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Daytripper: Cool Trips. Close by.

Daytripper is XelaWho’s regular monthly series on day trips within easy reach of Xela. This month’s article is called: Get Hot, Get Sweaty, Cool Off by Going Swimming in Retalhuleu.

By James Gray

I am one who loves hot, tropical weather. Give me a day between 85 and 95 degrees F. (doh, norteamericano handicap…make that 25 to 35 degrees C.) or a balmy night, and I am near to naked and happy as a clam.

Given this penchant for heat, it’s a wonder I live in Xela. But, weather isn’t everything, and Xela rocks in so many other ways, so I will just have to deal. One of those reasons for Xela’s ‘rock factor’ is its close proximity to the whole tropical thing – the heat, the vibe, the music, the scantily clothed members of your preferred gender. 

You can find it all this in Retalhuleu, or Reu, just down the mountain from Xela. Reu is no Xela, but it has enough to be worthy of a Daytripper article in XelaWho. This article focuses on one attraction, a fantastic place to go swimming, Hotel y Turicentro “El Jilguero”.

El Jilguero is a hotel that welcomes outside visitors to its impressive pool complex. A Q15 entry fee gives you access to two large swimming pools, a kiddy pool, billiards and ping pong. Dressing rooms and showers are on-site. The pools are flanked by tropical foliage and there are plenty of tables and lounge chairs.

The most hilarious aspect of El Jilguero is the two giant concrete slides that would never pass inspection but are a blast nonetheless. One slide is super slow, leaving you to push yourself downhill. The other has you gather up blazing velocity and then whips you around a neck-breaking curve. Zoom! Aighh! Splash!

When taking a break from your swimming activities, you can order a variety of food and drinks from El Jilguero’s restaurant. Beware of the pushy service.

Finally, the decent hotel rooms with A/C run Q150 per night for a single and Q200 for a double.

Here is how to get to El Jilguero. First, get on a 2nd class chicken bus bound for the Reu. This you can do from the Minerva Terminal or from Las Rosas junction in the NE corner of Xela. (See our chicken-bus guide for more details.) The trip will take just over an hour.

El Jilguero is located on 3a Avenida Zona 6, just off the main thoroughfare that comes into town, called Calzada de las Palmas. True to its name it has lots of palms lining both sides. Your bus can drop you off here and you can walk a few blocks to El Jilguero. There is a large sign for it on the main drag.

The trip is highly recommended because el agua es bien rica y refrescante at El Jilguero!

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