FINCA TATIN, near the Rio Dulce, Guatemala- I have always known that it would come down to this: a hut on an off shoot of a river, in the middle of a jungle, somewhere. A place where the rain comes down as it will, where the ground is waterlogged, where walls of green surround you in all directions and a canopy of the same color rises over your head, where you never need to wear a shirt, or shoes either. A place where what you need to do can be accomplished in moments, but takes hours to get up out of your hammock to do it. A place where you spend more time thinking about what you want to do than actually doing it. A place where you listen more to the falling rain, the yapping birds, the farting frogs than to the words of the person sitting next to you.
It all comes down to this — traps for the traveler — the places you travel into but don’t leave. The place that you are looking for.
This is the kind of place that a long term traveler could forget to leave. The surroundings are beautiful, the meals are filling and delicious, the people interesting to talk with. The living is good here, almost too good. This is the kind of place that you travel to get to — with a heavy thud you feel as if you arrived.
The days are long at the Finca Tatin, the river beautiful, the biggest decision that you will make is if you want to take out a kayak on the river, swim near the docks, stumble around the jungle trails, boat to the nature reserve, drink beer, or lay around staring off vacantly in a hammock.
I once asked a guy from Wyoming what cows do all day. He said that 25% of the time they chew cud, 25% of the time they moo, and the remaining 50% of the time they are trying to figure out if they want to chew cud or moo.
The same goes for guests at the Finca Tatin: 25% of the time we swim, 25% of the time we drink beer, and the remaining 50% of the time we lay around in hammocks trying to decide if we want to swim or drink beer.
If travel is just an expedient mechanism to fully feel the moments of your life, then this is a place where those moments feel even fuller.
The Finca Tatin is a good stop, don’t forget to leave.
Girls on the Rio Tatin near the finca.
Kayaking near the Finca Tatin.
Rain on the river at the Finca Tatin.
We stayed at the Finca Tatin for five days, long enough to know that I did not want to leave. Chaya and I asked the owner if he would be interested in hiring us after some of his staff decides to travel on. His response seemed promising: “Practice your Spanish.”
In two months we will hopefully again find ourselves at the end of an offshoot of the Rio Dulce in the jungle of Guatemala.