Saturday, December 6th
This is the dry season, but someone did not get the memo. We have a full day boat excursion planned for the day. Lucky for us the boat has a cover, but with the sides and front open we still got a drenching as we traveled up the river.
The weather is warm enough that it was not uncomfortable, and the fresh washing just added to the fun of the day.
Castillo de San Felipe guarded the entrance. Used by the Spaniards to try to protect the goods they had pilfered from the local Mayan population; spices, jade, animals and even some of the local people that they planned on shipping back to Spain from the nearby port.
Along the way we checked out nesting black cormorant birds that we had been introduced originally to in China where they are used by the fishermen. The mangrove trees with their long tentacles reaching down into the water are now protected due to the important role they play in the ecological system.
Large iguanas balanced in the tree tops. The green are females and the brighter orange/yellow/spiked are the males. Our guide spotted a pair and I was able to capture both of them in the same picture so that you can see the contrast.
The scenery included limestone cliffs, a range of structures from shacks to holiday homes, giant water lilies, sail boats, and lush green banks.
Hugo picked a Zapatón, a very plain-looking green pod in the shape of a green bean, but a little larger than a banana, gave it a shake and this amazing flower burst out looking like a cross between fireworks and a cheerleaders pompom.
Out lunch stop was where a natural hot springs empties into a sheltered inlet. The steaming hot water mixes with the river water to create a warm bath. Our guide, Hugo, mixed red clay and we enjoyed a facial while our food was prepared.
A boat of local Guatemalans arrived and for once the tide was reversed – I was on the receiving end of photos.
Just before arriving in Livingston, we saw this marvelous grouping of Brown Pelicans.
While in Livingston we bought two great rain parkas. They were about $10 each and will become a mainstay in my travel backpack. Both Tim and I stayed warm and dry on the boat ride back to our hotel.
Livingston is on the Atlantic coast and has much more of a Caribbean vibe going on. The ethnic mixture is Kekchi people, Blacks, Indian and Chinese.
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful for the ecological awareness that is starting to take hold in Guatemala, starting with the preservation of National Parks and the Mangrove trees.