Getting Oriented

Think of this region’s highlights as being laid out in a large oval loop oriented northeast and southwest. At the northeastern end on Guatemala's short Caribbean coast lie Puerto Barrios, the region's largest city, and its more fun, more interesting sibling, Livingston, which can be reached only by boat across the Bahía Amatique (Amatique Bay). The Río Dulce flows from Livingston southwest to Lago Izabal, Guatemala's largest lake. River and lake meet at the town also usually referred to as Río Dulce, the southwest curve of the loop. From there a short drive brings you back to the Carretera Atlántica (Atlantic Highway), either southwest to Guatemala City, or northeast back to the coast. Off the route back to Puerto Barrios lie the Mayan ruins of Quiriguá and the more famous Mayan city of Copán, just across the border in Honduras.

Lago Izabal. A seamless lake/river waterway connects inland Fronteras to the town of Río Dulce and the Caribbean coast. The river portion, also called Río Dulce, is one of the country’s great tropical excursions.

Along the Atlantic Coast. "Sultry and steaming" describes the weather, music, and cuisine along Guatemala’s short Caribbean coast. Lively port towns give you a cultural mix entirely different than what you’ve seen on the Antigua-Atitlán-Chichi circuit.

Copán (Honduras). One of Mesoamerica’s most famous complexes of Mayan ruins sits just across the Guatemalan–Honduran border. It would be a shame to come this far and not take it in.

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