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Santo Tomas de Castilla?


susanNjay

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Hello!

We are trying to decide which cruise to take this November...we usually travel out of Galveston on RC, but I found a good deal on a trip out of New Orleans on the Norwegian Sun...

My questions are:

Has anyone been to Santo Tomas de Castilla?

What can you tell me about it?

Did anyone go to the ruins there? How were they?

What else is there to do at this port?

 

Thank you for any help you can give me...

 

--Susan

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Susan,

Have never been to Santo Tomas, but go to the Caribbean--Other board in the Ports of Call section as there are a number of recommendations there.

We too are going on the Sun out of New Orleans this November.

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We were just there on the HAL Zeendam last week and enjoyed it.

We took the HAL Countryside and Rio Dulce excursion and found it to be very nice. Had a newer air conditioned Mercedes bus with a great guide, saw a lot of the countryside and a very nice boat ride and stop at a resort.

There were lots of woven and embroidered goods for sale and the people seemed very friendly and appreciative of our business.

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Just was there two weeks ago. We took the tour with Gus. When you get off the ship, go into the building and look for Gus with the Cowboy hat. You went across the bay to Livingston and sailed up the river to a ecological sanctuary. It was a very good tour and was only $60 a person including tips.

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Whoever you use as a guide, Gus or the ship's tour etc. be sure to see the Rio Dulce. It is pristine. People were using dug out canoes for their transportation. The few homes you'll see have no power (generator for the richer ones). They will probably stop at a school, also.

 

We used hotelcasarosada.com and took the whole day to do everything in a leisurely manner. I arranged it before the cruise. Javier will work with you to set the times etc. if you choose to do it that way. We took a taxi ($10 round trip per person. You get a licensed driver there at the port. The driver will meet you at the designated time for your return) from Santo Tomas to Puerto Barrios, (got to see the town of Santo Tomas & its 400 year old church, and a little of life in PB) where Javier, the owner of the hotel, met us and took us to Livingston.

 

We had coffee, walked around the gardens observing the beautiful birds and plants we don't have in the states, placed our luncheon order, then headed out on the Rio. It was absolutely pristine. We saw the hot springs (could have gone swimming but a couple of men were fishing so we declined), the canyons, bird island etc. We preferred this to going on Gus's tour with 3 boats. There were just 6 of us. Our group was small enough that we got to ask questions. We just felt we had more personal attention with a small group. I'm sure you'd have a good time on Gus's tour, too. You just would not get to see the two towns of S.T. and P. B. Both Gus and javier speak English.

 

We did stop at a school (had a dock there), saw and heard yet more exotic birds, and returned to the hotel for lunch in the open air dining room. Before we left I'd made sure they'd use purified water for washing vegetables etc. We had a choice of local fish, lobster, shrimp or tapado, the local fish soup specialty which most of us had. Delicious! We had coconut bread, more salad than we could eat, the main course, and key lime pie for dessert for $10. Then we walked around Livingston for a while before heading back. We tried the Guatemalan beer, too. The boat trip is half an hour from either Santo Tomas or Puerto Barrios to Livingston.

 

We left the ship at 8 a.m. and returned at 3:30 to PB, so we had a full day, much more than the ship's tour offers. It was nice to eat authentic Guatemalan food from the area. I hope you enjoy yourselves no matter what excursion you take! If I get to go again I think I'll see the Quirigua ruins and a part of the Rio Dulce further upstream toward the castle and Lake Isabal, the largest in Guatemala.

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