Get real on this tour, away from all the crowds!
It is harder and harder to find those out-of-the-way places that are not filled with people gaping at the sights. Here you will enjoy your time with a local and make lots of new friends.
Santo Tomás de Castilla is one of the most important port cities in Guatemala. It is located in the Eastern Gulf of the Honduras coast on the Amatique Bay. Santo Tomas Guatemala was originally settled in the 19th century by Belgian pioneers. The port here was built in the 1960s to complement the cargo port at Puerto Barrios and, for many years, Santo Tomás received only cargo ships. In 2004, cruise ships began arriving and although the area is not a pristine paradise for the well-seasoned traveler, it remains a wonderful stop for real cultural experiences, something that has become more and more difficult to find in a world that seems to get smaller everyday.
On this tour, you will enjoy a boat ride cruise along the shoreline of Amatique Bay. Nature is prevalent and seagulls, pelicans, and knights will welcome you as you pass local fishermen catching their daily income. Your first stop is the village of Livingston, and your guide will take you by boat to the fish market. Every culture has their markets and special indigenous foods and each prepares them differently. Watch how the special catch of the day is prepared and how the traditional method of sundrying sea bass, yellow jackets, sharks, and other species are prepped for local restaurants and homes.
A dockside stop at Posada El Delfin will allow you to disembark if you wish. Here you can sample some of the local fresh fruits, grab a bottle of water and a snack, and refresh yourself in the hotel. Gliding on in the comfort of your vessel, enjoy the sounds and scenery as you pass through the canyon of the Rio Dulce River. The walls you pass through are up to 300 feet high and full of various vegetation. This stop provides a special look into the daily lives of locals and insight into the reality for Guatemalan natives because you complete your passing through the canal with a stop at a local school full of happy Mayan children. Meet the teachers and watch the kids as they interact and greet you with something prepared in your honor. This is an exceptional experience and one you won't forget, particularly on a vacation itinerary that stops in well-developed locations on other days. If you planned ahead, you can give some small gifts to the children before continuing on.
Yes, more to see and learn, as your next stop is at the Tortilla Learning Center! I am sure this will come as a surprise that the "headquarters" to teach tortilla making is in this remote area. But learn you will and not only that, you will enjoy knowing that you can recreate this feat at home in your own kitchen. Time to refresh and a stop at the Hot Water Springs delivers that meditative feeling.
There is much to comtemplate as you make your way back to Livingston where a special lunch is served with a cold beer, glass of wine, or other sparkling beverages. By now you are one of the family and probably wishing you could stay, so make a toast to your new friends with a shot of "Chico Plus," a family digestive liquor made in Antigua Guatemala city. Its base is from a cherry fruit called Nance, and the mixture is a Spaniard secret recipe of Muñoz family. You have loosened up at this point and can sit and enjoy some Garifuna music, dance a little "Punta," and circle the floor.
Finish with a quick tour of the village of Livingston and then back to the "other" world you came from!
- During the tour, you will have a restroom stop at Posada El Delfin.
- You may bring some gifts for the school children, which they will welcome.
- Lunch is included. Gratuities are not.
- The entire tour is done by boat, which you will exit at certain stops.
- On the boat you will need to wear the provided life jacket. Please note: life jackets can accommodate people up to 250 lbs.
- As this is a shared program you must be able to keep with the pace of the group.
Days offered: 7 days a week