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Sun stop in Guatemala


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Booked Sun cruise on 2/11 & one of the ports is Santo Tomas de Castilla Guatemala. It's not listed on cruise critic ports list. Does anyone have any information about what to do & where to go here? Is it very developed? Thanks.

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We did the Amatique Bay Resort excursion. We enjoyed our day but it is not for everyone.

The grounds are lovely.

The ocean at the beach is not very "nice" (murky and not appealing for swimming). However the pool area is quite pleasant.

Staff are friendly and helpful.

There is a small "market" area where you can bargain for stuff. We got a nice small hand woven rug for half the inital asking price.

Lunch was fine but the chicken was a bit underdone - so we skipped it - everything else was pretty good.

Personally I think this would be a good day for people who want to just relax by a nice pool or who have small children (very fun "pirate ship" in the children's pool area, water slides, animals (turtles and iguanas) and swing sets and such)).

People looking for a more 'active' day might be bored.

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  • 1 month later...

I definitely wanted to do a Rio Dulce tour, but also wanted to see the towns of Santo Tomas and Puerto Barrios, which I'd miss if I had just taken Gus's tour from the dock. so instead I contacted various hotels in the area to see if they had excursions available. Most did, but the hours didn't always fit the ship's arrival and departure, and most were costly.


I found Javier Putul at the hotelcasarosada.com website. He arranged to meet us in his launcha at Puerto Barrios, and told us other customers had taken a taxi from the Santo Tomas pier for $10 each round trip, and not to pay more than that. We had a group of 6 thru our roll call, and although Javier said he COULD take up to 10 we'd probably be more comfortable with only our 6, and he was right. He charged us $44 each, plus $10 for lunch. Most of us had the local specialty, Tapado, a fish stew with plaintains and coconut milk, a salad, coconut bread and key lime pie. One person had lobster. It would have been slightly less had we had 7, but the same if we'd had 10. I believe with gas prices climbing it might be a few dollars more now.


Gus happened to be talking to us at the time the taxi/tour people were setting prices, and originally they wanted $120 for the 6 of us, and I said no, only $60. His hotel is next door to Javier's in livingston, so Gus vouched for the lower price. They said it was up to the cab drivers. Cab drivers said yes. But they would not give us a van, since they were saving those for larger parties who might want a tour, so we took 2 cabs, 3 people in each. Romeo was our driver, and stopped at the 16C church in Santo Tomas, and pointed out various landmarks along the way and into Puerto Barrios. He was very proud of their hospital and school. He spoke a few words in English, but I spoke some Spanish so we did fine together. He goes to school twice a week at night, and when we left him he said, "It has been a pleasure to serve you today" in perfect English.


It was kind of neat because we got to deal with people who were not accustomed to accommodating tourists, just plain people, in Puerto Barrios.


In Livingston we stopped at the hotel to have coffee and place our lunch orders, use the rest rooms etc. Then we were off on the Rio tour. If I hadn't known where I was I'd have thought I was in paradise. It was so pristine on the river. We saw people eecking out a living in their canoes. Most of the homes on the various rivers off the Rio Dulce have no power unless it is from a generator, and then, those people can afford it. But the average person uses very little currency. Most are bi lingual, their own native Quekchi (sp) Mayan tongue and Spanish. We saw bird island with literally thousands of birds, the school, the hot springs which I learned are hot because of plates moving, not from volcanos, the golfo and everything described above re Gus's tour. We just spent longer on the river and had more individual attention and conversation.


Do not hesitate to communicate with the various hotels. There is usually someone there who speaks English. I found that their spoken English is better than their written English, so bear with them if they do email. I think the other 5 in my group, who did not speak Spanish, would have done fine without me. I just was able to ask a few very pertinent questions because of the Spanish. If you have someone who is totally fluent in spanish, all the better for getting that extra information.


I enjoyed the trip and the hotel so much that I am now sort of a pen pal with Javier. He is an upstanding man and we have fun sharing different things about both of our cultures. He enjoys it so he can practice English.


If you only want to see the Rio Dulce, and not the towns, you can't go wrong with Gus's tour. there'll just be more people in your group. Possibly 3 boats of 10 each? It's just up to you as to how you would feel more comfortable.

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