One Long Bridge, One Long NightApril 13, 2018 in Guatemala ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C
Our wonderful tourist shuttle bus dropped us in front of the Backpackers Inn in Rio Dulce. The dilemma - break our rule about staying in the first place we check out, or look elsewhere which will likely be more expensive? From everything we've read, these dorm beds were as cheap as it gets. We continued our stress-free streak and stayed in their 16 bed dorm (thankfully, we only had 2 roommates), and said no thank-you when we were offered sheets and pillow for an extra 15Q. If we're only paying 30Q for the bed, why would we add 50% to the price? Thinking back on it, 2,50$CAD for sheets and a pillow shouldn't have made us hesitate so long.
Why the title you ask? Well, we thought the hostel was on the same side of the bridge as the ferry we needed to grab in morning (knowing the centre of town was on the other side), but we were wrong. We crossed the bridge 3 times. 1.1 km long, curved bridge which means uphill for half of it. One long bridge.
Crossing the bridge for the first time was to head for the Cascadas Caliente! Hot waterfall in Finca El Paradiso. Jack finally gets a taste for her "collectivo", the beloved mini vans over packed with people. We went to the street corner our travel guide suggested, and spoke to the man standing outside a minivan. And by spoke, I mean we said "cascadas caliente?" to which he replied by pointing to the empty and unattended van across the street. One thing we've learned about this trusty transportation method - it leaves when it's full, and not before. This empty van isn't giving us hope. Little did we know, within 5 minutes a man would emerge from the corner yelling a destination we don't understand, people started piling into the van, and he walked to us and asked "Finca El Paradiso?". Sometimes, being white and clearly foreign helps, because yes, yes we are going to Finca El Paradiso. Please show us the way. Which he did. To the same van. Success!
Absolutely amazing experience. 45 minutes in a minivan and we're dropped by the side of the road, where a farmer stands from his bench and signals us over. He then asks for 15Q per person, the entrance fee. Sure. Then said something in Spanish, of which I understood "caminare" and "quince minutes" or something along those lines. Don't worry - my Spanish is improving by the day! My interpretation - follow this path for 15 minutes to your destination. Done.
On this path, we meet farmer number 2, who introduces himself and does this one arm side hug to both Jack and I, sweaty cheeks touching, ever so slightly awkward. But nice guy... Finally, we meet farmer number 3, who says (at least what I interpreted) that his job was to watch our stuff while we go swimming. You got it!
Off we go in this clear, cold water. Swim up to the waterfall, sulphur smells increasing by the inch, and touch this incredibly hot - can barely get under - waterfall. The feeling of your body being in cold water yet hot water falling on your head was surreal. I haven't seen too many sites as cool as this one. Just a few local families enjoying the same beautiful nature setting. We stayed 2 hours taking it all in, and as we start leaving a tourist group arrived - 15 of them. Our timing was perfect!
As we wait for the collectivo back to town, a lovely gentleman called Roberto was generous enough to stop and give us a ride back to town. Now some of you might say it isn't safe to hitch hike in Guatemala, to you I say - I wasn't hitch hiking, my thumb wasn't out, he's just a really nice guy! Jack just hopped in the car that stopped near us and I followed. Also, how can a guy who looked for his Barry Manilow music because it was in English, be bad? We all sang "... Copa, Copa Cabana!" together.
We then proceeded to have the worse sleep ever - sheetless, music blaring from the restaurant and from the other side of the bridge, and massive truck engines roaring when trying to make it up the bridge over top of us. But, 30Q!Read more