If you're trying to decide where to spend your time in the Livingston area, Hotelito Perdidio is an excellent option. I can't imagine regretting your choice to hang here a few nights, and I wouldn't at all be surprised if those few nights turned into more than a few.
Coming from Rio Dulce, the public launcha (which is really just a boat for tourists, it seems based on the cliental and the price) picked us up directly at the dock of Hotel Kangaroo around 9:30am. Excellent and easy. It costs Q125 no matter how far you go, so you might as well go all the way to Livingston. Hotelito Perdidio and Finca Tatin are both before the spectacular canyon coming from Rio Ducle direction, and you don't want to miss that portion of the river trip. Then again, if you are headed to Livingston anyways to continue on to the Bay Islands or Belize, after Hotelito Perdido then I suppose dropping your bags to your hostel could also be a good option for you. We were headed back to Rio Dulce from Hotelito Perdido, so it made the most sense for us to go all the way to Livingston with the public lanucha. Plus, we needed another ATM visit. We are flying through money in Guatemala! Gary, the owner of Hotel Kangaroo said that we could probably drop our bags at the tourist information, which is a little booth at the end of the concrete dock (not the newer wooden one) while we walked around. We didn't end up leaving our bags anywhere because our plan was to sit somewhere for lunch and a cold drink meaning we wouldn't be carrying our bags much anyways. There are at least two ATMs in Livingston, the ones we saw being on the main street straight up from the dock, just up the hill and very easy to find.
The flavour of Livingston is apparent the second you're out of the launcha and on the dock. You're in the Carribbean and its very unlike anywhere else in Guatemala. First and most noticeably- the people look different. They're Caribbean with an African ancestry and have much darker skin. The shops sell seashells and island style souvenirs and textiles with more of a rasta influence than Mayan. Other than those obvious differences, the town has a completely different pulse than the rest of Guatemala that I can't quite find the words to accurately describe, other than definitely distinct.
We had lunch at Gaby's, which was just OK and quite pricey and then a cold drink at the Happy Fish. I had the Frappucino Choco-Banana at Happy Fish, which was amazing but expensive at Q28 (almost $4USD!). That's more than a meal at most local eateries in Guatemala. Anyways, Livingston is known to be expensive, so at least it wasn't shocking. I was disappointed because what I had really wanted was the Coco-Locco I had heard so much about. A crazy coconut with a straw a (generous) dash of rum to help the coconut milk inside go down that much easier. Somehow, everywhere was out of coconuts!
We called Hotelito Perdido to arrange a pick up, which was, as dealing with Hotelito Perdido the whole time had been, very easy. Happy Fish let us use their phone, which was very nice of them.
Fernando, Hotelito Perdido's boat captain was there within an hour. (If we had called when we first arrived in Livingston we likely wouldn't have had to wait at all). But, waiting for a boat with a view of where the Rio Dulce meets the Caribbean ocean, really wasn't all that bad.
The ride from Livingston to Hotelito Perdido (Q50pp) was much longer than expected (because we really didn't know where on the river the hostel was at the time) and definitely worth the Q50 ($7USD). Being in a smaller boat all by ourselves with no overhead canopy we had a fabulous view of the canyon and limestone walls. So impressive and oh so photogenic.
When the boat pulled up to Hotelito Perdido's dock we were a little confused. Mainly because there wasn't an actual dock that we could see. Upon closer inspection we realize that we were actually overtop of the dock! The water was SO high (because of the insane rain) that the dock and the entire path up to the large main building was completely under water. Because Fernando is awesome, he got out of the boat in the calf- deep water and literally pushed us up the flooded walking path in the boat! It was hilarious (for us)! When the boat finally hit a high patch of land we kicked off our sandals and hopped into the water too. Another thing we love about travelling in these parts- you really never know what will happen next, so make sure you have flip flops! tee hee
More on Hotelito Perdido in the next post....