Today the crew and guests woke up to a beautiful day alongside the dock at the port of San Tomas de Castilla. Parrots squawked overhead at the dock as our Guatemalan guides eagerly awaited our disembarkation to start what turned out to be a great day. Our first leg of the journey took us to the World Heritage site of Quirigua where everyone learned about the great K’ahk Tiliw Chan Yopaat who became the ruler in 724 AD and became powerful enough to defeat the city of Copan by beheading its ruler. Wow! Of the 17 magnificent monuments in Quirigua, 10 are dedicated to K’ahk Tiliw Chan Yopaat. These sandstone stelae and zoomorphs are only seen in Quirigua. The real star of Quirigua however was undoubtedly the very iridescent turquoise-browed motmot.

The second leg of today’s adventure was preceded by buffet lunch at a wonderful riverside restaurant where our guests marveled at some lovely and colorful Guatemalan textiles and many left smiling and happy with their purchases.

After loading into local skiffs, the passengers traveled east towards Livingston. But first, we circled the Fort, Castillo San Felipe, getting the same view that pirates in the early 1600’s got when attempting to steal the gold stashed in Bodegas, just a short ways along Lake Izabal. The ride across Golfete gave us a view of the Montanas del Mico, over 6,000 ft. high with the tops covered by low clouds. Many great egrets in breeding plumage, neotropical cormorants and brown pelicans watched as we zipped by and the green iguanas in orange breeding color shook their dewlaps at us in defensive display. Gorgeous they were!

Finally, a quick walk through Livingston, the only Garifuna Town in Guatemala and a short ride to meet the National Geographic Quest at anchor just off Livingston. A great time was had by all!