Finca Ixobel

13 Jan 2008 4:49 pm

I heard about Finca Ixobel and the tree houses from some other travelers along the way, and so without much resistance, I dragged Klaus there with me. The Finca is located in Poptun, a small town 2 hours south of Flores, also in Peten. The Finca came highly recommended in the guide books as a traveler’s lodge. We booked a tree house for 2 nights, and planned to bring in the new year at the Finca.

The Finca is a Guatemalan style resort and farm located in the lush wet Peten. It’s located some kilometers outside of town and is not posh, but a really nice place enjoyed by both gringos and Guatemalans. The Finca was originally run by an American couple, Mike and Carol. In 1990, Mike was murdered by the Guatemalan government, an act which prompted the US government to suspend aide to the Guatemalan military. Carol has stayed on and is running the place, though things run so well here, that it seems the Finca is running itself.

After a very easy, though overpriced, minibus bus ride from Flores, we arrived at the Finca. It’s a very green and pretty place and there were gringos running about. The staff is a mix of travelers and locals, everyone really helpful and friendly. They have a couple of pet macaws in the front yard. It’s great to sit in hammocks and just watch the macaws. Hamocas (hammocks) are one of my very favorite past times.

We arrived in time for lunch, which is a good thing because the food is great. No shortage of vegetables here; in fact the Finca grows its own vegetables. The service is great as you rock on up to the kitchen and order food when you are hungry (no waiting for table service), and then they bring it out to you on long picnic tables situated along the many porches.

The tree houses ended up to not be all that, so I changed to a bungalow con bano compartido (with a shared bath). For $10 US, I had a great large rustic room, with a big porch with more hammocks, very close to hot hot showers. So happy.

There are a bunch of activities to sign up for daily. Inner tubing, horseback riding and caving are the most popular. My cold was back with a vengeance and my stomach just wasn’t right, so I didn’t sign up for any activities. My plan was just to sit in the hammocks and drink papaya banana smoothies for 2 days.

The plan was to spend New Year’s Eve here at the Finca. Guatemalans have a reputation for being obsessed with firecrackers and fireworks, and I was a bit intimidated to go to a big party in a city, for fear of being accidentally blown up. As it turned out, the Finca is an excellent place to celebrate new years.

The New Year’s party started out a bit stiff out by the bar with loud harsh British music and a bunch of gringos sitting uncomfortably around a bonfire. The bar was decorated by the gringo staff very festively with much attention to detail and looked super great. Before long some locals arrived, happy Latin music was playing, mostly salsa and samba, and everyone started drinking. A great party was born. We were out in the woods, in a log cabin bar, with about 60 people all dancing and just having a sweet time. It wasn’t loud or smoky or crowded. The gringos and locals all mixed and danced together. There were fire dancers, and at midnight, fireworks for our very own party. We all danced ’til dawn. It was one of the best New Years I can remember.

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