Trip Style, travel conditions and weather: This is not a tour, but an experiential and shared experience among old friends and new. While the trip is not physically demanding, we do visit remote locations and walk on jungle trails. A decent level of health and fitness is mandatory. This trip is for you if you want to build new or deeper friendships, make a difference and enjoy travel a bit off the beaten path. It is not for you if you are demanding, inflexible or expect an upscale resort or cruise style experience. During transit days, your driver will be courteous and helpful, but will not provide a running commentary. When we visit the Seacacar Cañon Natural Reserve, we will stay at a jungle lodge that opened for business on November 12, 2015. The lodge is located in a remote Mayan village and has limited solar power. Most hotels we use have air conditioning, but we do not have air conditioning at our jungle lodge in the Seacacar Cañon Natural Reserve. While the rainy season typically ends in late October, we can expect continued rainfall, often heavy. This rainfall usually occurs in the evening or at night. The average high temperatures from November through January are in the low eighties while night lows typically drop about 10 degrees.
Founder and trip facilitator: The Rios Fund, Guatemala is a mission driven social enterprise founded by Paul Heesaker, a retired high school teacher and principal. Paul also led kayaking and rafting trips to Guatemala from late 1993 until the spring of 1998. Paul's work with the Q'eqchi Mayan people of Seacacar and Ak' Tenamit has resulted in the establishment of the first ever intermediate school in Seacacar and in Guatemala's newest protected area, the Seacacar Cañon Natural Reserve. Paul and his wife Catherine, a school psychologist, reside in Summit County, Colorado.
Keeping the trip affordable: We don't sell Adventure Trips via magazine ads or any other costly marketing approach. Word of mouth rules the day. This keeps marketing costs down and allows us to maintain our focus on the Seacacar Cañon Natural Reserve, rather than on running a full time travel business. If Paul Heesaker has not made a one on one connection, then in all likelihood, it’s another person who knows Paul and is sponsoring a group. Other international tour operators charge at least double our trip cost and often a great deal more.
Other Support: While we would be grateful for your continued support, this is not an expectation. We understand that there are thousands of worthy causes. We are grateful for your participation on the Adventure Trip. Your $365 deposit is enough funding to keep one child in school for a full semester. Some trip participants will want to get involved at a deeper level and continue their support of project initiatives, but that is not the expectation.
Flexibility Required: Although every effort has been made to make this trip run as smoothly as possible, road conditions, weather or other circumstances beyond our control may necessitate a change in plans. This happened on our inaugural trip in November 2015. Unseasonably high rainfall caused a cancellation of an inner tube float through the Boquerón Cañon and the necessity to modify plans when a river washed over the top of a bridge. Power outages in major towns can occur as well.
Lodging: Our hotels are not luxurious, but these mid-range hotels are comfortable and immediately adjacent to cultural, historic or natural attractions. The Seacacar Cañon Natural Reserve is located adjacent to a remote Mayan village with no electricity. We have limited solar power in the Jungle Lodge and in our intermediate school. While every effort has been made to make the lodge rooms as comfortable as possible, they are rustic and immediately adjacent to the natural environment. Shared bathrooms have flush toilets and we have cool water showers. You will find that hot showers are not really needed in a rainforest environment. We also have two spacious and furnished cabin tents on a covered platform. Consider your own health, fitness and expectations carefully before paying your deposit.
Travel: When traveling on paved highways, we travel by mini-bus. We will also use covered motorized boats while traveling on the Rio Dulce and Lake Izabal. The access to the Boquerón Cañon Project is a 30-minute drive on a rough and steep road. We often use double cab four wheel drive pick ups, but guests may be standing and holding rails on an open flatbed truck for this segment of our journey.
Travel Medical Insurance: Our guests are required to carry travel medical insurance and sign an assumption of risk liability waiver.
Access to Medical Care: While we will never be further than an hour’s drive from local medical clinics, Guatemala City has the nearest advanced medical care. There are small airports in Rio Dulce, El Estor and other communities along our route. International airports are located in Flores, Belize City and Guatemala City.
Malaria and Immunizations: Malaria and Chikungunya are endemic to some areas we visit. Discuss travel to Guatemala with your doctor or consult the State Department of Health prior to departure to determine which immunizations are currently being recommended.
• All transport in Belize and Guatemala. If you arrive early or depart after the trip has finished, transport to and from the airport is on your own. Trip participants will be encouraged to arrive on the same flight.
• All hotel accommodation - based on double rooms for couples or triple occupancy for individual travelers - A single supplement of $20 daily on the October trip and $35 daily on the January trip (minus the arrival and departure days) will be added to the trip cost for individuals who want a single room. This option may not be available at our Jungle Lodge in the Seacacar Cañon Natural Reserve. At this time, our lodging capacity is somewhat limited, so single rooms may not be available.
• Meals as described in the itinerary
• Services of driver and Seacacar Cañon Natural Reserve staff
• Personal clothing and equipment
• Beverages, apart from our own Jungle Lodge and unless otherwise indicated, are not included with the meals
• Alcoholic beverages
• All personal expenses
Return Policy: A $365 deposit is required to reserve a space on the trip. The balance is due 90 days before the departure date. In case of late bookings, full payment is required at the time of reservation. A 50 percent cancellation fee will be charged on cancellations made less then 90 days before departure. Payment is in U.S dollars only. We recommend that all trip participants obtain travel insurance.
Passport Required: Passports are required for all travelers entering Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. All tourists exiting Guatemala are required to pay a departure tax, which is normally included in you airline ticket price.
Registration: After paying your deposit, you will be informed about a trip planning meeting where you will fill out a registration form, sign a waiver of liability, and obtain information on how to prepare for departure.
Deposit: Pay your $365 deposit to Paul Heesaker. This deposit will be applied to lodging and services at the Seacacar Cañon Natural Reserve and will help fund all project initiatives.
Remaining balance payment: We only accept personal checks and do not accept credit card payments at this time. This helps us keep our trip price as low as possible. Make your check payable to Paul Heesaker. If you live outside of Summit County, Colorado or do not have an opportunity to meet with us personally, send your check to the following address:
355 North Chipmunk Circle
Silverthorne, CO 80498
More Information: Send an email to
with your contact information and Paul will be in touch with you. Keep in mind that our budget doesn’t allow for office assistants, and that we are often out of the country. We may not be able to connect by phone immediately.