Humor us for a moment, we're trying to set the mood. Close your eyes. OK, maybe just squint because you have to keep reading. Now imagine a river of cool water traversing the Guatemalan jungle, interrupted at a point by a 12 meter-tall cascade the temperature of your perfect steam-inducing shower. To stand underneath it is to give your shoulders and back a constant hot-water massage, while to swim away from it just a meter or two allows your muscles some instant, cooling relief. Above the waterfall there are private, natural hot pools in the forest floor, while behind and around it are caves just ripe for a little exploring. If this were any other country, we might have to tell you that this is all some cruel joke; but this is Guatemala, so of course the place really exists.
Dubbed "Las Cascadas Calientes," this toasty slice of paradise is pretty much centrally located between the towns of El Estor and Fronteras on the northern shores of Lake Izabal. Upon paying the nominal 10 Q entrance fee (the falls are situated on a private ranch), you're free to make the experience as adventurous or as relaxing as you want. Stick around at the falls/hot pools and just enjoy the incredible natural surroundings, or take a romp upriver and make a hike out of it. Just try to show up either early in the morning or early in the week (preferably both) to avoid a potential crowd. Regardless, if you're planning to do some boating down the nearby Rio Dulce, the Finca el Paraiso waterfall is absolutely an experience worth adding a day for. Check our links for more details.