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“Must go when in Rio Dulce!”

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The Round House Hostel
Ranked #2 of 11 Livingston B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 16, 2014 via mobile

My girlfriend and I stayed at the Round House while visiting Guatemala and it was an amazing experience. When we first arrived at the Rio Dulce dock, Chris was already waiting for us with his boat to drive us to the hostel. Once we arrived at the hostel, we immediately fell in love with this place. Their private dock with floating tubes right on the river was perfect place to enjoy our vacation. Family style dinner was never a disappointment and their homemade sausage sandwich was the best!

You can rent out kayaks to explore the river; go check out the waterfall and hot springs! they let you kayak to livingston and they take your personal belongings on their boat which will be waiting for you once you get to livingston!

Staff is amazing! It's a great getaway! Private rooms are comfortable and they have the dorms upstairs!

Definitely a place to stay when in Rio Dulce!

Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
Thank Sean P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rashels, Gerente at The Round House Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded March 11, 2017

Thank you very much for taking us into account in your trip we hope you have enjoyed it and we are very happy with your comment we try to do our best

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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51 - 57 of 120 reviews

Reviewed January 6, 2014

Based on a recommendation (thanks Stuart at Casa Nostra restaurant in Livingston) and a quick glance at TA I made arrangements for a night visit to the jungle lodge on the Rio Dulce. Chris, the proprietor met me at my hotel and with a fellow traveler we boarded his panga and headed upriver. A nights say ended up as three nights. This is a remarkable spot to relax or take in the variety of activities. There’s plenty of room to join in at the bar or find solitude. Above the bar/kitchen/dining area are three private rooms, a community area. The spacious dorm room is on the third level. My stay was in a private room but I would have been comfortable in the large dorm area. The toilet and shower building was just up the hill. The entire complex was spotless. Delightful variety of guest and bar patrons.
Congrats to Chris and Danni who have crafted/carved out of the jungle a lodging spot like no other. The recent posts speak to their hospitality, commitment and continual hard work. I will not repeat the praises written by others but must say GREAT food and dam good home-brew beer.
Ps – In the entire three days I only saw a couple of bugs and left with no bug bits. I never used the bug netting hanging above the bed.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank paulsmith77565
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rashels, Gerente at The Round House Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded March 11, 2017

Thank you very much for taking us into account in your trip we hope you have enjoyed it and we are very happy with your comment we try to do our best

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2014

This was the first hostel that I stayed in during my 3 week trip in Guatemala.

I was a bit worried because this was my first hostel stay and I solely decided to stay because of a random reference I received on a travel forum. I was also second guessing my decision to commit 5 nights to a hostel that I didn't know anything about. (I was such a newbie, that I didn't even bother to look at reviews on trip advisor)

However, when I arrived here, all my worries melted away. Chris and Dani were the nicest host I could've possibly asked for. They were knowledgeable and always around to answer any questions, they were so easy to talk to, they were helpful in me getting acclimated to a new environment alone. Their easygoing nature made myself and all the other guests forget about whatever worries we might have had.

The boat ride on Rio Dulce to arrive to the hostel was beautiful and being away from everything made for the long stay that much enjoyable. Swimming in the river, kayaking to the natural hot springs, reading a great novel in the hammock, and watching for a manatee in the river were just some things I got to do during my stay.

This hostel doesn't have wifi and that might be a deal breaker for some, but personally, I loved the fact that they didn't have wifi. It forced me to pay attention and enjoy the now, not what is going on thousands of miles away back home in the states. If I needed to use internet, Dani had a laptop that anyone could use.

Also, their food.... The family style dinner with everyone made dinner so enjoyable. Having delicious freshly prepared food doesn't hurt either.

To Chris & Dani, I want to thank you for making my stay so memorable. I hope that everyone will get to enjoy this place as much as I did.

P.s. Bring a good book or two!

Stayed: December 2013, traveled solo
Thank Brian J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rashels, Gerente at The Round House Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded March 11, 2017

Thank you very much for taking us into account in your trip we hope you have enjoyed it and we are very happy with your comment we try to do our best

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2014

I went with my girlfriend a few months back.

We got picked up in Livingstone by Chris, the owner - and the hilarity ensued. This guy is a legend, and he runs his establishment with Dani amazingly. We were going to stay for one day, ended up staying a week.

Cheap food - family style dinner - and delicious. All homemade and locally inspired. They make their own bread. And they have this delicious Tiger Sauce - it blew my mind.

The Place is unbelievable. 2 Story, Literally Round, House - it's a lodge in the middle of the jungle, solar powered. Great showers, great toilets and Chris is a master craftsmen building new additions all the time. We stayed in the private rooms which were quite fantastic - large and the beds were great.

The scenery here is unlike anywhere I've seen so far - the Roundhouse sits on the Rio Dulce, and has a dock with kayaks and canoes available to roam around the river. My girlfriend and I went for a long paddlin' through the river and ended up at this glorious sulfur hot springs, located next to a series of caves.

The best part about this was Dani and Chris. They were fantastic hosts, inspiring us with their worldly stories and outlooks on life. It was the best conversation of our month long trip.

All in all, this place can't even get rated with numbers, because they won't do it justice. If you're going to Guatemala go to the Roundhouse.

Room Tip: Private rooms are sweet. Dorms are wide and spread apart.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Sandro_Pehar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rashels, Gerente at The Round House Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded March 11, 2017

Thank you very much for taking us into account in your trip we hope you have enjoyed it and we are very happy with your comment we try to do our best

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2014

First off, let me preface this review by saying that I am a complete jerk for waiting a whole three months to review this wonderful place. I probably deserve to be banned for life (but please don't - I don't think I could survive without this place and these people in my life!). It has become my happy place where I go in my mind when the Canadian winter just becomes toooo much.

We arrived at the Round House with the intention of staying one night before continuing on to Guatemala City. Before we knew it, "just one more day" turned into more than a week! Staying here was by far the highlight of our time in Guatemala, and we are now in the process of planning a return trip exclusively for the purpose of spending more time in this paradise.

The minute you step off the boat, you know you are in a special place. The gardens on the property are absolutely spectacular, and the buildings are truly incredible. It is immediately apparent that a lot of love, care, and attention to detail went into the construction of the Round House - the beautiful woodwork will astound you every morning when you wake (to the songs of birds and insects, of course). The beds are comfortable, the rooms clean, and the common areas perfect for lounging around and talking with fellow travelers, the awesome owners, and the steady stream of locals and expats who stop in for a beer and some conversation. And the bathrooms, the bathrooms! I haven't seen better in a hostel/guesthouse. After years of traveling I've become accustomed to run-down cement shower stalls, so it was a lovely surprise to find shared bathroom/shower facilities that were clean, well-maintained, and comfortable.

The atmosphere at the Round House is unique and special. It is hard to describe, really. It manages to be relaxing and peaceful without the stuffiness of some "retreat" hotels, while at the same time being a fun, laid-back, social place without the traditional fall-down-the-stairs-and-puke-on-your-bunk type of environment found at a lot of "party" hostels. If you're an adventurous and social traveler who loves a good beer, good conversation, and a beautiful setting, then this is your mecca. If you're really lucky, Chris will have some of his excellent home-brews on hand for your visit - if he doesn't drink them all before they reach maturity, that is! (One of these days, Chris, one of these days).

By far the highlight of our visit was the atmosphere that the wonderful owners Dani and Chris have cultivated. Their kindness and hospitality will make your trip! From the day we arrived we felt less like guests and more like we were visiting good friends. Chris and Dani are well liked and respected in the Rio Dulce community, as evidenced by the steady stream of friends who pop by for a beer and some smiles. They're a great source of local knowledge/information on the river, and are the kind of people you could sit and chat with all day (which we did). Lots of laughs, great conversation, Bob Dylan sing-alongs, and hilariously intense poker games were had by all!

If you're in the Rio Dulce/Livingston area, do yourself a favor and stop by the Round House. Even if you don't spend the night, swing by for a beer and one of their yummy sandwiches! You won't regret it.

Thanks for everything, Chris and Dani. Looking forward to seeing you guys again someday!

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Joni S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rashels, Gerente at The Round House Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded March 11, 2017

Many thanks for such good comments we hope your visit again

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 23, 2013

The magic of Round House results from three intersecting factors:

1. A lodge on a jungle river "highway". A beautiful, rich jungle with a lodge embedded in it.

2. A dock and platform over the river where you arrive and leave from, but you also where you lounge for hours (or days in our case) in hammocks, watching life float by, the sun glistening, and people come and go. A front porch of sorts...an amazing river front porch.

3. Danni and Chris, wonderful hosts who really make their guests feel welcome and cared for. (Thank you guys!)

Put all three together and you haver river magic!

+'s:

~ amazing authentic river experience. In this world of sterile and plastic travel, this is the real deal.
~ kayaking just a little upstream to a lovely hot spring, huge iguanas, caves, and mangrove inlets you can explore.
~ great food
~ very modestly priced
~ the company of other travellers
~ Danni and Chris
~ a very easy-going, relaxed, and friendly atmosphere

-'s:

~ quite rustic. This is a natural jungle lodge, not a hotel. The price reflects this, but be clear on your expectations of facilities before you come.
~ the same very relaxed and open culture that helps makes the experience lovely means late nights and lots of socializing. This is not a quiet nature retreat. Again, be clear on your expectations.

Special Tip:

Spend time in the hammocks at the dock in the early morning and at sunset. LOVELY!

Thanks, Danni and Chris, for your wonderful hospitality!

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank PaulKurucz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rashels, Gerente at The Round House Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded March 11, 2017

Many thanks for such good comments we hope your visit again

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2013 via mobile

My boyfriend an I spent two nights in this relaxing and beautiful place and enjoyed every second! We stayed in a nice clean private room for only 110q. All the food, especially the family style dinner was amazing and in a very reasonable price! They make their own bread and home brewed beer which you've got to taste!! The atmosphere is amazing and very welcoming and Chris & Dani are the best hosts we've met so far. We went on a two hours hike in the rainforest behind the place with Jose which was very informative and nice, plus we rented a kayak for the whole day and paddled to the hot springs and the tiger cave just 30 min. away. We highly recommend it to everyone!!

Stayed: December 2013
1  Thank Noa N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rashels, Gerente at The Round House Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded March 11, 2017

Many thanks for such good comments we hope your visit again

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Round House Hostel

Address: | Aldea Piedra Pintada, Livingston, Rio Dulce 18002, Guatemala
Location: Guatemala > Izabal Department > Rio Dulce > Livingston
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 11 B&Bs / Inns in Livingston
Price Range: $5 - $15 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Roundhouse is a social place with family-style dinners. We're located right on the beautiful Rio Dulce in the rain forest. The canyon, caves and hot springs are all nearby. Swim, hike, kayak, sunbathe or just take a hammock and watch the river life. We've got a great book exchange and enough hammocks to read. Or if you're up for a drink: there is also a well-stocked (Tequila!) bar. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Round House Hostel Guatemala/Livingston

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