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Río Hondo

At first glance Rio Hondo appears to be not much more than a string of basic comedores and motels flanking the Carretera al Atlántico, used mainly as a truck stop. At the Río Hondo junction, reached by bus traveling from Guatemala City to the east coast in about three hours, you’ll find the turn off for Zacapa, Chiquimula and Esquipulas and further south the border with Honduras and El Salvador. However, don’t miss the less obvious minor road on the opposite side of the highway, just by the Coffee garden, which winds up to the charming village of Río Hondo proper: a great place to make a pit stop. It is a pretty and well-finished village, with a gleaming white church and a well-groomed park offering some shade from the unforgiving sun. Around the small central plaza there are a couple of spots to eat at, such as Antojitos Río Honduranos and the Antojitos La Bendición, and a general store where you can stock up on supplies for your journey. There is also an internet cafe (Q8 ($1)/hour 8a.m.-9p.m.), a couple of ATMs at the Banrural, Banca Red and Banco Reformador, the Farmacia Candelaria and a post office.

Back on the main road you will drive past a few places to sleep, such as the big yellow Hotel Hawaii (Tel: 502-7934-0504) just at the junction, which is an OK option if you just need somewhere to rest your head asap. Before the junction, going west to east, is the Hotel El Atlantico, a better choice all round offering rooms with air-con, private bathroom, hot water, cable T.V. as well as a pool and gym, restaurant, big with conference rooms and private parking. Km 126, Ruta al Atlántico, Rio Hondo, Tel: 502-7933-05933, E-mail: hotel­­_elatlantico@hotmail.com.

The Hotel Longarone advertises itself as ‘A little bit of Italy in the heart of Guatemala’, which is debatable, but it is definitely a very nice hotel with a pool and slides, gym and restaurant. There are three levels of rooms for one to three people: Type A between $65-95, Type b $55-65, and Type C $43-73, with family rooms for four people costing $117. Km 126.5 Ruta al Atántico, Tel: 502-7933-0488, E-mail: hotelongarone@hotmail.com/hotelongarone@gmail.com, URL: www.hotel-longarone.com.

Traveling east towards the coast there is the thatched Comedor El Paraiso (Km 139) and the El Meson de la Sierra restaurant (Km 143), both large and relaxing places to have a quiet meal. Then at Km 149 is the well-run Valle Dorado water park and hotel complex. Guatemalans in the city often make the trip out here to relax in the sun on the slides and in the pools. Day rates are available (open everyday 9a.m. – 5p.m. except Monday) and packages, which include accommodation, meals and drinks, entertainment and access to the parque aquático from $60 for adults and $25 for children, are good value. There are also some souvenir stores and an ATM. Tel: 502-7933-1111, URL: www.hotelvalledorado.com.

GETTING THERE AND AWAY

Your best bet is to take a bus to Chiquimula and from there catch a mini bus to Rio Hondo. The trip only costs $1.00 and lasts about 40 minutes. minibuses leave every half hour or so.

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Other places nearby Río Hondo: Anguiatu, Mariscos, Fronteras/El Relleno (Rio Dulce), Estanzuela, Around Puerto Barrios, El Estor, Lake Izabal, Puerto Barrios, Livingston and Río Lámpara .







By Joanne Sykes

Born and raised in Yorkshire, England, Jo is currently working as a freelance travel writer in Latin America. With degrees in...

25 Aug 2010

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