Guatemala 2015 Part 4: Las Lisas - Jesse King

In Part 3 I shared our experiences at the meetings and the beach in Casas Viejas. But there was still one more beach trip left before we left -- this time at the coastal town of Las Lisas, not far up the road. One of Nathan's Bible studies named Don Licho operates a wonderful little restaurant built on the beach in Las Lisas, looking right out into the Pacific Ocean. After Saturday morning field service we piled into the truck to spend the rest of the day on the beach.

In the truck and ready for the beach!

In the truck and ready for the beach!

To get to Las Lisas, you first have to drive a few miles and then take a lancha (small boat) across a canal to the coastal strip. We arrived at the small port where the boats were docked and parked in a small carport that was fiercely guarded by a couple of tied-up pigs. Las Lisas had a real vibrancy, with a number of stores selling fresh fruits, vegetables and fish.

  • Approaching Las Lisas

  • Tuk-Tuks lined up waiting to ferry passengers back and forth from Las Lisas.

  • Them's some bananas.

  • One of the Cerditos who didn't much like us parking on top of him.

  • Guatemalan parking garage.

  • Waiting.

As we approached the small dock we saw that our lancha didn't look exactly seaworthy -- with its creaking, ancient wood beams and tattered top -- but it served its purpose just fine. After some brief negotiations with the operator, whose rates are apparently quite variable (usually only a few Quetzales, but at times Q35 or more), we clambered aboard and settled in for our journey to the coastline.

  • Q: How do you load a half dozen gringos onto a tiny piece of glorified driftwood? A: Very carefully!

  • "I know my Piranha Repellant is in here somewhere!"

  • The built in sunroof was a convenient addition.

Our ride across the canal (or was it a river?) was uneventful but beautiful. We motored comfortable across the serene blue-green water and enjoyed the dense trees, gorgeous blue sky and refreshing breeze.

After disembarking from our lancha we began our walk through the coastal side of Las Lisas and made our way to Don Lito's seaside restaurant and the beach beyond. The town was full of life -- it looked like many people came here on the weekend to eat, shop and play at the beach. It was certainly more crowded than where we came from in Casas Viejas.

  • "No littering" -- oh, the irony!

After walking through what seemed a maze of cinder block walls and small tiendas, we reached Don Lito's bamboo-walled restaurant. At first it seemed dim and dingy, but as we passed through the entrance we saw the real heart of the restaurant: It opened right onto the sandy beach with a perfect view of the Pacific Ocean.

  • Yes. Please. All of it.

  • Hungry for fish!

  • Any restaurant with sand for floors is okay by me.

  • This is how every lunch spot should look.

  • Enjoying a perfect afternoon.

  • Getting hungry.

There was a nice selection for lunch, but we were unanimously interested in the fresh fish (which ended up being Red Snapper, I believe). Nathan & Jessica, having eaten here many times, recommended getting the garlic sauce, normally found on the shrimp platter, on our fish -- a decision that proved to be beyond wonderful. I hadn't had fish like this before in my life!

  • If the food on your plate doesn't have a face with nasty, big, pointy, teeth, you're ordering it wrong.

  • Jess could barely contain her excitement.

  • Kristy couldn't contain hers whatsoever.

  • Finally, an appropriate level of excitement.

  • Gallo, the national cerveza of Guatemala, is nothing more than yellowish fizzy water.

  • You think you have had fish tacos before, but you're wrong. You haven't.

  • Kristy's mom never told her not to play with her food, or in this case, the remains of her food's face.

After stuffing ourselves with fish, we relaxed for quite awhile, and eventually, after waiting the prescribed amount of time to swim after eating, we ventured toward the ocean. En route to the water, we realized that the sand here wasn't hot: It was HOT. We made a game of seeing who could walk barefoot from the restaurant to the water without breaking into a full sprint.

Nathan, Tim and I spent hours getting tossed in the waves and making our best effort to body surf. As the afternoon burned slowly into evening, the sun began its rapid descent, leading to another stunning sunset in this picturesque place.

  • Post fish coma.

  • Toby, Protector of the Beach

Finally, we made our way back to Casas Viejas. It was sad to leave Las Lisas -- it seemed like a little slice of Paradise. But we were thankful for the long, enjoyable day and the delicious lunch!

Last view of the ocean leaving Las Lisas.

Back home we had one last chore to do -- laundry. I neglected to talk about this earlier, but the process of washing clothes was definitely a different experience for us. Basically, it's all by hand on a washboard. It wasn't especially hard, but it did take a long time. It was actually almost fun, but that was just because it was a novelty to us -- if we had to do it every few days that would wear off quickly!

  • This early Maytag prototype washing machine served us well!

  • Jess getting her scrub on.

  • Look ma, I'm a pioneer woman!

  • Look pa, I'm washing my own clothes!

With that, our time in Casas Viejas had come to a close. Monday morning we would be driving to the city of Antigua where we would spend two more nights before our trip would end. Check out Part 5 to see our experiences there!