About Santo Tomas de Castilla

Located in the eastern Gulf of Honduras coast on the Amatique Bay, Santo Tomas De Castilla was originally settled by 19th century Belgian pioneers, and is an excellent place from which to explore the famous Mayan ruins of Quiriguá. Whilst
not the largest Mayan site of significance, Quiriguá retains some of the finest sculptures from ancient Mesoamerica.


Shore excursions in Santo Tomas de Castilla

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Ak'Tenamit River Community

Activity highRefreshments included

Duration: 6 hours

Discover the Mayan way of life along the Tatin River and enjoy a memorable visit to the non profit development of the Q’eqchi’ indigenous river community.

You’ll begin your tour by sailing through the Amatique Bay and then up the Rio Dulce, an area of immense natural beauty and a sanctuary to a variety of aquatic birds and wildlife. You’ll Visit Ak' Tenamit, a Mayan Q'eqchi' community development, located on the River Tatin, which is a non-profit organisation founded in 1992 by Steve Dudenhoefer, an American with a great vision.

This very successful volunteer supported operation, helps to create a sustainable development, and preserves the Mayan culture within the Q'eqchi' villages on the Rio Dulce. Ak' Tenamit teaches programmes on education, crafts, health, organic agriculture, eco-tourism, community development and much more. Before leaving the village, you will have the opportunity to purchase souvenirs made by local artisans.

Following your visit, you’ll re-board your boat and sail across the river to the Villa Caribe Hotel, where you’ll make a stop for lunch, accompanied by music and dance by the Garifuna band. After lunch, you’ll embark the boat for the return ride to Santo Tomas de Castilla.

Essential information

This tour is by panga boat and on foot.Places are limited so early booking is strongly advised. This tour includes a 1½ hour walk in the jungle. Please wear comfortable clothing, long sleeved tops, long trousers, comfortable non-slip walking shoes and bring insect repellent. Boarding the small boats requires passengers to be agile enough to bend and climb and to endure a bumpy boat ride, where you may get wet. Due to the nature of the tour, this tour is only suitable for those passengers in good physical condition.

Amatique Bay Eco-Resort

Activity mediumMeal included

Duration: 5½ hours

Relax, unwind and take in the spectacular beauty of one of Central America's finest Eco-Resorts at the Amatique Bay Resort.

Depart the pier via panga boat to the Amatique Bay Eco-Resort, which issurrounded by exotic gardens and Mayan archaeological sites, with a wide array of lush flora and fauna. Upon arrival, you’ll have a brief orientation of the beach and facilities. It’s then time for you to sit back and relax and sunbathe or swim in the pool, with wet bar and water slides or explore the nearby private beach. There will be a buffet lunch for you to enjoy, with a variety of food with a variety of food and soft drinks to tantalise your palate. After your stay, you’ll meet up at the agreed time and place for the return panga boat ride to your ship.

Essential information

This tour operates by panga boat and on foot.This tour involves a moderate amount of walking. Passengers must be able to embark and disembark the transfer boat. Please wear a swimsuit under clothing and bring sun protection and a towel. A soft drink is included in the price of this tour, but extra refreshments are available for purchase. Please refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages prior to any swimming activities. There may be independent suppliers on the beach that offer water sports. These are provided by parties unconnected to P&O Cruises.

Castle and Countryside

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 5 hours

Take in the scenic beauty of this region before enjoying a leisurely boat tour to the Castle of San Felipe.

Enjoy a scenic drive through the Motagua Valley for wonderful views of the countryside and lush tropical vegetation. You’ll arrive at the bridge, which passes over the Rio Dulce, to enjoy the magnificent panorama over the River and Lake Izabal. This area has now been declared a national park and is one of the most important ecological reserves in Guatemala.

From the River, your scenic drive continues on a route taking you past attractive weekend homes, marinas and small hotels, which dot the banks of River Dulce and Lake Izabal. Here, you’ll find the Castillo de San Felipe.

Your mode of transport changes to boat as you cruise over to San Felipe Castle, located on the banks of the Dulce River. San Felipe was built in 1652, in honour of King Philip II of Spain. The old fort was strategically located on the riverbanks to defend against pirate ships that were pillaging the area, as far back as 1595. The San Felipe Castle was declared a National Monument in 1955. The boat tour continues onto the Catamaran Hotel where you’ll be offered some light refreshments before returning to your coach for the drive back to Santo Tomas.

Essential information

This excursion operates by bus boat and on foot.This tour involves some walking over rough and uneven ground including some inclined surfaces and steps at the Castle. Flat, comfortable, non-slip shoes are recommended. Passengers should take care when boarding the small launches for the river tour.

Eco Hike at Hacienda Tijax

Activity highMeal included

Duration: 7½ hours

Experience the beauty of Guatemala’s rainforest on a memorable Eco- hike through the jungle at the Hacienda Tijax.

Take a drive along the Rio Dulce highway, one of the most important ecological areas in the country. At the bridge over the Rio Dulce, you’ll take a boat trip to the Hacienda Tijax.

Tijax, meaning volcanic crystal, was once used to make ancient spearheads and knives and was so important to the Kaqchikels they named one of their calendar days after it.

On arrival at the Hacienda Tijax you’ll be invited to take a nature hike through the preserved rainforest to see the interesting flora, fauna and local rubber trees. The hike crosses over crystal clear springs, riverways and small-suspended bridges. Your informative guide will teach you all about the fascinating ecology of this natural environment.

Midway through your 1½ mile walk, you’ll have a chance to climb the observation tower for a different view of the rain forest, river and all the way out to the San Felipe Tower.

After your hike, having worked up quite an appetite, a BBQ-style lunch will be served by the pool at the Hacienda.

Essential information

This tour is by minibus, boat and on foot.There will be approximately 3 hours walking involved on this tour. Passengers are reminded to wear footwear suitable for hiking over rough, uneven and wet ground. The ground may be slippery in places when wet. . There are steps to negotiate when embarking the boats.

Las Escobas Springs

Activity high

Duration: 3½ hours

Discover the beauty of the Las Escobas Springs Reserve and learn about the Las Escobas culture and community.

Your adventure begins at the pier where, you’ll board a mini-bus for a pleasant short drive to Las Escobas Springs Reserve. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by your local guide who will take you on a fascinating walk along the Reserve trail. The length of the trail is approximately 1 mile and takes around 2 hours.

Along the way, you’ll learn about the flora and fauna of the area and have the opportunity to take a refreshing dip in the cool spring pools.

Next, you’ll take a short drive to the small community of Las Escobas, where you’ll experience the daily life of the local people and watch as they prepare ‘tortillas’ and you’ll have the opportunity to interact with the villagers.

Essential information

This excursion operates by mini-bus and on foot.The local escort at the Nature Reserve may be a student studying tourism, we trust that the enthusiasm and charm shown by the local escorts will make up for any lack of experience, and ensure you have a pleasant tour. This tour involves approximately 2 hours of walking over rough and uneven ground, including steps and inclined surfaces. Comfortable, flat non-slip shoes are recommended. Please wear swimwear under clothes and take a towel if wishing to take a dip in the natural spring pool. Please note that there are no changing/toilet facilities in the Escobas Springs Reserve.

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