We survived the first Gringeri international adventure …and by survived I mean adored every second. Ben and I have never been out of the country together before and after a freezing winter in Cincinnati, we booked this last minute escape five days before we sailed. It was so nice to disconnect for a full week and with the exception of two very very short email checks on board (they charge an arm and a leg for internet) and a little international texting, we were unplugged for the whole trip.

Our first and favorite stop was Santo Thomas, Guatemala. I tried to get it all into one post but there are just too many pictures. Here’s the first half of our day we spent visiting a small community up the coast from port. This afternoon I’ll share the rest which include my very favorite shots from the whole trip:

^^From one side of the ship you could see the port as we pulled in, the sky still thick with fog… from the other side of the deck you saw the long lush coastline (quite the contrast).

^^view from the other side of the deck

^^a small boat coming into port that morning

^^the sun burned off this fog before we were even off the ship but it was beautiful while we docked

^^We started our day trip on this boat (which is actually much bigger than it looks here – seating almost twenty of us). It took us up the coast of Guatemala for about half an hour before it turned into the river canyon.

^^Our first stop was this small water community off of the river. There was a small inlet (a water cul-de-sac of sorts) and the water was filled with these flowers and lily pads.

^^Families live along the shore of the inlet with boats for transportation. We were told there may be a few small paths between neighbors but there were no roads connecting this community to anything else. They traveled everywhere by boat and lived mainly off of the fish they caught each day.

^^We pulled up to this home and were welcomed by a family of six.

^^Mom was making fresh tortillas we got to try in their open air kitchen.

^^Me and my tortilla.

^^a few of their handmade wares they had to sell

^^The two little girls were the most darling. They sat there whispering and giggling to each other while we talked to their parents. My favorite was when Ben got down on his knees and started talking to them in Spanish. Apparently the girls don’t’ believe in smiling for cameras because whenever a lens was pointed their way they assumed a serious face. Beautiful though, aren’t they?

^^Right before we left Dad wanted to show us how he casts the net to catch the fish. Throwing that net out is a skill.

^^I call this the disproportionately long necked bird

^^Our next stop was to some caves along the shore and a natural sauna. I was expected a brief little step into the caves but it was really a good thirty minutes of walking deep back into these small spaces. I’ll spare you the picture of the massive crab-like spider the guide tried to tell us wouldn’t bite. After the caves was a small crawl space that was radiating heat. After you got through the entrance and the initial blast of heat, there was a small room with two benches and then a ladder that went down to the natural hot spring that was heating the cave. Ben crawled down to the spring but I couldn’t last more than a minute and a half in the sauna.

^^Attempted sauna picture

^post sauna
^^The walk up to the caves.

^^the biggest relief from the heat all day was the wind and spray from the boat rides
^^A small slice of paradise. As we came along the coast before we got into the river canyon there were large homes and resort looking spaces in such contrast with the small water villages just up the river. More from the rest of our afternoon later today 🙂

Isn’t this part of the country beautiful?

See the second part of time in Guatemala here. 

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  1. These pics just took my breath away, especially the pics when you can see all the greenery! Stunning, stunning, stunning.

  2. Beaaaautiful pictures Elizabeth! I can't wait to see part 2 🙂

  3. GORGEOUS photos. That one of the boat with "Mar del Sol" could be framed!! You definitely have made me want to take a tropical vacay right now. Ah!