Rio Dulce and Livingstone

Where Guatemala meets the Caribbean, with the Rio Dulce flowing to the sea at Livingston, providing shelter on Lago de Izabal for boats to avoid hurricanes. It’s an interesting part of the country, for history and nature.

Both were on display a short boat ride from Rio Dulce Town. Castillo San Felipe de Lara, on Lago de Izabal, was built by the Spanish in 1652 to protect from raiding British pirates. Relatively compact in scale, but filled with lookouts and cannons, exploring it was a great way to start the day.

Heading down the Rio Dulce we passed by bird island, where locals have used plastic pipes to help attract birds including pelicans, herons, vultures, egrets and cormorant.

There were more birds and locals homes hidden in the mangroves.

Speeding through Rio Dulce Gorge was an exhilarating experience, with 100m high cliffs and lush green rainforest.

After which it was a little surreal to see the Caribbean for the first time at Livingstone. This laid back town is home to the largest community in Guatemala of descendants of African slave ships that ran aground on St Vincent. There is still very clear separation between them and the locals, living in different parts of town and speaking different languages (Garifuna v Spanish), but they come together at school and church.

Their cemetery was unusually colourful if in need of some maintenance.

To end with examples of some of the great street art in Livingston.

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