Reggae Vibe in Livingston, Guatemala!
My final bus ride in Honduras, was along some small towns and the coast and was a very nice way to leave on a good note. There's no secret about the immense problems and crime in Honduras, but it is a stunning country. Utila and Roatan are absolute must visits, and having to pass through San Pedro Sula and Porto Cortes, which are far from any sort of paradise, it was very enjoyable and surprisingly unfitting to have my final memory of Honduras being a peaceful road along the water.
I stepped out of the bus, and looked around for the border. I recognized the Spanish word "frontera" and repeated it to a person standing by as I pointed in the direction in front of me. He nodded, I said 'gracias', and walked towards a very unassuming border. Walking over to what looked like a ticket counter, handed over my passport, watched him move some papers around, hammer some stamps, and slide my passport back to me and with a limp wave pointed towards where I was to walk. I saw a little bus waiting under a signed that read "Bienvenidos a Guatemala." Welcome to Guatemala.
Main street down to the port, Livingston, Guatemala
I hopped in the bus and we sped off the couple hour journey to the closest big town of Puerto Barrios, me being the only non-local. I spent the night in Puerto Barrios, and left on one of the constant departing boats across the bay to the little reggae town of Livingston. Livingston, Guatemala is only really accessible by boat, as the roads around it eventually just turn into dirt roads, then dirt paths.
With no place booked I just grabbed my bag off the little boat, and walked up the road keeping my eyes peeled for places to stay. I struck up a conversation with a local sitting on a step who seemed to notice I was looking for a place and offered to show me a decent hostel for a "great price my man." We walked another 500 meters and turned down some steps to a guest house called African Place. For the equivalent of about 8-9 dollars I had my own room, with a ceiling fan that was so powerful it could almost pull me out of the bed,a clean bathroom, and well... that's all that's needed. I paid for my first night and gave the change to my new friend and walked with him back into town as he went his own way and I sat down for some food. After my eats, and a few laps around the surrounding blocks, I had pretty much explored all of Livingston.
I walked down a road to get a look at another view at the beach, and I started to approach a cliff. As I got closer, I could hear some noise, and with the low light of the afternoon I looked over the cliffs edge and saw the most proper game of beach Soccer I have ever seen. Actual goals in the sand with nets, rocks lining the pitch, and even little sticks as corner flags. I hung my feet off the edge and sat there until the games end. It is weird when you are travelling how something as simple as this, and something so unexpected, you realize that it is exactly what you didn't know you wanted.
Heading up to Rio Dulce from Livingston, Guatemala
Leaving Livingston early in the morning, I sleepily walked down the road to the port, and after a small wait, got on another small boat and headed up the river, Rio Dulce, towards the town of Rio Dulce.
Such an incredible way to wake up. You forget how warm it is becoming as the sun is rising higher in the sky because of the cool breeze off the water and the occasional spray from the boat. Passing up the river, with lush green on either side, there are some incredible tiny little huts that sit on stilts into the water. These are not the Guatemalan peoples cabins, these are their homes, so far removed from what we would consider normal civilization. It was so humbling to think that even as we passed them and left them behind, the sun would rise and set over their super simple lives on the bank of the river.
Crossing the El Golfete lake, we pulled off to the right just before going under the highway into the huge Lago de Izabal, and we had arrived at Rio Dulce.
With a couple hours until my bus arrived, that would carry me to Semuc Champey, I stumbled across a little basketball and soccer court, pulled out my workout bands, linked them up and worked out with some construction workers on their lunch break who showed interest in my funny elastic bands. Next stop, Semuc Champey but not after a very long, and surprising bus ride.
Guatemala was already starting to impress me.