The town of Río Dulce is the community centered around a long bridge crossing over the river near its meeting point with Lake Izabal. You’ll find most of the town’s accommodations on the north side of the bridge, also known as Fronteras.
Although the river and jungle are all around you, exploring this area may not be so easy on your own. It’s always possible to hire a lanchero to take you around. Bargain hard.
A more viable alternative is to stay at one of the more ecologically oriented lodges, which usually offer a full range of options for exploring. The two best places to stay in this regard are Hacienda Tijax (tel. 7930-5505/6/7, VHF channel 09, www.tijax.com) and Tortugal, (tel. 5306-6432 or 7742-8847, VHF channel 68, www.tortugal.com), which both do an excellent job of providing engaging nature hikes as well as supplying equipment (kayaks, for example) to explore on your own.
Aventuras Vacacionales (tel. 7832-6056, www.sailing-diving-guatemala.com) offers sailing trips to the Belize Cayes on Las Sirenas, a 46-foot Polynesian catamaran. Sailing adventures are also available on “That” (tel. 5529-0829), a 62-foot trimaran.
Getting to Río Dulce
The north end of the bridge, also known as Fronteras, is a hub for transport heading out in several directions from here. Buses heading north to Petén all stop here before continuing to Poptún and Flores ($7, four hours). There are shuttle buses to Guatemala City ($30), Antigua ($37), and Copán Ruinas ($37) that can be booked through the local travel agencies. Buses too.
Boats to Lívingston leave from underneath the north side of the bridge via ASOCOLMORAN (tel. 5561-9657), the local water taxi association, at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., taking about 90 minutes and costing $13 one-way.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com