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August 2004
We lived in Antigua for summer school, from June-August.  As soon as summer school ended, we did a road trip across Guatemala from Antigua to the Atlantic Ocean.  We traveled by shuttle bus, Class A bus, Chicken Bus, and launcha (river boat). Along the way, we visited Tikal, Rio Dulce, and Livingston. Tikal Temple
Tikal:  Maya ruins in the Rainforest
Tikal Temple II  

This is Temple II,  in the Grand Plaza.  The Central Acropolis is in the background. The size and grandeur of the monuments are stunning and no photographs can capture the effect of these structures. 

This is Temple I, in the Grand Plaza. Stand in the silence and you can almost hear the past around you. We will be doing alot of reasearch on the Maya.  Tikal Temple I
Tikal North Acropolis The North Acropolis in the Grand Plaza.   Temple I to the right.  All our photos of Tikal have this postcard quality, as if the landscape were frozen in time.  There were plenty of people around, but they don't show up well in the photos.  Very metaphysical.
The Central Acropolis in the Grand Plaza.  This was such an amazing place, we can't really find words to tell you about it.  The scale is huge; people are incidental here. Tikal Central Acropolis
Tikal Temple IV Temple IV, the most dramatic and the farthest of the temples, surrounded by rainforest.
Luc on the way up Temple IV. The wooden ladders seemed more difficult and harder to climb than the real stone steps. Climbing Temple IV
The view from Temple IV The view from the top of Temple IV, looking over the rainforest canopy toward the Grand Plaza
Luc and George at the top of Temple IV, trying to orient themselves with a map of the ruins.  Tikal is a huge site, over 6 square miles of ruins, some excavated, but most still mounds covered with rainforest foliage. Luc and George with the Tikal Map
Skeleton on Altar Stone The field archeologists are discussing how to proceed with this skeleton found on an altar stone
A structure not yet excavated.  There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of these shapes all over the countryside. Once you have seen the excavated sites all the overgrown mounds are suddenly obvious. The time it took for these structures to be covered is hard to fathom. The size of the trees is amazing.  Unexcavated structure
Stele and Altar Stone Stele and altar stone.  These were commonly found together.
Leaf cutter ants on the rainforest trail. We had to come back to get this picture. The battery went dead and we needed some lunch as well. Leaf Cutter Ants
Tikal Palm Fronds We saw toucans and spider monkeys and vultures and leaf cutter ants.
Rio Dulce: River Hurricane Hole that empties into the Atlantic Ocean
Rio Dulce, on the northeast coast of Guatemala, is probably the nicest cruiser haven we've seen. What more can you ask for?  A good little  town with lots of services, good holding bottom in 12 to 20 ft of fresh water, good access and transportation, and lots of different places to anchor or tie up. And it's gorgeous! We envy the folks who will be here next hurricane season.  Rio Dulce
The Atlantic Ocean Rio Dulce empties into the Atlantic Ocean at the small town of Livingston. A tiny town with a few roads, a few shops, a few more restaurants, not much else. The Tapado (a seafood stew with coriander and coconut milk) was worth the trip down river.
George and Betsey on the Rio Dulce Bridge, the longest bridge in Central America. The wind was really blowing this day, and Bets is using George as a windbreak. George and Betsey at Rio Dulce
George in the Garden of Eden George in the gardens at Mario's Marina, on the Rio Dulce.  We stopped here to look for a used dinghy.
Luc is attending to Elvis, who lives at Mario's Marina.  Elvis likes attention, and also likes leaning, all 150 lbs of him. Luc and Elvis
My favorite Rio Dulce house High style along the Rio Dulce, heading toward Livingston
We liked this one also. Note the railings and screens. Beautiful Railings
El Capitan Captain Alessandro Cruz, river captain on the Rio Dulce.
A stop at the hot springs along the Rio Dulce.  You can see the steam rising from the river. Rio Dulce Hot Springs
Jorge's Crowley Hat George is trying to keep his favorite Crowley hat from blowing away in the river winds. We are almost at Livingston, the mouth of the Rio Dulce, in the Atlantic Ocean.
Livingston, at the mouth of Rio Dulce and the Atlantic Ocean
Main Street, Livingston, looking out toward Rio Dulce.  Livingston is an interesting mix of Black Guatemalans who speak Spanish as well at their traditional Garifuna, Black Guatemalans who speak the musical English of Belize, Latinos who speak Spanish and some English, and tourists who speak all kinds of languages.  We noticed that none of these folks mix much. Main Street Livingston
Livingston Ladies Main Street, looking toward town.  This is a typical Central American town, with a slight Caribbean flavor to it.
George, resting in a hammock on our 18th wedding anniversary. He looks pretty content, yes? George in the hammock
Luc in the hammock Luc looks pretty happy, also. These hammocks were really very cool and comfortable
We saw this in the bow of a launcha.  Common Caribbean sentiment. Livingston Launcha
 

 

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Last modified: April 27, 2010