Sailing and Diving in Guatemala and Belize:

What Our Customers Say ...

Elain Genser wrote an article about The Caribbean Experience on the 46' Polynesian sailboat which appeared in the travel section of the Vancouver Sun. Click here to read her article.

Every year, hundreds of customers enjoy the Rio Dulce and Belize on board our sailboat tours. Here's what they say about us:

Cate and Benn

Cate and Benn

We have just returned from a weeks sailing trip around the Sapodillas Cayes in Southern Belize.

After travelling for almost a year and experiencing so many wonderful places and meeting so many great people sometimes it is difficult for things to really stand out as being extra special, although our week in Belize proved to be exactly that.

We were aboard the 46 foot Catermaran ‘Las Sirenas’ which operates out of Rio Dulce in Guatemala. The week long trip started by taking us down the gorgeous canyon of the Rio Dulce (Sweet River) abundant with wildlife and scenes of traditional life such as fisherman casting their nets from small wooden canoes.

Read the rest on Cate and Benn's blog

Joseph and Farideh Ross, California

Joseph and Farideh Ross

The trip honestly could not have been better. We were lucky to have a nice group and good weather, but all we did was explore and swim and laugh.

The lake and jungle are beautiful! Livingston is way cool! Raul and Saqueo are super polite and professional. I know that all the customers were happy and they will recommend our sailboat tours to others. Thanks for the great trip!

Katharina and Elias Sieg, Canada

Katharina and Elias Sieg

Hello John,

We're back home in Canada from our Guatemala trip. I just wanted to let you know what a good time we had on your sailing tour on the Izabal sail from 11.-14. April. We were only 4 people, another couple and my son and I. We felt so fortunate to have the whole boat to ourselves, and made new friends with the other couple from Seattle. Raoul and Carlos were great, very professional and great sailors, they worked hard, and the food was delicious. Thanks again for a great time!

Kevin, Kara, Elise & Jeff

Kevin, Kara, Elise & Jeff

John,

thanks for making our trip such a smooth adventure.

Whether it was the challenging drive to Semuc Champey or the hike to Rubel Chain, we felt we were in great hands. The food recommendations were right on and the scheduling flexibility was greatly appreciated.

Thanks, again, for making our trip a success!

Cassi Kennedy, Australia

Cassi on Las Sirenas

Hi John,

Not sure you'll remember me but i was the Aussie girl who went sailing a few weeks ago... (you took me to a bank in Antigua... you might remember!!) Sorry for delayed email - but just wanted to say that we had the absolute TIME OF OUR LIVES and I couldn't recommend the whole experience highly enough to anyone... It was unbelievable!! The boat was perfect, crew were brilliant.. food delicious and the whole thing smooth and just the trip of a lifetime!!! My parents in Australia were wanting to come to Guatemala for it after seeing the photos!!

Thanks again for all your help... and check out the photos... they really are amazing and show how stunning all the places we sailed to are and how great the whole experience is!!!

Ken Hogshead

New Years 2008 on 46' polynesian catamaran - Wow! We had a wonderful experience. I just cannot say enough praises for our Captain, Carlos and crew/cook, Padillo, can that man cook up a tasty meal. It was outstanding to have a Capitan and crew that were very concerned about out safety and welfare and the incredible sites along the trip.

It is an incredible experience that I, my wife and daughter will not forget. The rest of our stay in Guatemala we kept talking about our sailing adventure. We also met several great fellow travelers on the adventure that we continue to exchange information with.

Again a huge Thank You to every one that makes this possible and especially to Carlos and cook two remarkable men.

Erin Hanrahan, raggedy1111@hotmail.com

We had such a spectacular time on the trip! I can hardly find the words to describe it! I feel so lucky to have gone, I'm still feeling high from the crystal blue waters, coral, sunshine, everything! You've got a great set up, rest assured that your tours are being highly recommended to other vacationing volunteers here in El Salvador! And who knows? We might be up for another trip the next year! I'll be sure to drop by and say hi anytime I'm in Guatemala in the future!

Simon

Fantastic journey! I'll be smiling for the rest of my life when I think of the things I've seen, the things I've done and the great friends I've made.

Todd Brown, Pennsylvania

Dear John and Yesica,

A belated thank you for a wonderful trip on Las Sirenas over the Christmas holiday.

First of all, I want to thank you for arranging the transportation to and from the boat and Antigua. Our driver, Rudy, was very professional and drove with care throughout the trip. We were especially appreciative after seeing a horrible accident on the way out to Rio Dulce. We were therefore very happy to see Rudy for the trip home. Our ride home was more difficult due to more traffic and rainy conditions throughout most of the trip, but Rudy was safe, courteous, and kind throughout the trip.

The sailing tour was perfect for our two families. There was plenty of room on the boat and the sleeping conditions were comfortable.

The itinerary was great too. We had a very relaxing time out on the Sapodillas and Raul clearly knew the area very well. We were all surprised at how remote the islands were and how few boats were out there (only two other sailboats) throughout the week.

The trip inland was great as well. Raul knew of some great places to stop and was very accommodating when we asked to stop at Casa Guatemala for an hour or so.

Raul, Elias and Carlos were fantastic. Despite our poor Spanish, they made a huge effort to speak English. They also spoke very clear and simple Spanish to get the message across. I'm sure it was hard work for them but we really appreciated their efforts.

The food was fantastic. We couldn't believe that Raul and Carlos jumped off the boat every day and found lunch and dinner. We had a great variety of fish and lobster through the week and we admired Elias' ability to make such great meals in such a small galley.

We have very fond memories of our trip and hope to visit Guatemala again to enjoy more of such a great country.

Fabio, muryo@yahoo.com

Being an avid outdoorsman, I jumped at the opportunity to go sailing for 6 days to some remote Belizian islands via Rio Dulce! Not knowing the boat or the crew, I was taking a risk in participating in this activity. From my point of view, I just wanted to feel the sea breeze and go snorkeling. Anything beyond that was going to be a bonus! Well, I will tell you, there were a lot of bonuses!

To begin with, John (boat owner) regularly replied immediately to my emails prior to the trip. My two friends and I were confident that John knew what he was doing and that safety was of utmost importance. This was clear on day one when we went aboard the catamaran. The captain, first mate and cook were a great team. I cannot say enough about how all three of them made my trip fantastic!

The captain was an experienced sailor and knew where the best snorkeling spots were. It was fascinating to see all three work like a team to make our vacation wonderful. I am still perplexed as to how the cook was able to produce such variety of dishes when we never docked anywhere for 6 days! It is not exaggeration! We were all well fed and never lacked anything. There were always snacks available 24 hours! Plus, it needs to be said how amazing it was to drink a cold beer even on the fifth day at sea!

Being that I am a Canadian working in Guatemala City, I have the luxury of doing this activity again. I would highly recommend that you sign up for this wonderful sailing adventure (if you are single, I highly recommend staying the "hammock" — wow!). This should be on everyone's itinerary when they come to visit Guatemala (traveling from Rio Dulce to Livingston is simply breathtaking)! As far as I am concerned, it is the best kept secret!

Feel free to contact me with any questions at muryo@yahoo.com.

Sharon, sngapp@aol.com

I wanted to let you know that we had a wonderful time in Guatemala. Everything went perfectly — your shuttles were always on time, the drivers were friendly and they had nice, air conditioned vans. Most of the time we did not even need a voucher since each hotel and driver knew to expect us. We liked all the hotels and enjoyed the fun activities at each place (nature reserve near Hotel Atitlan; boat trip to Santiago on the lake; hike up Pacaya volcano; sunrise tour at Tikal; zip line tour at Tikal; the hot waterfall and cold springs/steam caves at Finca Paraiso; diving and snorkeling on Franks Caye). The Hotel Casa Santo Domingo was absolutely beautiful and we really enjoyed our stay there — it was a great way to end a wonderful vacation. I would have liked one more night in Antigua.

We really loved the catamaran trip — Raul and Elias made it very fun. I was amazed at the fancy meals Elias put together in the small galley kitchen — the highlight was their homemade apple pie which took them hours to make! We also loved the fresh fish that Raul bought off a fisherman in the river and then cooked for us. New years eve was really fun watching fireworks and then docking at the marina restaurant/bar near Rio Dulce. I was concerned that it would be really hot on the boat and that there might not be enough spring water, but there was plenty of spring water and the fans in each cabin really helped cool the cabins and also served to keep down the outside noise. We were fortunate that there was a fun group on board and we all quickly became friends.

Jed Scheider, Northland College

Here is to something I never thought would happen. Here is to something that I had on enormous amount of fun. Here is to the Sirenas.

Peter, WI, USA

The sun blessed us every day and the stars shine the nights. The food was very good; the music was even better. Thank you Raul and Ali for a spectacular time.

Karen Curley, WWCC Senior Infrastructure Manager

Our family just returned from a wonderful three week vacation to Guatemala. The highlight of our vacation was a 4-day/3-night sailing trip on the catamaran along the Rio Dulce and Lago Izabal, located on the Caribbean side of Guatemala. Captain John and his crew brought us to great places only accessible by boat. We visited a beautiful warm waterfall, the funky Caribbean town of Livingston, hot sulfur springs, and small tributary with cold water springs and a nature reserve. The scenery throughout the trip was amazing, with dense green foliage, birds flying by and white limestone cliffs. We were originally concerned about traveling with our children, ages 14, 10 and 4, however, the crew engaged the kids in steering the catamaran, rigging the sails and rides on the surf boards, which kept them entertained. As soon as the catamaran was anchored, both the children and adults eagerly jumped off the bow into the lukewarm water of the river or lake.

We felt happily spoiled on the boat. The chef, Angel, prepared three complete meals each day using fresh seafood and produce, which were delicious. Captain John filled us with information about the sites along the way and Guatemala. Our accommodations were comfortable single or double berths on the catamaran, which can accommodate up to 15 guests.

The cost of $160 per person includes accommodations and food, and is a true bargain. The only additional cost is for soda, beer or wine, which can be purchased at cost.

Margot

I had a wonderful time, thank you for the experience. The food was great!

Magdalena & Steve Gelmis, New York City

This trip exceeded my expectations. John's 12 years of experience on this route really shows. The boat is interestedly set up and the destinations prove for spectacular snorkeling and diving, the crew is friendly and experienced and the meals from the same-day catches of lobsters, crab, snapper, grouper and more delivered completely on the "four star" claim.

Margauro Koluzs, Perth, West Oz

I am hopping off the boat with a soggy bum, a fat tummy & not exactly tanned. But I am still smiling at the thought of some of the very special things we've done on the trip. Even rain can't mask the beauty of coconut & sand islands. Very interesting to see the after-effects of hurricane "Mitch" first hand. I love the kayaks & being cooked & cleaned fine by an all male crew! Thanks fellas - Crew, Walter & John for working hard to make one trip memorable (if stormy!). Luis - good luck with the snorkeling. Muchas Gracias Amigos!

Ann

I had a great time on the Mermaid boat. I met fun people and the crew were great. The diving was out of this world with so many fish and beautiful coral. One of the best diving I have done. Thank you for looking after us and providing a fun trip.

Lilach, Israel

Hi there, My name is Lilach, I'm from Israel and I've been sailing with your crew in July 13-16. Besides the fact that the crew itself was great, the food was delicious and your people Raul and Serjio were charming. I need to say a special thanks. I had my birthday at the same time. I guess you knew it because it seems like you prepared Sergio and Raul for it. Since I was alone, I was afraid my birthday this year would be depressing. Thanks to your people and to the great people who were with us, it turned to be one birthday I will never forget! Thanks again for a wonderful experience and a wonderful birthday.

Suzanne Ferris, San Francisco

Our sailing Tour , well, what can I say? It's been quite an experience spending 7 days on the rio and the mar! I will never forget those blissful days on the deserted island - but I must say I look forward to drying out! John - thanks for running the show, Luis - your patience, the food rocks, Walter - I hope you get some time to relax after working sooo hard!

Pietro, Italy, pierog@libero.it

I have traveled with many boats, but even if Las Sirenas is not a luxury catamaran sailing on this boat was one of the most interesting experiences of my trips. Thanks to John and his crew. Also the tour in Guatemala was very well organized by Aventuras Vacacionales. I enjoyed Posada de Don Rodrigo in Panajachel and in Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Tikal, Finca Ixobel and the complete tour was perfect.

Emily Overlock

Thank you for such a relaxing sailing trip. I enjoyed the diving the most with so much to see beneath the sea. The food was great and the crew friendly.

Bill and Kathy, England

To the crew, Raul who hunted fish and lobsters everyday to provide Wilder with fresh food for us everyday. Captain John who took us diving to some of the most beautiful cool dives we have ever witnessed. The diving was more than great and the food was out of this world diffidently 5 star. 46' Polynesian Catamaran is operated on a first class level. Thanks for a great trip.