Boy in canoe.

Rio Dulce, Guatemala

by Eve Andersson

Home : Guatemala : One Article
Rio Dulce is a river running from Lake Izabal, in the eastern part of Guatemala, to the Carribean. The river itself is exquisite, with graceful birds and tall cliffs overflowing with lush flora.

In the area, you'll also find:

  • Livingston, an extremely fun and interesting Carribean town. The town is populated by the Garifuna people of African origin with a laid-back Carribean attitude, their own language (though they tend to speak Spanish and English as well), and a style of dancing known as punta that requires the hips to move faster than lightening. Livingston is where tourists generally stay in the Rio Dulce region.
  • Quiriguá, a site of Mayan ruins known for its enormous stelae. While there are no temples comparable to those found in Tikal or Copán, the stelae in Quiriguá are many times larger than those found in other sites. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The River

Tern landing on water. Trees growing from cliff on Rio Dulce. Tern and other bird. Lily pads. Mangroves. Three girls in boat. Lush mountains arising from the river. Bird island. Boat and lush vegetation. Boat under overhang. Boys in canoe. Bridge and bird. Bridge. Canoes and vegetation. Cave. Rio Dulce. Church for residents of Rio Dulce, reachable by water. Dock with tern. School for residents of Rio Dulce. House with family. House with yacht. House. House. Sailboats. Bay. Turtle.

Castillo de San Felipe

This old fort sits on the river at the point where it meets Lake Izabal. Around the castle is a park, swimming area, and restaurant -- a nice place to spend a few hours.

Castillo de San Felipe.  Boy and cannon. Castillo de San Felipe.  Cannons. Castillo de San Felipe. Castillo de San Felipe.


Garifuna music every night. Venders. Lady is angry with me because I didn't pay for taking a photo. Coffee bar. Guide on Rio Dulce tour. The not-very-fancy King George Hotel. Red and yellow building. Street. Boys on bikes. Turtle sitting on back of crocodile. Bay. Boat. Livingston, as viewed form the bay. Livingston, as viewed form the bay.

Playa Blanca

This clean, upscale beach is a 45-minute boat ride from Livingston. There's a small entrance fee, which includes the use of all facilities, including hammocks and volleyball.

Playa Blanca. Pete, José Luis, and Alejandro, resting. Volleyball.

Seven Altars

This pretty river is a few-kilometer hike from Livingston, although signs posted in Livingston recommend that tourists avoid this area due to robberies.

The Seven Altars, a series of waterfalls near Livingston. The Seven Altars, a series of waterfalls near Livingston.

Puerto Barrios

There's not much to see in this town, but you have to go here (or to the even less-interesting town of Rio Dulce) in order to catch the boat to Livingston, which is not accessible by ground.

Boat at gas station. Boat on bay. Container ship.


Eve and stella. Plaza. Plaza detail. Plaza. Stella. Stella. Stella. Stella. Stella. Oldest stella. Stellae. Zoomorph (stone figure that looks like an animal.) Road and mountains. Boys loading truck in front of banana trees.

Eve Andersson (


Nice Pictures and Moments

Well Eve, what can I say. The pics are beautiful, but the best one is the one in Quirigua, the one you appear and I took. =0)

-- Jose Luis Escobedo

About to return

I am about to return to Guatemala after 2 years (I worked there for 3 months in 2000). Very excited. I am going to Rio Dulce which is a place I didn't manage last time, and your photos are making it seem that much closer. Excellent website.


-- Andrew Smith

I was born in Guatemala, but was raised in Los Angeles, CA. I hold my birthland very close to me and have traveled there every year since I was a young girl. Your pictures are marvelous, and remind me of some wonderful memories I have of Rio Dulce. Thank you for letting the rest of the world see what an amazing country I come from.

-- Wendy Penagos


man, it is great to see pictures, my dad was born and raised in livingston, and i've gone back to livingston just about every year as my summer vacation, actually my family owns two of the ferries that go from puerto barrios to livingston. thank you for the wonderful pictures and the memories they have brought

-- russell loria

It is great to see that you managed to visit many places while you visited Guatemala and the pictures you took are realy beautiful.

Even though I'm from Guatemala I haven't visited many places as you did and your pictures make me eager to explore mor eof my country.

Also it has been a long time since I last saw that crocodile (a baby)

-- Estuardo Silva

come to rio dulce

Im guatemalan and i live in Antigua all my life.. since i was born my family are still going to Rio, which we think is the better spot to relax and do some water sport and of course enjoy nature... antigua, lake atitlan, tikal and some more are great... but my point is that you have to check Rio in your way up to Tikal. We are going to make a few cabins in our property in the next month and a big dock for sailbout's the place is between back packers and the castle... so we will be there for you in a nice and cousy place... hope to heard from you.. truly andres

-- fernandez estevez andres


Ms. Anderson: I was helping my third grader with a project on Guatemala, however, after searching on the internet, I came across few websites that offered decent pictures--until I came across yours! It's great that you've compiled these pictures which I'm sure you're doing kinda like a digital scrapbook. It's something I've wanted to do and now have an idea how to approach. I'm taking away from your website two ideas: 1. Get a camera like yours; and 2. Take pictures and edit later!! Thank you so much from Victoria (3rd grader) and dad, Milton!

-- milton pacheco


I am Guatemalan,I am amazed about your pics., are beautiful, obviously you know Guatemala better than me, I live in a close city of Monterrico, "Chiquimulilla", reading about you, you looks so young and great achievements congratulations!

PS. you are so beautiful.

-- Edwin Mendez

great pictures

These pictures are great I have been almost everywhere in Guatemala and thought it was a great place to spend my summer vacation. I was born in Guatemala but I moved to New York at the age of five where I presently live. I go back every year to Guatemala and I wanted to thank you for the great picutres I love them. I have a question for you. Have you been to Xocomil? El irtra its a great place to visit they have a wonderfull waterpark and a Amusment park its the best in central america you should visit.

-- erick ponce


Those are some really great pictures! I am getting married soon to a Guatemalan, and he wants us to go to his home town, which is Livingston, in the next couple of years. Seeing these pictures makes me realize that Guatemala is a truly beautiful place! I can't wait to go there.

-- Jessica Taylor


You have great photos on Rio Dulce, Guatemala. (An admirable travel site in general - I might add). Next time you are in the Rio check out the marina/hotel TORTUGAL ( It's a small paradise, upriver from the town of Fronteras. We found the staff very friendly, cute bungalows, and the best marina facilities in the Rio. Check out the restaurant, too. The burrito is delicious.

Happy Travels! Jeremy Weizel Minneapolis, MN
Image: jeremy weizel.jpg

-- jeremy weizel

My heart cries

Hi Eve. I must say that in viewing your Photos I recall why I miss my Motherland so much. I feel a sort fo loss a sad feeling in my heart. It has been 31 years since I have been back to my country. My parents brought us to Canada in search of a better life. Here we remain and grow roots with new family members being born to our Canadian wives. We love Canada but you can never take out the real soul of a Guatemalan. Once a Guatemalan always a Guatemalan. But like I say it pains my heart to see those beautiful photos of my home land because I miss it so much. I hope to go back and visit some time before it is too late. I still have aproximately over 80 other family members still living there, that I know know of. Plus another bunch that I dont know of. Since my family left there have been so many births of our family that I lost count and track of. Anyhow I love the site and hope to see more photos in the future.

-- Erick Cervantes

Pais y cultura

I am a guatemalan and visit my family and country sometimes, but I must say that what impressed me the most about your pictures and knowledge of the culture and pueblos is that you captured the mere escence that everybody longs and wows at... which is the colorful nuances that bring the one and only warmth that guatemalans mirror from their land. Thanks for sharing with the world.

Muy agradecida,


-- Iliana Romero


My name is Erick Dubon I was born in morales Izabal, I moved to Nebraska when I was 6 yrs Old in a small town when I tell people all the great things about Guatemala they don't believe and now with these great pictures they actually want to go with me this year. Keep up the good work

-- Erick Dubon

The Rio Dulce Network


I want to introduce you to the new web portal about the outstanding natural reserve of Rio Dulce:

Rio Dulce Travel & Tourism Network

Visit us and discover online the wonders of this unveiled paradise.

Gonzalo Rodriguez

-- Gonzalo Rodriguez


Just like to say I think your website is brilliant. I am going to Guatemala for 6wks this summer and it is difficult to find information on the web. Also a lot of information I have received is about the high crime rates and danger. It is nice to see there is clearly a lot of beauty which I will hopefully see on my travels.

Thanks Caraline

-- caraline tait

Good Job

I think that you did a very good job. This is going to be my website, whenever we are in iraq and i am trying to remember home....great job....i really love this pictures. Quirigua, Yeah! i remember when i lived 15 minutes away from and went there every weekend. I Going to guate on 2 august. Good memories.

-- Jose Rosales

Beautiful photos

My son & I just returned from Guatemala a month ago and had the opportunity to go to Rio Dulce. It is so beautiful there and we enjoyed every minute of our stay. Guatemala has to be the most beautiful place........heaven on earth! Not only is the country very breathtaking, but the people are absolutely wonderful. Thank you for sharing your photos!

Carrie Andersen

-- Carrie Andersen

not enough justice done to the seven altars!

i LOVE your livingston pics - livingston was one of my favorite places the last time i traveled there for various reasons - it is, in many ways, a very colorful place! i stopped there to rest and recuperate after being wracked with amoebic dystentary for a bit...

once i felt better i made my way to the seven altars with a local. they're really, really beautiful (or at least they were six years ago) with the sunlight coming through the jungle canopy and the colors of the pools. the water's kind of cold, but the biggest pool is about fifteen feet deep and swimmable (and we did!)...

if you're going to be in livingston they're worth checking out. i'm returning to central america soon with no plans and no time frame - not sure if i'll make it back there or not but i'd LIKE to.


-- dori mondon

nice river

I'm from a small town named Morales, is about 15 miles from rio dulce. I've been in the U.S.A for many years and before I went back to Guatemala I looked on the web to see if could find useful information and I did, I found you web site. My point is that I visited all the places that you mention and everything is as you showed on your website. Good job! Tomas Agusto Mile?o

-- tomas mile?o

rio dulce

i have a boat on the rio dulce, and have spent some time there every year. i think you should say something about the river, and the marinas. if youve spent time there you could talk about the wonderful resturaunts and the charming people of Fronteras. also there is a wonderful hot waterfall about 45 minutes from the casyillo de san felipe called Finca Parismo. thanks for the great website! :)

-- aiyana powel

Rio dulce

Wow Russel Loria? < Most likely related to me in Some Way... cousins by some 3rd type thing My mothers maiden name is Loria and she comes from a big family back in livingston along with my uncles and aunts that live their now... Anybody living out their if ya remember my uncle Tio John ;) owns a hotel out their be going back sometime next spring :)

-- Juan Paredes


I see that others have responded that were born in Guate as I but, no else has put our "true" name = Chapin. I moved to NJ when I was 8 months old but my father's family it still living in Guatemala City. I have been to visit every 2 to 3 years and there has been a lot of advancement from moving away as a 3rd world country in the last 20 years. My uncle was a tour guide took me to Quirigua, Rio Dulce, Livingston, Puearto Barrios and Castillo de San Felipe few times. My last visit was over 3 years ago and these are all the places we went to and it was just beautiful. He recently passed away and these pictures remind me of just how wonderful mi pais y mi familia truly are. I encourage all to visit.

-- Joyce Barton



-- Jose Barrientos


Well thankyou for doing such great work of taking and showing that beautyful land, i was born in San Marcos Guatemela and i was raised in Anaheim but i'm gonna go soon over there, thankyou very much and God bless you.

-- Milton Orozco

Juan Paredes

Don't know you or maybe we have met somewhere down the road, but my Grand Father was John Loria and my some of my uncles still live there. We are the only Lorias in Livingston.

-- Russell Loria

We recently went on a cruise and the ship made a stop in Guatemala.We then went on a boat ride along Rio Dulce and made a stop in Livingston. I have seen many beautiful places in my life but Rio Dulce is truly one of the prettiest unspoiled places I have ever seen and your photos just refreshed my memory. Thanks for the beautiful pictures.

-- Ellie Pour

Wonderful Pictures!

Hi Eve, thanks for uploading those beatiful pictures of my country. You definitely did an amazing job. I feel so proud to be guatemalan. Thanks again.

-- Vivie Pavlak


Rio Dulce is a beautiful place, it brings back so many good memories, the bridge is the perfect place to take pictures, I was born in Morales Izabal but I live in the US, I moved here when I was 11 am now 23, This past summer (2007) I took a very long vacation I went and visited my grandparents in Morales Izabal, I was there for four months, Guatemala is a beautiful country, I go there 3 times a year and every time I go there?s always something new to do. Morales is only about 50 minutes from Rio Dulce, I was there almost every weekend specially during SEMANA SANTA there?s a real good night club called BACK PACKERS most of the people that visit that place are tourist from all over the world, there?s also a good restaurant called RANCHO SANTA MARIA is under the bridge is one of the best places to eat sea food, but if any of you ever go to Morales you have to eat at 3 of my favorites places the first has to be YAYAS is a small restaurant that has Tortillas de Arina con carne y frijoles, the second has to be Dona Blanca she also sells Tortillas de Arina and the last is Restaurante El Paraiso you can eat anything you want there, but there?s also another place this lady makes the best food ever her name is Dona ILda, I miss all the good food, my family and also all the wonderful people I got to meet when I was there, if any of you ever have the opportunity to visit Guatemala you will love it. And for you guys Tomas Mileno and Erick Dubon I hope you guys get to go and visit Morales soon is so beautiful and there?s so many cool things to do, don?t forget to visit the restaurants that I listed here you guys will enjoyed the food. To all the people that have put your comments in this page thank you very much and to you EVE your pictures are so wonderful you?ve done a very good job.



Lovely spot!

We've stopped at Rio Dulce twice, but only briefly. My husband and I would like to celebrate our 25th anniversary there early next year. Seeing your pics and all the comments convinced me that we'd love it!

-- Sharon Mast


what a wonderful site, very nice photos. if anyone wants more info on our world, go to and also read the forum

-- emy bartula

Juan paredes

Juan I'm your mother's cousin also a friend of your dad Edgar, please say hello to them. The pictures are of extremely beauty, impactful

-- George Loria

Nancy Prefling

I had the pleasure of living in Guatemala for 6 months in 1980 along with my husband. I lived in El Progresso and visited Coban, Livingston, Chichicastenango, Antigua, Guatemala City, Tikal and numerous other places. I also took a boat from Lake Izabal to the town of Livingston. THe sights were exciting and beautiful, but what I remember most was the kindness and selflessness of the many people I met when I was there. We had our scary times like the time a large truck pulled over in front of us and out jumped many guerillas disappearing into the jungle or when a tremor loosed a boulder which rolledtothe center of the highway or when we were searched for weapons by the Guatemalan army at a road block. The Kindness of the gentle peasants inviting me into their homes for a refreshment and offering me what little they had warmed my heart to the core. I would like to return some day and I'm not sure what I will find. I lived there before the time of all the tourist traps of today. I'm hoping that some of the country retained some of its original beauty.

-- Nancy Prefling


Hola no saben la emoci?e da ver todas estas fotografias de mi pa? Lo hermoso que es. Soy de GUATEMALA pero vivo en CANCUN MEXICO desde hace 20 a?y mi sue?s ir de vacaciones ahi. La ?ltima vez que estuve fu?n una escursi?e la escuela cuando nos graduamos. PERO QUE HERMOSO ESTA AHORA!. Y m? que nada quisiera felicitar a la secretar?de turismo por promover los centros tur?icos de mi pa? extra? mi pa?



Just a Postal Card!!!

That's the name of this beautiful paradise, I'm from Guatemala, and every time that I traveled, this is my place, number 1, but I visit Atitlan, Tikal, Antigua and the rest of points of interest in Guatemala, but Livingston with Rio Dulce is just amazing, I'm looking to retire in this town Hopefully I found a lot or a house to buy soon, I recommend this POSTAL CARD, to live at a full blast!!! God Bless all and this beautiful paradise!!! Edgar

Preciosa Tarjeta Postal asi le llamo a este lugar, espero pronto retirarme en este bello y paradisiaco lugar, Diosito me la va ha conceder, saludos Edgar!!!

-- Edgar Diaz

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