Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Hot Waterfalls Adventure
A group of us cruisers summering over here on the Rio Dulce in Guatemala tumbled into the marina's van and rode through stunning green cattle grazing lands for about an hour to these falls. Because the falls are on a little river which is the private property of a large agricultural plantation/cattle ranch we paid our 10 Quetzales ($1.25) per person fee before jumping into the waters. COOL, fresh water flowed through the ponds but it was HOT water that streamed down the waterfall. Heated by geothermal activity, the water was too hot to touch.
We swam underneath the waterfall to a small space behind the falls. This space was a steamy "spa" that we could fit at least 5 people into. So we stood on rocks on the bottom, with cool water up to our waists and enjoyed the bizarre contrast with the steamy air while looking through a hot water curtain out to the ponds.
While standing and chatting in one little pond, we realized that our feet were getting a special foot treatment! Occasionally, little bursts of steamy bubbles would spit out of the gravel on the bottom and toast our toes! Ouch, and yes, it did smell very strongly of sulfur - eeeew!
Next up...how about a waterfall inside a cave that you have to swim up the river in the cave to see? Sure! Just one caveat though, you have to hike through the jungle on a steep, slippery trail to get to this treasure of Guatemala. So we did of course. We started out wet from our swim in the hot waterfalls and stayed wet from the sweat rolling down every body part.
We had to hire a guide (Francisco) to lead us to the caves area and he sure earned his fee (another 10 Q or $1.25 per person). See him there in the photo carrying my basket? Yep, my knitting goes everywhere because, well, you just never know when you might have a few minutes to knit, and he earned himself a generous tip for lugging my basket. OK, not exactly a glamour shot of me (creeping downhill behind Francisco) but that was the view everyone else saw all day too.
What a treat it was to swim in fresh water after months of seawater swimming. It's so different! The sweet and woody smells of the nearby jungle filled our salty sailor nostrils.
So we trudged back through through the jungle to our van. At one point our guide showed us a cave which has petroglyphs etched on the walls. He said the cave was used for Mayan ceremonies. We don't know how old the drawings are (hundreds of years or mere months?) but it was interesting just the same even if we suspected it was for us touristas' enjoyment.
But wait, there's more! After lunch we headed back up the road to take a little trip up a nearby river gorge. Ahhh, this was to be a sedate tour with somebody else doing all the work - a good thing as we were all lethargic after our big lunch. After a little bargaining by Marco, our marina manager who is from this area, we settled on a good price and these boys paddled us in their cayuca canoe.This cayuca was once a solid piece of wood carved from a tree trunk, but it had been covered with fiberglass at some point in time to extend it's useful life. We also hired a second cayuca which was a fiberglass model.
So mellow, and cool in the shade from the cliffs. Water dripped down in many places making tiny waterfalls and a sweet dribbling sound. Again, the smells were incredible with subtle floral scents, wet rocks and simple earthiness.
What a marvelous adventure made even more fun with the company of like-minded folks who are always ready to explore what this beautiful country has to offer. Oh, and who also kindly share their photos.
Final thought for the day: When you live in the tropics and use an open air restroom facility, remember to apply insect repellent on ALL parts of your exposed skin (including your bum) before attempting to use the toilet. Ask us how we know.
What an awesome day! More adventure than I've had in 5 years and you've done it all in 1 day! Great blog post. Thanks Terry.
I love all your post I have been so busy ...I miss visiting your blog .. you need to challenge me with another challenge like you did a few years ago :O) Miss talk to you Terry :O)
What a Great day! Love your descriptions, Terry. Felt like I was there. Wishing I was there! - Stay wellPost a Comment