Posted by: Jack | November 11, 2007

Guatemala – Paraiso

As you may have guessed paraiso means “paradise”, and that’s just what this destination offered. We hopped off a bus about halfway between El Estor and Fronteras and as we walked onto a sizable private farm, a number of children swarmed us attempting to sell various snacks. After making it clear that we weren’t interested, they all noticed my camera and indicated that I should take their photo. Turns out that this is considered a privilege worthy of a small payment as well…at least in their minds. After significant encouragement, everyone agreed to smile for the photos…right up until I hit the shutter. I’m not really sure what the problem was.

After paying the land-owner about $1 we walked back into the forested hills along a small river until we reached the spot we had come for. The river widened into a pool with a gorgeous waterfall all along one side.

Swimming at the base of any waterfall is a pretty good time but when the waterfall is fed by two natural hot springs and pours over the stone at 100° F, the experience reaches into an entirely different realm. Most of the water in the pool comes from the cool river but the waterfall brings the temperature up well above that of your typical swimming pool.

Climbing to the top of the falls we found a perfect spot to lounge around and enjoy the natural jacuzzi.

As an added bonus, the area was surrounded with plenty of interesting flora. I found these bizarre vines to be especially intriguing.

It was at this wonderful spot that I felt as if I was finally putting the stress of my missing pack behind me as we basked in these waters. I think one reason for this was that I finally had a chance to take the time for some worthwhile photography. Previously the weather had been uncooperative or we had been in less photogenic locations and I was fairly frustrated by not being able to capture some of these once-in-a-life-time experiences. However, even this spot provided it’s own complications as the hot waters kept steaming up my lens while trying to capture the shot below. We had discovered that by swimming under and behind the waterfall a sort of cavernous opening could be reached where we could re-emerge. This photo is of Anna coming back out from this space.

After many relaxing hours and a break for lunch, we dried off and returned back to the road just in time to see a bus coming by which would be the last for a couple of hours. We shouted and waved, pulling on our shoes as we ran with armfuls of gear. Climbing aboard, we were greeted by plenty of “crazy gringos” looks as we set off for Fronteras on the Rio Dulce.

As I was sitting down and packing my bag I noticed an opportunity to sneak a photo of the somewhat unusual way in which young children are often seen traveling. When the mother is not sitting down, the child is usually found slung over the back.

Light blue line on the Progress Map

Next: Fronteras to El Ramate



  1. […] Next: Paraiso to Fronteras on the Rio Dulce […]

  2. Simply awesome!

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