But we have always enjoyed exploring new places on Sea Trek and that is why we have lived aboard and cruised her for almost 14 years. So coming to a perfect and protected cruising grounds such as this and just parking the boat seemed almost sacrilegious.
Even our outdated guidebook, which everyone uses, warns that anchoring in the Gorge or anywhere on the lower river can result in midnight boardings — banditos swinging from the trees down onto your boat from the jungle. In retrospect, we think they saw too many Tarzan movies as children. (Some of the Tarzan movies with Johnny Weissmuller were actually filmed here.) Over and over again we heard about the security issues of traveling alone here. We had to wonder then why so many cruisers came here after all.
From what we determined, no serious crimes have been reported here for years. However, incidents from years back are still retold as if they happened last week. The murder we had heard about was more than eight years ago. Even our embassy warned us about a “non-resident” being killed and a woman being raped. When we pressed, they admitted that it happened five years ago and in Guatemala City, far from the river. We were also told of boats being boarded and things stolen in the middle of the night when anchored off alone.
This whole area is unlike any cruising grounds we have visited. And because most other boaters don’t leave the marinas we had the entire river system to ourselves, with peaceful anchorages wherever we went. There is one village on the Lago Izabal called El Estor that should not be used as an overnight anchorage. This is a former mining town that has fallen to hard times. Here we suspect you might experience some theft problems, so a daytime visit only is recommended.
There are rivers running in to the entire watershed from the mountains almost everywhere. These are wonderful for dinghy exploration, but be sure and use lots of bug repellent and always keep in mind that you are in the jungle.
This is a good opportunity to catch up on river gossip as well as socialize. On almost every holiday some event is going on at one of the marinas, including Fourth of July celebrations and huge Thanksgiving dinners, plus everything from pot luck dinners with everyone invited, including the locals, to Hawaiian Luaus.
Guatemala City is a five-hour bus ride and at some time everyone makes the trip at least once. We made the trip two times and can’t tell you how much we enjoyed ourselves. A private van with a driver can be arranged that will take you to the Mayan ruins in Copan, Honduras or Tikal in Northern Guatemala. Trips to any of the country’s fabulous tourist destinations can be arranged in Fronteras. It does not surprise us that some boaters came here for a visit and have stayed, in a few cases for more than 10 years. Many more come back here year after year and say they never do the same things twice.
We are not sure if or when we might return, but we know that if there is a next time we will spend a great deal more time on the water than tied to a dock. If your plans bring you to