Rancho Corozal (tel. 5309-1423 in Guatemala, 866/621-4032 toll-free U.S., www.quintamaconda.com) is an absolutely astounding private villa that can be yours for $250 d per night including breakfast. The owners are quick to point out that it’s not a hotel but rather a private hideaway. It can sleep up to 10 people in five double beds with stylish safari netting.
The beautiful house, designed with soaring thatched roofs and attractive ceramic and stucco accents, is set right beside the river on its own 20-acre forest reserve. There are tastefully landscaped tropical gardens, a short nature trail, open-air living and dining rooms, and a hammock patio. The house is wonderfully watched over by its live-in caretaker, Sabino, who can show you around and take you to area attractions aboard the house skiff ($125 per day). At night, the villa is lit by the warm glow of gas lamps and torches. Food can be arranged at the house or at one of a few local eateries. Try the freshwater crab cooked in coconut milk at neighboring Doña Lola’s.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com