Recommend April 2018 - 11

Both photos: Clients can explore the
country's magnificent Mayan ruins
and its natural beauties.

48. The Biotopo Monterrico-Hawaii
Reserve encompasses the beaches and
mangrove swamps of Monterrico and those of
the adjacent village of Hawaii, which are the
prime nesting sites for sea turtles-the giant
leatherback and the smaller Olive Ridley; the
season is June-December. Visitors will also spot
whales (December-February), as well as great
egrets and roseate spoonbills. Monterrico is
primarily a sun, sand and surf resort, with fine
lodgings such as Hotel Pez de Oro and Atelie
del Mar.

49. Guatemala is often called the sail fishing

de Castilla, just across from Puerto Barrios,
have become an engine for tourism
development on this long-overlooked
Caribbean corner of the country.

43. Quirigua, a small but important Mayan
city that once rivaled neighboring Copan (in
present-day Honduras) and today a UNESCO
World Heritage site, is set amidst banana
plantations and the jungle. This UNESCO
World Heritage site harbors beautifully carved
stelae, including the largest known in the Maya
world: 36-ft.-high Stela E. Equally fascinating
are massive stones shaped as serpents, frogs,
turtles and mythical beasts-all covered with

swinging to punta and reggae rhythms. You'll
have to book ahead for a room at the Posada El
Delfin and other lodgings during this festival.

46. In addition to beach excursions from
Livingston, the most popular outing is a cruise
along the 20-mile-long Rio Dulce waterway
connecting the Caribbean with Lake Izabal;
it flows through a region well known for its
exotic birds and tropical flora and fauna.
Along the way, passengers glide through an
impressive canyon and visit the Castillo de
San Felipe, a fortress built in 1652 as protection
against pirates.

47. Lago Izabal, Guatemala's largest lake,

capital of the world, with many world records
for single-day catch-and-release in the waters
just off the coast of Iztapa; sailfish outfitters
include transfers from Guatemala City in their
packages. Good beaches, whale watching and
first-class accommodations-Sailfish Bay
Lodge, Pacific Fins Resort & Marina or
Casa Vieja Lodge-Guatemala-complement
world-class fishing, and surfers will find plenty
of waves to ride.

50. Along the coast, the protected and
private Manchon Guamuchal Wetland
Reserve is an excellent pick for watching
migrating aquatic birds. Here you find 14 duck
species, sparrow hawks, falcons and 20 species
of egret. Birds arrive in October and November,
depart in March. The best bet for staying here
is Casa Mar Azul, guaranteeing good food and
kayaks to explore the mangroves.


Puerto Barrios is the departure point
for small boat excursions to the little explored
beaches and wetlands of Punta de Manabique
Wildlife Refuge, which draws serious birders to
the large populations of sea and wading birds,
including flamingos nesting mid-to-late spring.
Sea turtles also lay their eggs here, and dolphins
play in sheltered waters.

and its surrounding ecosystem of mangroves and
tropical forest, is a designated nature preserve.
The 80 sq. mile Biotopo Chochon Machacas
Reserve is home to crocodiles and otters, and
is the only fresh-water habitat known to shelter
manatees. Travelers staying at such hotels as the
Catamaran Island Hotel along Rio Dulce can
explore many of the quiet waterways by kayak
or canoe.

From Retalhuleu in the Escuintla
Department, discover the remarkable Takalik
Abaj site (800 BC-AD 200), spreading over
nine terraces and coffee farms, and revealing
275 unearthed structures, including stelae,
anthropomorphic carved stones, unique "fatbellied" sculptures, and an unlooted king's
grave, of Olmec influence in early Mayan
culture. Adding to its allure is the Takalik
Maya Lodge.

45. From the port town of Puerto Barrios, it's


52. Equally fascinating Olmec-style sites

just a short hop to Livingston, the main coastal
town that's accessible only by water. Splendidly
sited at the mouth of the Rio Dulce, Livingston
is a unique enclave of brightly painted wooden
houses inhabited by the Garifuna people, who
trace their origins to the island of St. Vincent.
Come Nov. 20, they celebrate International
Garifuna Day with Afro-Caribbean food
specialties, drums beating, and everyone

While the country is more famous for its
highland attractions, the Pacific Coast prides
itself on excellent breaks for surfing along many
of its empty, black-sand beaches; its sail fishing
prowess; opportunities for whale watching and
nature tourism starring aquatic birding and sea
turtle nesting; plus unique archaeological sites.

in Escuintla are: the Finca El Baul acropolis,
strewn through sugar cane fields. On view are
two great carved stones that are presently a
place of pagan worship for local people who
mostly on weekends bring offerings; there's an
open-air museum not far from the site. The
village of La Democracia also has a regional
museum and a display of carved stone heads
around the town square. ◆




Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend April 2018

Recommend April 2018 - 1
Recommend April 2018 - 2
Recommend April 2018 - 3
Recommend April 2018 - 4
Recommend April 2018 - 5
Recommend April 2018 - 6
Recommend April 2018 - 7
Recommend April 2018 - 8
Recommend April 2018 - 9
Recommend April 2018 - 10
Recommend April 2018 - 11
Recommend April 2018 - 12
Recommend April 2018 - 13
Recommend April 2018 - 14
Recommend April 2018 - 15
Recommend April 2018 - 16