Download GPX file for this article
15.6594-89.0033Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rio Dulce Town (also called Fronteras) is a city in eastern Guatemala. Rio Dulce town is a popular moorage spot for people sailing around the Caribbean, as it sustains very little damage from hurricanes.


The main part of town is along the CA13 highway, where most shops, transport, and other services are. The rest is along the river, including marinas and accommodation options.

The large highway bridge over the Rio Dulce defines the town

Get in[edit]

  • There are 1st class buses and chicken buses connecting Rio Dulce with Flores (Guatemala), Guatemala City and Antigua Guatemala via Guatemala city. Shuttles from Coban are possible as well. Buses are also available from Copan Ruinas in Honduras with a change of bus at a junction - but you can buy tickets directly to your destination.
  • Boats come up the river from Livingston every couple of hours.

Get around[edit]

Getting around Rio Dulce really depends on your mood. You can walk, take a chicken bus, sail, hire a Lancha, take one of the many shuttles or minibuses or even a Tuk-Tuk. If you're heading to one of the further sites, you can even mix & match! It's always a "ride"!!


  • Castillo De San Felipe - A small fort built by the Spanish in 1652 to protect from British pirate raids. It’s a 5km walk or tuk tuk ride from Rio Dulce Town, or it can accessed by boat. Entry is Q20, opening hours 09:00-17:00.
  • Quiriguá - Mayan ruins southwest of town. Either arrange transportation in town or chicken bus out to the site.
Covered Mayan stelae at Quiriguá
  • Finca Paraiso (Hot Springs Waterfall) -A blend of hot springs, a hot waterfall, a cool emerald pool to swim and play in (cliff diving is great fun when the water is high), lush tropical jungle and if you're lucky, mingle with the local villagers.

A simply beautiful place to swim and relax. Gets full on weekends and holidays. Get there by taking a bus from the market in Rio Dulce, heading towards El Estor/Lago Izabal.

Castillo de San Felipe


  • Take a boat tour of the Rio Dulce, which can include a waterside view the Castillo, a stop by hot springs, and other natural features of the river. The journey is particularly beautiful and is well worth trying out, the trip then ends at Livingston.
  • A three-day trek is run by Felipe. He can generally be contacted at Oasis Chiyu[dead link], or elsewhere around town. Just ask for Felipe from Philadelphia. Varying degrees of difficulty can be arranged.
  • Lanchas el Canche run trips along the river and into Livingston as well as snorkeling/diving trips to the Belize Barrier Reef, +502 5334 7975


  • A market is held everyday in the center of town. Typical market fare is available here.


There are numerous restaurants along the riverside, some more upscale serving international food, others serving simpler things, but still mainly aimed at visitors in sailboats and other tourists. Street food and minimarkets are on the main street.

  • Sundog Cafe - Great place to get a sandwich and a beer.
  • Bruno's. Great restaurant and hotel. Has dock space for boats as well as a small pool, Wi-Fi and laundry service. Next to (and below) the bridge on the Fronteras/Rio Dulce side.
  • 1 Tortugal Hotel & Marina, Tortugal, Casilla Unica Fronteras, Rio Dulce (hire a launcha from the Municipal Dock or call for a hotel launcha), +502 5306-6432, . Great restaurant mixing Guatemalan cuisine with international favorites.



  • There are many places outside the immediate town on the banks of the river that are nice. They can only be reached by boat. Most have private shuttle boats and will come to pick you up if you call them.

Tijax Express, close to the bridge, is Rio Dulce's unofficial tourist information. They can call all the places and arrange pickup.

  • Hotel Backpackers, El Relleno (once in Rio Dulce, everyone pretty much knows where Hotel Backpackers is located, so finding the place should prove fail-proof. If coming by land (shuttle or car), they are on the El Relleno side of the Bridge, just beneath it, right on the water. If by bus, it will drop you on the Fronteras side of the Bridge. Simply walk or take a tuk tuk across the bridge to the El Relleno side - take the stairs on the left down to the street beneath and walk toward the water (they are just beneath the bridge). There is a bright blue sign with a female backpacker across from the entrance that will ensure you are in the right place. For those arriving by water, simply ask the Lancha operator to drop you at Hotel Backpackers 'under the bridge'. They are all familiar with the location and you should have no trouble. If you are flying in to Guatemala city, find your way to the Bus Station and once you arrive in Rio Dulce, follow the land directions above.), +502 7930 5168, +502 7930 5169. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Offering accommodations from a hostel dorm bed to a private king bed suite, a full-service restaurant & bar, hot showers, laundry service and free Wi-Fi. Within walking distance from the bus station, under the Rio Dulce Bridge. from US$5 - 65 (hostel dorm beds to private king suites).
  • 1 Tortugal Hotel & Marina, Tortugal, Casilla Unica Fronteras, Rio Dulce (guests receive free shuttle service from Rio Dulce), +502 5306-6432, . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Waterfront hotel offering private bungalows and dorm style accommodation. Popular marina for boats and has a decent restaurant. There are atmospheric boardwalks over mangroves.

Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Rio Dulce is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!