Story by Scott Woodhams
Photo’s by Bernard Barbour
One thing I love about traveling, is spontaneity. If you allow yourself to veer off course and explore the unknown, it is common to be pleasantly surprised at what you find. Yesterday, was another one of those incidences. We had heard about a Castillo (castle) near where we were staying, overlooking the water in Rio Dulce. We drove through some narrow streets, past curious locals, until we found a place to park the trucks.
We walked the grounds, admiring the beauty of the trees, flowers, and views of the water. Fisherman slowly trolled by with their nets loaded down. The first appearance of the castle, didn’t seem overly impressive. It was a massive Stone walled complex. As we approached, though, it was surprising to see the draw bridge and mote leading into the wall.
The architecture was intriguing. I loved the arched doorways, and maze like floor plan. Each room led to another series of rooms, until we reached some stairs that led to the terrace.
From there the views were stunning, with the breeze blowing, sunshine beaming. What a place this must have been in it’s heyday (1600s). We spent an hour or 2 exploring, glad that we ventured off our route to see what was around us.
The Castillo de San Felipe de Lara (often referred to simply as the Castillo de San Felipe) is a Spanish colonial fort at the entrance to Lake Izabal in eastern Guatemala. Lake Izabal is connected with the Caribbean Sea via the Dulce River and El Golfete lake. The fort was strategically situated at the narrowest point on the river. The Castillo de San Felipe was used by the Spanish for several centuries, during which time it was destroyed and looted several times by pirates.