Because most of our group wouldn't arrive until the late morning or early afternoon, we -- including our guides Hugo Enriquez and Miguel Marin -- visited a nearby park, part of ongoing efforts to create a greenbelt: Parque Ecological Cayala (Cayala Ecological Park: Home to more than 80 bird species).
Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrushes repeatedly revealed themselves in the brush, and I became smitten with the demure birds with blazing orange legs and bills. After spending so many hours sitting in an airport and on a plane, it felt delicious to walk, smell the fresh morning air, continually look around at the plants and marvel at the birds, new (Bushy-crested Jay) and familiar (Great-tailed Grackle).
And in case we forgot the point of visiting the park, the helpful sign says "You want to listen to and observe animals."
Retracing our route from the airport, we stopped at an open-air market to await the rest of the group. The timing turned out perfectly, as the rain intensified while we sipped warm beverages and ogled the handicrafts.
We ate lunch at a restaurant at the market, and I tried hibiscus drink -- yum. The larger bus carrying the rest of our group arrived, and off we went for a four-hour drive to our hotel in Retalhuleu.
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