Fuentes Georginas Reopens!
One of the Western Highlands’ most famous tourist attractions has officially reopened after being wiped out in last years’ Tropical Storm Agatha. XelaWho talked to Managing Director Siverio Zum about what happened and how they fixed it.
XelaWho: So what happened?
Silverio Zum: It was a mess. If you know the site, you’ll know that a large mountain overlooks it. Basically a chunk of that mountain slid off and buried everything in mud.
XW: Even so – reconstruction took 9 months. Seems like a long time.
SZ: The problem was exacerbated by the fact that we couldn’t get machinery in there – the whole place had to be dug out by hand.
XW: Did you change the design?
SZ: We made lots of changes. We had to rebuild alot, so we moved the changing rooms and bathrooms, redid the restaurant, rebuilt alot of the pool surrounds. It’s pretty much all new.
XW: What are the biggest changes?
SZ: We built a new pool – it’s about 10 minutes walk from the main site, nestled in the mountainside by a waterfall. You feel alot closer to nature out there.
XW: You did some work on the bungalows too?
SZ: We took the opportunity to remodel the bungalows. Amongst other things, we put in tubs fed by the thermal water, like natural jacuzzis.
XW: When’s the best time to go to avoid the crowds?
SZ: Midweek, definitely. Monday to Friday we get 25 visitors a day. Weekends that number goes up to 100. Before midday is best, too – the fog appears in the afternoon and blocks the views.
Fuentes Georginas Timeline
1902: Thermal spring at current site discovered by Zunil locals.
1932: Site comes to government attention while constructing road from Xela to the coast.
1934: Site frequented by then-President Jorge Ubico. Name changed to Fuentes Georginas in honor of Ubico’s wife.
1960’s: A donation from Germany to the Catholic church of Zunil allows facilities to be upgraded. Bungalows are built and the main pool areas are renovated.
1998: Finally seeing the site’s importance as a tourist attraction, the federal government paves the access road to the Fuentes.
1998: Hurricane Mitch wipes out the newly paved road and mudslides cause major damage to the site, including carrying off the emblematic Greek goddess statue.
2005: Hurricane Stan again buries the site in mudslides.
2010: Tropical Storm Agatha causes the greatest damage so far, burying the entire site, destroying the access road and requiring 9 months of reconstruction work.