20 – 21 January
Our morning began by stopping off at the Quirigua Ruins on the road from Honduras to Puerto Barrios.
This site had been a satellite of Copan but wanted to assert its independence and did so by beheading Eighteen Rabbit (the head of Copan).. The site is significantly smaller than Copan and its main point of interest is the highest stelae in the Mayan Culture – built to show its importance. The hieroglyphs are interesting and we were taught how the Mayans counted and expressed numbers which enabled accurate dating of the stelae.
We then faced a long bus trip to the coast where we caught our small boat to Linvingston, a sleepy town inhabited mainly by Garufena – black Americans who were settled in St Vincent but now live here and in Honduras.
Livingston has a few souvenir shops and shops for the locals, a public laundry place and a few hotels of varying quality but is at the mouth of the Rio Dulce which is the main river of nine flowing into the Caribbean at this point.
Ours was one of the best with a river frontage and large swimming pool. We had a good welcome drink of Cocoloco – a memory of Cuba – and a voucher for a Daiquiri later. The weather is very warm and humid and a welcome change
I wandered along the main street on arrival which is mainly souvenir shops and the small port. On my stroll I noticed they served Caipirnha – my favourite Brazilian tipple so I managed to exchange my Diaquiri voucher for a Caipirnha before going to our buffet dinner – vegetable for me but well cooked.
Woke up early and noticed sunrise – one of the few in all my life – across the bay towards the mountains which was worth a photo.
8 am start and we boarded our boats to go up the Rio Dulce spotting iguanas and birds – hawks, falcons, cormorants and other water birds. We had a stop at a traditional handicraft place run as an educational project and then proceeded up river as far as the Fortress guarding the entrance to Lake Izabal to be reunited with our bus and bags - we had taken only overnight bags with us for our stop in Livingston.
Our journey then took the road to Tikal –the most famous of all the Mayan sites where we stay in a jungle lodge on the complex. Another long journey but broken with a lunch at a traditional finca. Weather continues warm and sunny.