattle ranches along the northern shore break an otherwise featureless wall of jungle rising to a mountain range. As you proceed, count the prominent points of land to keep track of where you are. Just beyond the third point, which has some shoals in the lee (the west side) of its tip, there's a wooden post structure on the lake. On shore near that are Finca El Paraiso and the path to Agua Caliente.

Agua Caliente is a 25-ft. waterfall of hot-spring water that spills into a pool formed by a cool mountain stream. The setting and the ½-hour walk through pastures and woods to reach it are well worth seeing. Anchor off the Finca El Paraiso. Land your dinghy by the hacienda (big house), which has a sign over the front gate facing the lake. The owner of the land charges visitors 5-Quetzales (equal to about $1.25 U.S. when we were there) each to enter, and will direct you on your way. Overnight anchorage can be found in the bight just east of Finca El Paraiso, off La Enseñada.

Not known to many outsiders, there's more to this hike for the really adventurous. Continue hiking up the cool stream past Agua Caliente; after a ½-hour or so you will come to its source. The stream issues from a cave, a hole in the side of the mountain. If you come equipped with waterproof spotlights, it is possible to swim into the cave for 60- or 70-yards, while startled bats flutter overhead. The daylight quickly disappears behind and absolute jet blackness prevails. Soon you'll hear a growing roar ahead of you. It's a waterfall inside the mountain - actually, a jet of fresh water about 3-feet in diameter shooting out through a notch it has cut in the rock. Very impressive! Above, the cavern rises to a cathedral-like ceiling, with stalactites and eerie rock formations distorting the shadows created by your moving spotlights. Climbing up alongside the waterfall, the stream is seen beyond, tumbling down subterranean rapids. Not being equipped for spelunking, we went no further. But I've heard it rumored that it is possible to hike for several miles into the mountain!

Further west along the north shore of Lago de Izabel, there's one more point of land to pass before the bustling town of El Estor comes into view. A prominent landmark, a very tall smokestack that is part of the International Nickel mine, stands a couple of miles west of the town. The best overnight anchorage is deep in the bight a couple of miles east of the town.

El Estor offers an opportunity to re-provision in the outdoor marketplace. Also, the city water there is perfectly potable, so you can top off the ship's tanks. In settled weather, tie up at the town's ferry dock, the biggest one along the waterfront, and run a long hose to the water tap. East of the pier, a smaller cayuco (and dinghy) dock is the landing place for buying gasoline, diesel, and kerosene, all of which must be lightered back to your ship in jugs.

El Estor is a remarkably clean, well-organized town. There are freshly painted and labeled public trashcans. The town square is a lovely park with a fountain that actually works! The people are friendly, as they are everywhere along the Rio Dulce.

Hugo's Restaurant is the likely place to dine ashore. Hugo speaks excellent English and conducts tours up to El Boqueron, an incredibly beautiful river canyon in the nearby hills. Transportation is in his pick-up truck to the mountain river, then by inflatable upstream to the rapids. Here you can swim (Hugo will show you how to "ride the rapids"), and play in the swirling, natural pools. You're surrounded by virgin forest - a fairyland setting.

A general word of caution here: Keep cameras and other valuables within sight, even in the bush. The locals are basically good, honest people, but they're very poor. Don't tempt them by being careless.

Another helpful resident in El Estor is Oscar, owner of the prominent Hotel Vista Al Lago. Oscar speaks some English. When we visited, he was planning to build a small yacht marina just west of the town. You might inquire at the hotel about it.

South and southwest of El Estor, the west end of Lago de Izabel ends (or, rather, begins) in a series of jungle rivers perfect for dinghy exploration. Sandbars at their mouths prevent entering with the big boat. These bars collect trees, branches and assorted jungle debris, forming a landmark that helps locate the river mouths along the faceless shore. Motor the dink upstream, then cut the engine to drift back silently with the current. Watch and listen! This is a bird-watcher's paradise. Also, in these rivers you'll see (and hear!) black howler monkeys, usually around dawn and dusk. The Rio Polochic, Rio Oscuro, and Rio Zarquito are all easy to find and fascinating to explore. Other than an occasional patch of corn or bananas planted by the Indians, the rivers are completely unspoiled.

Between the three mouths of the Rio Polochic are several excellent harbors for anchoring overnight, with up to 15' of water. Further south, beware of the shoal that extends for a mile or so east from the point called Punta de Chile. The river just southwest of this point leads to a jungle lagoon. Several miles east of the point, El Refugio offers a snug harbor but would be exposed to a west wind. There are more rivers to explore in this corner.


There are very few markers on the Rio Dulce. Navigation is by eye and by feel. The river water is fairly clean but vegetation pigment and silt obscure visibility. Therefore, shoals are often invisible. A good depth sounder and a cautious boat speed are your best navigational tools when close to shore. Tributary rivers and streams tend to build up shoals that extend out and downstream from their mouths. Depths generally range from 10' to 60', with a mud bottom. Keep track of your position, especially in Lago de Izabel. If in doubt, you can always ask an Indian fisherman for directions.

You really can't get lost cruising the Rio Dulce. No matter where you are, you're in the right place!

Key to the map(s) of the Rio Dulce

1) Livingston

2) La Vaca

3) The hot bath

4) Caya Grande anchorage

5) Manatee National Park

6) Rio Chocon

7) The Catamaran Club and Ma¤ana Marina

8) Shell fuel docks

9) Fronteras

10) Suzanna's Laguna Restaurant & Marina

11) La Ruidosa

12) Morales

13) Castillo San Felipe

14) Finca El Paraiso

15) Agua Caliente

16) El Boqueron

17) El Estor

18) Rio Polichic

19) Punta de Chile

20) Rios Oscuro and Zarquito

21) El Refugio


Captions for the slides accompanying the article,


1. Our yellow Lab, Shaolin, wants someone to throw a stick so he can fetch it from the deep pool at Agua Caliente, where a hot-spring waterfall plunges into a cool mountain stream.

2. Sparrow lies peacefully at anchor on the Rio Dulce.

3. Capt. Tor and the ship's dog, Shaolin, ghost quietly up the lower Rio Dulce, catching light breezes between steep, high banks.

4. (Same as #3)

5. These Mayan Indian women and children live in a very remote village, miles up a tiny jungle stream just barely navigable by dinghy. We were only the third "gringos" ever to visit them. Their men-folk bring back the western-style clothing from town markets down-river.

6. (Same as #5)

7. (Same as #5) The plastic bead necklace on the little girl came from a bag-full we brought to give the Indian children. We soon realized that the adult women wanted the costume jewelry, too, once they overcame their initial shyness enough to accept it.

8. A typical Mayan Indian family dwelling along the banks of the Rio Dulce. They live a simple life in harmony with their natural surroundings.

9. Playing in the river rapids above Boqueron Canyon. The current is powerful enough to sweep you downstream if you don't rig - and hang onto - a safety line!

10. The Indian fishermen on Lake Atitlan, high in the Guatemalan mountains use these peculiar, box-shaped prams.

11. Sherrie gazes out across beautiful Lake Atitlan at the one of the surrounding volcanoes.

12. Along the shores of Lake Atitlan, Indian women carry their wares to market balanced easily on their heads.

13. These Mayan Indian children are on their way to the open market in a nearby village on Lake Atitlan.

14. (Same as #12)

15. Fishermen work along the reed banks of Lake Atitlan, high in the mountains of Guatemala.

16. Smoke rises from open cooking fires in the town of Santiago, on Lake Atitlan. Small ferries carry Indians and visitors between villages.

17. Our ship's canine crew, Shaolin, scans the streets of Fronteras for his Guatemalan dog pals. The street stalls in Fronteras offer plenty of fresh foods at bargain prices.

18. Sherrie shops for provisions in the street stalls of Fronteras. The produce is wonderful - fresh and inexpensive!

19. (Same as #18)

20. (Same as #18)

21. (Same as #18)

22. The Catamaran Club was the Rio Dulce's first marina. In addition to boat slips, ashore there are guest cottages, a swimming pool, and a thatch-roofed bar and restaurant. The atmosphere is always casual and friendly.

23. Shaolin inspects Castillo San Felipe as we slip past the restored fort's watchful canon at the narrow pass between the Rio Dulce and Lago De Izabel.

24. Motorized cayucos for hire line up by Tienda Reed's grocery store. Tienda Reed caters to the gringos by occasionally having whole wheat bread for sale.

25. Indian kids on the dock at Fronteras get a great kick out of our swimming Labrador Retriever, Shaolin, who entertains them by fetching sticks and chasing fish.

26. After a half-hour's hike through the rain forest, Sherrie and Shaolin enjoy a swim at Agua Caliente, Spanish for "Hot Water". The waterfall flows from a natural hot spring and forms this tepid pool as it mixes with a cool mountain stream.

27. In the footsteps of Johnny Weismuller, Sherrie swings from jungle vines near the location where the original Tarzan movie was filmed.

28. After a half-hour's hike through the rain forest, Sherrie, Shaolin and I enjoy a swim at Agua Caliente, Spanish for "Hot Water". The waterfall flows from a natural hot spring and forms this tepid pool as it mixes with a cool mountain stream.

29. Our yellow Lab, Shaolin, stalks fish in a crystalline jungle stream. He has never caught one yet, but it's great sport trying.

30. A typical Mayan Indian family dwelling along the banks of the Rio Dulce. They live a simple life in harmony with their natural surroundings. (Same as #8)

31. (Same as #30)

32. (Same as #30)

33. Horses rest in the cool shade along the path to Agua Caliente.

34. (Same as #33)

35. This curious calf greets visitors along the path to Agua Caliente.

36. (Same as #35)

37. The Indians use a simple dugout canoe, called a cayuco, as their daily means of river transportation.

38. Sherrie watches for otters and manatees as we take a side trip up the tributary Rio Chocon Machaca.

39. A jungle trail brought us to this village where the men were raising the roof on a large new building. Their houses are built using only what grows in the forest around them.

40. Sparrow lies to the dock at the Manatee National Park in El Golfete. (Note to Editor: This slide is backwards)

41. Sparrow is dressed in holiday pennants, celebrating St. Patrick's Day at Suzana's Laguna Restaurant and Marina. We offered free beer to anyone who could read the signal flags!

42. (Same as #41)

43. Playing in the river rapids above Boqueron Canyon. The current is powerful enough to sweep you downstream if you don't rig - and hang onto - a safety line! (Same as #9)

44. (Same as #43)

45. (Same as #44)

46. Sparrow is dressed in holiday flags, celebrating St. Patrick's Day at Suzana's Laguna Restaurant and Marina. We offered free beer to anyone who could read the signal flags!

(Same as #41)

47. Sparrow anchored off Pinney Beach, Nevis, at sunset.

48. (Same as #47)

49. In a village on Lake Atitlan, Indian women carry their wares to market balanced easily on their heads. (Same as #12)

50. The town of Panajachel attracts tourists to the shores of limpid Lake Atitlan, high in the Guatemalan mountains.

51. A lone fisherman works the clear waters of Lake Atitlan.

52. Cattle grazing along the shores of Lake Atitlan, high in the mountains of Guatemala.

53. Sparrow enjoys one of many solitary anchorages along the Rio Dulce.

54. A fisherman casts the net while his young son expertly maneuvers their cayuco on the Rio Dulce.

55. Water lilies, water hyacinths, and wild orchids abound along the tributary streams of upper Lago De Izabel.

56. A curious egret visits sparrow.

57. A typical Mayan Indian family dwelling along the banks of the Rio Dulce. They live a simple life in harmony with their natural surroundings. (Same as #30)

58. (Same as #57)

59. (Same as #57)

60. Motorized cayucos for hire line up by Tienda Reed's grocery store. Tienda Reed caters to the gringos by occasionally having whole wheat bread for sale. (Same as #24)

~ End ~

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