I had planned to only spend a day in Rio Dulce doing what seemed to be the one major excursion that everyone had come to do: a boat trip up the Rio Dulce river to Livingston. So I was quite happily surprised when I learned about another natural attraction that begged for me to add another day to my itinerary.
Finca Paraiso is a series of hot, yes, hot waterfalls cascading into a cold tributary of the Rio Dulce in a deep part of the jungle about an hour’s micro ride outside Rio Dulce city. We were informed by the hostel owner that these were the only hot spring waterfalls in the world; making it a rather unique destination.
The falls did not disappoint. There was a mere 15 minute walk in the canopy until the river took a bend, and there appeared Finca Paraiso. Discovering just how hot the waterfall was and letting it beat down on your head and shoulders while your bottom half was submerged in cooler temperatures was very bizarre. Even more delightful was the naturally created steam bath that you could swim to by descending under the falls and standing in the naturally created cavern underneath them.
About ten more minutes down the road you could also visit a limestone canyon called Bocaron. Unfortunately, there were rather young kids (child labor is a serious issue in Guatemala) there ready and waiting to row us by canoe through the canyon for 20 quetzales per person.
I had set my expectations low for this outing, but it proved to be, in my opinion, a rather pretty and picturesque spot: the walls of the canyon got narrower as we progressed and seemed to simply tower over our dwarfed little boat.
All in all, I highly recommend staying another day in Rio Dulce to explore these two lovely areas.
Besides, how often do you get to experience a natural hot spring falling on top of you?
Where: Finca Paraiso, about 45 minutes micro ride from Rio Dulce
When: March 23
How: Boat to Rio Dulce, then microbus