CONGRATULATIONS to all the Challengers on our first six Charity Challenges of 2011, biking from Guatemala to Honduras, the inaugural Nicaragua Volcano Challenge, Brazil's Chapada Diamantina Challenge , Guatemala's first Caribbean Kayak Challenge, Perú´s Cerani Pass and Ecuador's Volcano Challenge. Nicaragua's second volcano Challenge is set for 3rd-6th November and the third Guatemala Volcano Challenge dates are set for 27th November -2nd December.

Click on the following for our most recent official project reports for Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Perú and Brazil.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Guatemala's Kayak Challenge - round 1!

After 3 days flat-water kayaking over 60 kms, storms, hot-springs, waterfalls, a few mosquitos (ahem!) and arms bigger than Arnie's, the first 8 challengers and 3 Old Town Outfitter guides made it to the Caribbean and on to our goal to trace Tarzan's first steps on the silver screen - Las Siete Altares!

After a 5 hour ride up to Lago Izabal and an afternoon trip out to Finca Paraiso and its hotsprings, a kayak training session followed by a monumental storm, Day One of the Challenge started bright and early!

Moving out of Lago Izabal, past the old Castillo de San Felipe we made good distance over five hours, through the main mooring docks in the Rio Dulce and 16kms under our belts, reaching the entrance to the Golfete, camping down for the night under torrential rain!

Day two started at dawn for the push across the Golfete, over 25kms for us today, though the waters were relatively calm. The Golfete is a huge expanse of water and it was a grind!

We managed to kayak some incredible backwaters in the Biotopo aswell, and reached our goal at the end of the day in Finca Tatin, where we had a couple of hours to play in the river and some great BBQ'd chicken, a treat after 7 hours in the saddle.

Day three, the final push to the Caribbean, though first an explore down a side river which took us deep into the wilds!

As the river narrowed, the obvious pirate battles commenced and it was great to explore kms of relatively untouched areas, save for the locals who live in these parts.

Back onto the Rio Dulce, the final kms were ahead of us, and luckily, so was a slow-moving current, winding us out to the Caribbean, enjoying the awe-inspiring high-sided walls of the canyons.

We made our camping ground in the early afternoon, on the mouth of the Rio Dulce, with the Caribbean behind us, and still time for the afternoon hike out to the Siete Altares and back at dusk.

So, the final day took us back along the way we had come, by motor-boat!, and we could really appreciate the achievements we had made over the past three days, and the distance! On the way back to Antigua, we stopped off at the Mayan ruins of Quirigua, which were amazing!

A great Challenge conquered, once again, and we would like to really thank all our sponsors who continue to donate and keep Phoenix projects going in Guatemala and getting better and better. If the projects are better, the kids are better, which is the all-important reason! Best of luck to the second group, who leave this weekend!


How does GVI Phoenix make a difference?

The following film was made in Guatemala, though the message is the same across all GVI Phoenix projects