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The Oriente and Atlantic Coast

Guatemala’s Oriente, or eastern region, is home to the low, dry, hot provinces of El Progreso, Jalapa, Jutiapa, Zacapa, Chiquimula and Izabal. The population of this region is mostly ladino, or mestizos with little or no indigenous ancestry. There are a few small pockets of indigenous populations, and some black Caribs (garífuna) on the coast, notably in the village of Livingston.

Visitors will want to check out the impressive Mayan site of Quiriguá, Guatemala’s most important ruins outside of the Petén. You may also want to take a boat trip on the Río Dulce to or from Lake Izabal, and visit lively Livingston.

While you’re visiting ruins, hop over the border and into Honduras to see the magnificent site at Copán, not far from Guatemala. The city of Esquipulas is home to the Cristo Negro, or the Black Christ, a dark-skinned wooden carving of Christ that draws thousands of visitors and pilgrims every year. The festival of the Cristo Negro, on January 15, is packed. The Cristo Negro makes its home in the impressive Basilica de Esquipulas.

On the northern shore of Lake Izabal sits the Castillo San Felipe, a more-or-less preserved Spanish fortress built in 1595. It protected Izabal from Caribbean pirates and served as a military prison. Not far from the castle is the Parque Nacional RĂ­o Dulce, a large protected natural area home to many species of birds and animals.

The small town of El Estor has little of interest, but is a good place from which to explore the lake region. On the coast, the town of Livingston is worth a visit, as it is home to a pocket of black Caribs and their GarĂ­funa culture. There is a local festival of dancing and partying in late November, but the town is lively any time of year.

18 Aug 2010

Things to do in The Oriente and Atlantic Coast

Boat trip from Rio Dulce to Livingston

106681 This is a great trip that heads from the yachtie heaven of Rio Dulce and into El Golfete, past banks full of impressive houses and small flat islands of untouched bird-filled jungle. The most ...
Birdwatching, Boating
Fronteras/El Relleno (Rio Dulce), Guatemala

Sailing to Belize or Honduras from Rio Dulce

106685 Sailing passage to Honduras or Belize, from Rio Dulce. Budget $50p/p per day. This is not easy to do but with a bit of persistence it is possible to secure a place on a yacht bound for either ...
Fronteras/El Relleno (Rio Dulce), Guatemala

Exotic Travel Agency Nature & Adventure Tours

112050The "Ecological Tour" This tour walks you through the town of Livingston, up to the lookout point and then on to a small Garifuna village. We then go to Rio Quehueche, where you will travel along ...
Cultural Tour
Livingston, Guatemala

Rio Dulce Tour

112358The Tour begins in Livingston at 9:30 am. This trip of the river is organized with Exotic Travel Agency. The boat costs $ 12.00 per person one way and you visit The Canyon, Tatin River, Ak'Tenamit ...
National Park
Livingston, Guatemala

Ruins of Quirigua

Cauac Sky was the greatest ruler of the city of Quirigua during the Maya classic period.  He is depicted on Stela E at Quirigua, the most impressive of the Mayan stelae, or tall, carved ...

Volcán De Quetzaltepeque

141028 This little-visited volcano, probably due to not being located close to other groups of volcanoes, is an interesting climb (plenty of interesting flora on the way, such as sweet gum trees) and ...
Esquipulas, Guatemala

La Basilica

141030 The Esquipulas basilica was voted by Guatemaltecos as being the premier wonder of Guatamala (according to survey by Banco Industrial) and it certainly pulls in the crowds. As the center piece of ...
Esquipulas, Guatemala

Parque Chatun

141032 Parque Chatun is an all-round family entertainment park about 3 kms (1.9 miles) out of Esquipulas. It\'s not quite Six Flags but it\'s a fun day out. There you can go zip-lining, boating on the ...
Other Activity
Esquipulas, Guatemala

Los Siete Altares

141181 Even farther round the coast from Hotel EcolĂłgico Salvador Gaviota, passed Playa Quehueche, five kilometers (3 miles) west of the town center, are the very impressive set of waterfalls called ...
Other Activity
Livingston, Guatemala


141183 Despite being on the Caribbean coast, the beaches in Livingston are not the greatest. They are quite narrow and a poor gray color so you will need to take tour to Playa Blanca, Punta Manabique or ...
Livingston, Guatemala


141186 There are some souvenir shops on the main street. A shop next to the Restaurant El MalecĂłn, up the hill from the dock, sells souvenir clothes, textiles, beads, hats etc. There are also stalls ...
Other Activity
Livingston, Guatemala
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