Posted by: Jack | November 12, 2007

Guatemala – Fronteras on the Rio Dulce

We were dropped off at the intersection in Fronteras, a tiny town which thrives as a major transportation hub as well as a popular destination for sailors. With only two roads intersecting at a T and both packed with street vendors, the two-way shipping traffic is usually forced to get by with one lane or less. I really don’t know how it works out.

We checked in at a small resort on the water which caters to the sailing crowd but accommodates the occasional backpacker with some dormitories. We were a bit frustrated at having to pay double the rate which we were becoming accustomed to (~$4/each instead of $2) but had to accept that most things around here would cost a bit more.

On the ride into town we had read about the nearby historic Castillo de San Felipe and with just enough daylight left, decided we would walk the supposed three kilometers to check it out. Nearly an hour and a half later we concluded that those three kilometers were a by-crow measurement while the actual trek worked out closer to six. Approaching the gate we were further dismayed to find that the entry price had doubled in the past year and the hours-of-operation had shortened. With very little time left before closing we decided to pass and just treat the outing as a lengthy day-hike. There was plenty of nice scenery along the walk anyway.

Back in at the hotel, we sat down at the restaurant on the water and played cards for a bit while enjoying some cool drinks (there is no question about it, ice-cold Coke served in a glass bottle anywhere South of the states is unbeatable…and was my drink of choice for practically the entire trip).

We found another sort of comedor for dinner and had mixed feelings as we watched our meals being transferred from brand-name boxes in the freezer to a hot pan of oil and then to our plates. It was somewhat reassuring to know for once that the food was undoubtedly safe to eat but when in a country where fresh avocados are about $1/dozen, it’s a little disappointing to see guacamole being squeezed out of a bulk-purchase bag.

Turning in for the night we became acquainted with our Australian dorm-mate (young Australians were everywhere in Guatemala) who had just spent a year snowboarding in Canada, not too far from our own home.

Waking up the next morning we purchased our tickets to Flores. I’m not sure why the bus systems always refer to the nearest tourist destination rather than the actual destination but this bus would be dropping us in Santa Elena rather than Flores. For comparison, this would be like taking a bus to an airport but being dropped off in the nearest city instead. But we didn’t need to get to Flores anyway so that was fine.

Before departing we sat down to a wonderful pancake breakfast which was a welcome break from the beans and eggs. We then sat around at the station waiting for the bus which arrived nearly an hour late. The lost time was recovered though as this coach bus maintained well over 100 km/h along a continually winding road passing through numerous small towns. After three annoying and honestly, quite frightening hours of being rocked from one side to the other, we made it to Santa Elena in the early afternoon and promptly jumped on a microbus for the short trip onto El Remate.

Light green line on the Progress Map

Next: El Remate to Tikal



  1. […] Next: Fronteras to El Ramate […]

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