I am delighted to tell you that the Rio Dulce (meaning sweet river) is indeed magical. As the river curves its way through the Southern Guatemalan countryside you are struck by the drama, intrigue and beauty of the landscape. Unlike other rivers we have been on in the region, the waters of the Dulce are flanked by craggy rocky cliffs which reach high into the sky. The cliffs are covered in dense primary rainforest and because its so dense, its impossible to see any of the wildlife hidden within. Tentacle like creepers wind their way down to meet the weak coffee coloured waters which are rich in fish life. Indeed many of the houses we see along the banks of the Dulce are the homes of fishermen and there are women bent over washing clothes on large flat grey stones. We see many hopeful, smiling young girls in canoes moving through the water tending to their blue crab baskets. There are other children trying to catch turtles. Then, surprisingly a number of stunning holiday homes appear on the shores – apparently despite this being a national park, people just rock up and start building. After travelling about an hour upstream, we also start to see dozens of expensive yachts moored up – its clearly a playground for the rich and famous. Perhaps they should call it the Dulce Riveria. The river opens up into a huge lake, hundreds of water lilies begin to appear in the shallow waters, and we see a deadly Coral snake nipping through the waves ahead. The silhouette of the Mayan mountains looks like soft velvet folds against the hazy blue skies.

We stayed at the Banana Palms hotel.

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