Enjoy the hot spring waterfalls of Finca El Paraiso near Rio Dulce, Guatemala through an HD adventure travel video from 2 Backpackers, Jason and Aracely Castellani, while visiting the jungle between El Estor and Río Dulce, Guatemala. In travel video episode #5, we share our relaxing experience swimming in a cold river with a hot waterfall falling over our heads. What’s so unique here? The fact that it’s in the middle of nowhere and we aren’t to sure how to return back to our hostel. Enjoy the show!
Hidden Guatemala Waterfall
Finca El Paraiso is a hot spring fed waterfall that falls into a cool river. If you plan to visit Rio Dulce or Livingston in Guatemala, and want to get off the gringo trail, it’s a must see day trip. It’s quite easy to book a ride to the waterfalls. Walk to the center of town on the main street, the busy side of the bridge and ask around. You will have a ride in no time. If you are interested in saving money, read our Budget Travel Tips below. At the time we visited the hot spring waterfall, many of the roads en route were being improved and detours slowed traffic down.
In the Middle of Nowhere
Inform the shuttle bus driver your destination so they can alert you when you have arrived. Walk towards the restaurant and register with the guy that approaches you. There is a small park fee as well. We aren’t sure where that money goes, but you are handed a receipt. The park guy will guide you in the right direction, which leads to the woods along the river. Many local folks live along the river and use it for it’s many resources. As we walked along the river banks children were fishing, mothers were washing clothes and others were selling us tortillas. Some children were raising the fish high in the air in an attempt to sell us some. We weren’t sure what we would do with a live fish, but it was culturally entertaining.
The trail is clearly marked and after 10 minutes we arrived to the waterfall. A park employee was present to watch over the area. The greatest benefit for us is that everyone trusted him watching over their day packs. The river water was cool, and the bed was rocky, but okay with bare feet as long as you were careful. We slowly walked in and quickly swam over to the waterfall where the water warmed up. We were unable to touch the bottom in some places, but there are large rocks to hold on to and rest against once you get under the falls. It’s a strange feeling of hot and cold water once under the hot spring fed waterfall.
In Search of Hot Springs
The area is small and you might find yourself quickly bored since it takes some energy to remain under the falls. Our curiosity was brewing and we wanted to explore the source of the hot springs. We grabbed our day packs and the guard unexpectedly informed us that we couldn’t climb up to the top with any bags or backpacks. I wasn’t sure of the reason, but we obliged and took our cameras only. Cameras weren’t on the restricted list of items you couldn’t take up top with you.
An obvious trail leads to the top which passes some pungent bat caves. Hold on to some roots and pass quickly. A surprisingly small stream fed the waterfall. This area was swarming with mosquitoes and much more dense than below. We followed a trail that led deeper into the woods. The trail veered off from the stream, but we were able to make our way back close to the water after a few wrong turns. We stood at the end of the stream baffled by its insignificance. A few bubbles appeared around us, and steam rose from the water. I stepped in first and just about burnt my skin. It was very hot. After a minute of acclimating to the temperature I coaxed Aracely to get in. Aracely has rarely found water that she couldn’t withstand, but it even felt too hot for her. We both looked at each other and thought, “Well I guess this is it?”
After returning to the top of the waterfall we sat down and on some rocks and enjoyed the view and sound of Finca El Paraiso. It wasn’t overly impressive, but it was a great day trip away from the city and a phenomenon that is hard to find elsewhere.
Local children will swarm you as you enter and exit the park. These children will be in search of pens, pencils and money. We purchased some tortillas from the girls in this photo.
Budget Travel Tips
Go to the center of town on the main road and start asking where you can catch a shuttle bus to the waterfall. Taxi drivers will approach you and try to offer you a ride. Be aware that the taxi drivers will lie and tell you the shuttle bus doesn’t run certain hours and is not the best way to travel to the site. If you prefer to be comfortable and have your own vehicle and don’t mind paying 4 times as much as the shuttle bus, then book a cab. However, if you are on a budget, take the shuttle bus and avoid cabs all together. The shuttle bus will be packed with locals and uncomfortable, but you will save a good chunk of money.