Mangrove Boat Tour in Monterrico Guatemala
The knock came at precisely 5:05 a.m.
Walking through the town in the predawn there was little attempt at conversation between our group of four. It was hard to blink sleep from our eyes but the guide seemed perky enough. Our destination was the town docks for a ride up the canal to see the sunrise over the mangroves.
We met with two others at the docks, two ladies also coming on the tour.
The silence once aboard the tipsy craft was profound. The guide was navigating with a pole and the only sounds to be heard were the gentle touch of the water on the boat, and the soft smack of the pole in the water. As we progressed we saw occasional boats and fisherman out to catch shrimp. The guide began to explain the local flora and fauna to us.
The tour was in Spanish and I was largely unfamiliar with the birds and the terminology, and alas my fixed lens did not allow me many photos of the species of wildlife to identify.
The vast stillness of the eventual lake of water we came too was broken slightly by the flocks of birds around and little ripples left behind of the cuatro ojos fish (four-eyed). We found a spot and waited as the guide explained how when the rains came this whole area would be dramatically changed and the fisherman's lives made easier.
All dawn waiting is eventually rewarded, and this sunrise came with a calmness that surprised me for one of the tropical variety. I expected something much more brilliant, but this looked much like a sunrise over a marsh in Michigan.
Realistically the sunrise was sometimes seen through the shoulders of the people in front of us, but the guide was very good about changing our spot now and then to give us all an equal view.
The sun rose a bit more and the colors cleared.
I wished desperately for a wide lens, but as no genie appeared to hand me one and the sun had risen we turned the boat to leave. The guide asked us if we wanted to pole the boat a bit; well sure, I'm up to looking like an amateur tourist.
Harmony did better than I; she was what one calls a natural.
There are two families that live on this island refining salt 10 months out of the year. For two months over the heaviest of the rains they have to move to town or spend the time swimming. See the water line on the house in the photo below?
Fisherman out to catch shrimp.
Oh hello, four eyes, you're not shrimp. Back ye go. (Doesn't he look out of patience? Probably more likely out of oxygen)
These fisherman were sorting their catch. They didn't mind letting us watch.
We rode one of these ferries first time we came to Monterrico 8 years ago. I was too chicken to drive onto one in our car this time, figuring the road entrance would do me very well for my first experience driving in Guatemala.
Lo! The landing.
At the docks a lady was selling some of the best, fresh-squeezed orange juice I've had in my life.
Behold, our mostly awake faces.
Cost: $6.15 each, plus about a $1 each for the orange juice.
Tip: the guys selling the tour can get aggressive. There were a number of guys hanging out on the beach trying to sell us this tour and we didn't say yes right away, mainly because they wouldn't ever go away and that annoyed us, but also because the price kept changing. When it became suitable we signed on.
Activity: recommended. That is, if you go to Monterrico, which I also recommend.