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Rio Dulce

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Caribbean Coast : Rio Dulce
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Rio Dulce

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Rio Dulce Town is a city in eastern Guatemala.


Rio Dulce (Literally, “Sweet River”) is located in the northeast department of Izabel. Rio Dulce is part of the much larger Lago de Izabel which borders the department. Connecting Lago de Izabel with Rio Dulce is a bridge which connects to the town of El Rellenos. All points are easy accessible by boats owned by locals.

Rio Dulce is a popular area to visit due to its scenery and capability for sailing smoothly through the Caribbean. The town is also a central market spot for locals who arrive via cayuco from neighboring towns.

Castillo de San Falipe

Get in

By bus

Several buses depart from Flores and cost around Q60. Shuttles from Coban are possible as well.

  • Coming from Guatemala City or Flores, Fuente Del Norte buses arrive in Rio Dulce. Prices vary according to your location. Tel. # 7947-7070 Website:
  • Litegua is another bus company with okay services. The central office is located in Guatemala City Zona 1. Tel. # 7930-5251. Price is approximately Q55 and the ride is around six hours long.

By taxi

  • If you are in the neighboring town Fronteras a taxi will cost around Q15.

By boat

  • Boats owned by locals come up the river from Livingston every couple of hours. Rates are competitive but can cost around $12 per person.

Get around

Depending on how far you want to venture, you can walk, take a chicken bus, sail, hire a lancha, take one of the many minibuses, or ride a tuk-tuk.


  • Castillo De San Felipe - A historic fort which was used to defend the town from the threat of pirates. The fort is located within the Rio Dulce National Park.
  • Quiriguá - Mayan ruins southwest of town. Either arrange transportation in town or take a chicken Bus out to the site.
  • Finca Paraiso (Hot Springs Waterfall) - A small hike leads you to a scorching hot waterfall which blends with an icy cold river. This swimming location also has a cave worth visiting. Get there by taking a bus from the market in Rio Dulce, heading towards El Estor\Lago Izabal.


  • A three day trek is run by Felipe. He can generally be contacted at Oasis Chiyu, or elsewhere around town. Just ask for Felipe from Philadelphia. Varying degrees of difficulty can be arranged.
  • Rio Dulce National Park - Take a boat tour of the Rio Dulce for about Q125 per person. The boat operator can stop at the park and wait for you as you visit the locations. Along with visiting the Castillo De San Felipe, visitors can also take a swim, as well as buy local artisan products.
  • Casa Guatemala - This is a location always looking for volunteers! Casa Guatemala is an orphanage for local children located on the banks of Rio Dulce. Volunteering accommodations must be made through their website:


  • A market exists everyday in the center of town. Typical market fare is available here.


  • Sunnydog Cafe - Great place to get a sandwich and a beer.
  • Hotel Backpackers - Indigenous dishes are served as well as other diverse dishes including Chinese food and lasagna.



There are many places outside the immediate town on the banks of the river that are nice. They can only be reached by boat. Most have private shuttle boats and will come to pick you up if you call them.

Tijax Express, close to the bridge, is Rio Dulce's unofficial tourist information. They can call all the places and arrange pickup.

  • Hotelito Perdido - Located on the river Rio Lampara across from Finca Paraiso. Hotel is around 45 minutes away from Rio Dulce. Beds and bungalows are offered to tourists. For comparison purposes, beds cost Q45 (~$6) for one person per night and a bungalow costs Q200 (~$27) for one person per night. Meals are paid for separately. The hotel offers transportation and kayak rental. Tel. # 502 572 51576 or 502 578 55022. Website:
  • Hotel La Cabaña Del Viajero - Located on a piece of land closer to Castillo de San Felipe. Prices range from Q183 for a room per night to Q488 for cabana per night. Tel. # (502) 7930 5062 or (502) 7930 5412. Website:
  • Hotel Backpackers (The Hotel & Hostel with a Heart), (Once in Rio Dulce, everyone pretty much knows where Hotel Backpackers is located, so finding the place should prove fail-proof. If coming by land (shuttle or car), they are on the El Relleno side of the Bridge, just beneath it, right on the water. If by bus, it will drop you on the Fronteras side of the Bridge. Simply walk or take a tuk tuk across the bridge to the El Relleno side - take the stairs on the left down to the street beneath and walk toward the water (they are just beneath the bridge). There is a bright blue sign with a female backpacker across from the entrance that will ensure you are in the right place. For those arriving by water, simply ask the Lancha operator to drop you at Hotel Backpackers 'under the bridge'. They are all familiar with the location and you should have no trouble.), 502 572 51576 or 502 578 55022, [1]. checkin: 3 pm; checkout: 12 pm. $5-$65 (Hostel dorm beds to Private King Suites).

Get out

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