Destination: Livingston, Guatemala
Date: June 2013
I think I have lost Trent to this city. He is in love with the relaxed beach lifestyle of Livingston and I think he is looking to relocate. During our one full day in this part of Guatemala we decided to go to a cenote’. A cenote’ is a natural hole in the ground that goes deep into the earth caused by a collapse from limestone to form the perfect natural swimming pool.
Our guide picked us up with his pickup truck and loaded us in the back. We had to hold onto the metal frame in the back to keep from falling over as we rode through the jungle to the start of our hike. It was pretty funny riding in the back of the truck because it was better than any ride at Universal Studios. We had to hold on and brace ourselves through the potholes and it had our thighs burning as we bent to dodge low lying tree branches. It truly felt like we were inside a video game.
Once we arrived to the village of Plangrande Quehueche we unloaded and started our mile and a half hike to the cenote. Our guide started us out with about four local village children carrying a large ladder in the back. He tried to stop and show us some of the uses of local flora and fauna but the kids were more interested in getting to the swimming hole. The hike was a little rigorous but it felt good knowing we were going to get cooled off soon.
The cenote’ was unlike any I have been to before. I could see the natural cave forming in the cliff side and I was ready to cool off after getting drenched from the hike. First our guide had his father, who had joined us at some point during our hike, lead us in a Mayan ceremony. We were each blessed with safety and good luck and soon were ready for our descent into the cenote.
Another fifty yards and we were at the entrance. Soon the ladder was lowered down and our guide lit four candles and lowered himself down the ten foot ladder into the water. We couldn’t see anything because the cave was so dark. Once our guide was in the water we could see the cave open up into the large swimming hole we had seen in pictures at our hotel. What we hadn’t realized from the pictures was that there was no natural lighting. Only the four candles were our only source of light. Soon the guide had his four small village kids holding candles on the side and soon he hollered for one of us to take a flying leap ten feet down into the natural pool.
As a mother I was completely freaked out but before I could do anything about it Colton leapt from the platform and was in the cool water below. Just like that my kids were picked off as they jumped into the dark abyss. Only Lexi and I had sense enough to be scared to jump into the darkness and the water below. It didn’t take long for the peer/sibling pressure to sink in and Lexi jumped in too. As she jumped in she yelled out “Teddy Roosevelt” which we all thought was a little peculiar and when we asked her about it after her jump she said he gives her the courage to do things that frighten her. Not sure what she learned in the second grade this year but apparently Teddy was a big part of it.
I was completely frightened thinking about my jump but felt like this was the ultimate copse course and I needed to trust my family. Soon I went for it and was in the refreshing water of the cenote. It was pretty cool and I wish I could have taken pictures but because of the darkness it was impossible to take any quality photos with our cameras. Had we not had the four candles we would have been swimming in total darkness. On top of that there were bats roosted in the eves of the cave and that was frightening enough. The cave lead back very deep but it was impossible to explore without the proper lighting equipment. The cost was about $12 each for our tour.
The rest of our day was spent at the beach and our hotel. The beach is nothing special and littered with trash. Colton took a funny picture of his feet like all of the typical instagram beach photos and trash was littering the back ground.
Our last stop of the day was at an awesome pizza place called Casa Nostra. It is owned by an American expat named Stewart. It was ranked number one on Trip Advisor and it is a well deserved ranking for his pizza. We arrived at about four oclock and since he had just returned from vacation at three he asked if we wouldn’t mind coming back in an hour so he could get ready for us. We decided to be patient and we were glad we did!
When we came back we were led through his shop where he also provides rooms for about $15 per night to his back yard patio on the water. Our group of nine took all but one of his tables and soon our order was placed and we enjoyed listening to the water crash along his cement deck, and watch a ten minute break in the clouds. It definitely wasn’t fancy by any means. Stewarts dingy boat was pulled up along side of our table and there were chickens roaming the premises, but it was the best pizza we’ve had in weeks, and maybe ever! The kids enjoyed cheese and salami pizzas while Trent and I ordered the shrimp and calamari pizza. It was delicious. After three pizzas, and seven sodas our bill came out to around $40 which we didn’t mind paying. After a week of Pollo Campero and eating at the gas station we were in seventh heaven at Casa Nostra.
Soon the kids walked the fifty yards back to the hotel and Trent and I stayed to chat it up with Stewart and how life found him as an ex-real estate finance officer from Texas to a pizza man in Guatemala. Its interesting to see where life takes us. As for us our time in Livingston was almost over but it was nice to sit on Stewarts patio and watch the sunset on that enjoyable evening.
Safe and happy travels!!