Located on Km 222.5 of the road to Honduras and a few minutes from the Esquipulas Basilica, this recreational center's many attractions are definitely worth a visit.
It has a small lagoon that is fed by the current of a creek where ducks and geese wade. Some of these birds even escort the visitors through the park!
Controlled fishing is permitted. Fishermen will be delighted with the peaceful environment. The amount of catch is limited to protect the fish population.
The island in the center of the lagoon is the home of several small monkeys that enjoy watching the visitors that visit them.
The adventurous visitor can even canopy across the lagoon!
The restaurant's menu is very varied. Most of the visitors like to eat outdoors to enjoy the surroundings.
The visitors are very impressed with the exotic animals that live inthe zoo. The animals are quite rare: water buffalo, Chinese hens,coatis, raccoons, toucans, peacocks, ducks, macaws, turtles, monkeys,ostriches and alligators.
One of the most notorious inhabitants is a small toucan that is veryfond of people. He enjoys being photographed up close! We recommend,however, that no flashes are used when taking his picture.
There is also a petting zoo for the children.
This river flows through most of the park. Its waters are believed to heal, thus its name.
The river flows through the entryway of the Las Minas Cave. The current is calm and its sound, relaxing.
This is, without a doubt, one of the main and most visited attractions of the site.
The cave is unique because it is shaped like a cross.
Many visitors to Esquipulas come to the cave because they think theentryway is shaped like a cross. It is, however, the inside of thecave that is shaped in such fashion.
There are many different stories concerning the cave, but the mostcommon is that a group of miners started digging in order to obtainsilver for the Black Christ of Esquipulas. They dug to the left andthen to the right, to no avail. And that is why the cave was shapedlike a cross.
Several visitors of many backgrounds come to the place, includingIndian priests who carry out rites or prayer rituals, such as Teresaand Albertina, who head from Chichicastenango. They visit the cavetwice a year for worship, candle-lighting and a bonfire ritual thatinfuses the cave with pleasant-smelling smoke.
Some say that the Black Christ of Esquipulas miraculously appearedinside the cave. However, the cave was the place where sculptor QuirioCataño unveiled his magna opus, for which he signed a contract onAugust 29, 1594.
From Guatemala City, take the road to the Atlantic. When you get toEsquipulas, look for the fork on the road; the Basilica and downtownare to the left, the road to Honduras is to the right.
A few meters down you will see signals that will guide you to the park. Admission is Q10 for adults and Q5 for children.
The park is open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day.
You may spend the night if you secure a permit from management.
Text and pictures: Héctor Roldán