This small, pleasant settlement serves as an option for onward travel to Mexico or down the Río Usumacinta. There is an immigration office here, lodging, and several simple comedores. The best place to stay is at the community-run Posada Maya (tel. 7861-1799 or 7861-1800, $20 d) with simple rooms in thatched-roof bungalows. The restaurant here serves decent meals in a pleasant palapa building.
There is a small Mayan site here about 1.5 kilometers from the village, though its most impressive feature is probably the view of the river from a lookout about 20 minutes’ walk from the site’s core.
Boats leave Bethel downstream for Frontera Corozal, Yaxchilán, and Piedras Negras. Five daily buses and three daily minibuses leave the Santa Elena bus depot for the 3–4 hour ride to Bethel. The last of these departs at 1:30 p.m.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com