Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Rio Dulce is one of the towns I have been hearing about from friends and fellow riders. A few say “you gotta go” if you get to Guatemala. And since there are only two roads south through Guatemala from the area near Tikal and one goes through Rio Dulce, that’s the one we take. We head south from Flores late one morning and stop for lunch along the way.
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It’s a hectic little town perched on the edge of the river and wrapped around the base of the bridge that cross that river headed south and then west on to Guatemala City. There’s a line of trucks inching their way up and over the two-lane bridge and people walk in between them creating a hazard-filled maze for a motorcycle rider.
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There are so many hazards on the roads, and then add to it the crazy loads that some vehicles carry. I see a tiny little Mazda pickup jacked up and loaded with two large full-grown horses in the back. I see another carrying an enormous Brahma bull and think to myself that it could tip over in the slightest curve.
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We find a little bargain room at a place on the river that fits the budget. The days of air conditioning and hot water have been behind us for a couple of weeks. It’s incredibly hot here and steamy, continuing the trend of the past couple of weeks. But it’s got a decent view of the river (well the café does, not my room).
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This place isn’t really supposed to be nice because of the town itself, thank goodness. It’s all the water activities that go on here that attract the people. You can sail up the Rio Dulce and under the bridge into Lago de Izabal. Up the river you can swim in a natural hot waterfall, one of the only ones in the world, at Aguas Calientas, according to our new friend Alain from Belize. We want to go but have a hard time finding it and finally give up. The heat wears me out every day within a couple of hours so I’d rather go lay in front of the fan and drink a cool water (and I’ve taken to buying extra to tuck under my arms or laying a damp towel on myself in front of the fan…) instead of searching for hot water. Now if it was ice cold water, it might be another story. I walk up the sidewalk on the edge of the bridge to take some photos from above. I see locals washing their laundry and bathing on the banks.
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And some are fishing with line wrapped around a small piece of wood from small boats.
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There are sailboats from all over the world that sail in from the Caribbean and dock. There are big, all-night parties at some of the riverside bars…so it can be a party paradise. But the town itself is not really for me.
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I’d love to go play in the water but it’s pretty expensive and I’m too miserable and sticky to do very much. So I take my second shower for the day and go lay in front of the fan and we plan the ride out tomorrow. I’m hoping for someplace cooler. This tropical thing is for the birds…just not this bird.

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  1. Great post… I’m still jealous…

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