If you feel like taking the scenic route to Guatemala’s stretch of Caribbean coastline (technically it’s the Amatique Bay, but who’s counting?), ready your kayak and set the GPS for the town of Fronteras. Here you’ll find an impressively large (by Central American standards) bridge that divides Lake Izabal from the mouth of Rio Dulce, and hence the start of your journey. For disclosure purposes, we should probably tell you that, from here, $16 will also buy you a motorized boat-ride down river, but where’s the fun in that?
Now anyway, where were we? Oh right, the beginning. If you’re game for tackling the entire 35 km/22 mile length of Rio Dulce from Fronteras to coastal Livingston, you’ll be rewarded with some fantastic scenes of eastern Guatemala nestled along water that’s refreshingly free of any industrial waste (yippee!). After the first several km, the river opens up into the beautiful El Golfete lake, dotted with a lilly pads, local fishing boats and a few shoreline houses. Not bad, but stay the course; Rio Dulce saves the best for last. As the river narrows again on its way towards the Caribbean, you’ll find yourself paddling through an incredible limestone gorge, with sheer white, tree-covered cliffs jutting 100 m overhead. Cue the Jurassic Park theme music. Eventually the walls will recede, replaced by the aroma of salt-water wafting on the newly-found breeze, and you’ll know you’re not far from Livingston. We recommend giving yourself a couple days to enjoy the experience to the fullest.