It had been a looooong time since we went to a proper waterpark, perhaps not since Arthur and Theo were little in the UK. Valle Dorado Hotel and Waterpark was conveniently situated about half-way between the Rio and our first planned stop of a campsite on the slopes of the Volcano Acatenango, so we decided to spend 3 nights there at the start of our trip.
We’ll get this over with fast- there were some aspects of the stay that were a bit disappointing- the included breakfast only applied to 2 people, for no obvious reason, and they tried to charge us more than the online price (both issues were fixed by the travel website we used)- but more annoying was that, because of a lack of visitors due to COVID, they were running a very limited restaurant menu and had decided to only open the waterpark for three days each week. The site itself had many activities available to hotel guests outside of the waterpark (which also offers day passes), including playground equipment, mini-golf and pools with small slides, but we were only able to use the main waterpark (included in the price) for 1.5 days of the stay.
On the plus side, we REALLY made the most of our full day! The waterpark has a great selection of slides, from some smaller, sedate ones great for Hector to use independently, some middle level slides, and two longer, faster slides that our kids were technically too short and young for. Luckily, the lifeguards had seen them swimming elsewhere on the previous days (when the waterpark was closed) and decided they could both use one of the larger slides, and Arthur could use the biggest- Kamikazee. With a short downward section before the main, almost vertical drop, this was not for the faint-hearted. Arthur scaled the tower with us, sat at the slide’s top, and was down before we could finish checking he felt safe. I, on the other hand, started shimmying down the first part, then half-heartedly tried to claw my way up before realizing it was impossible. Needlss to say, I did not want another go, and although Arthur was proud he did it, he didn’t try it again. But now, both he and Theo want to revisit the park to tackle Kamikazee!
So we spent a day going down various slides, Hector sitting on mine or Dave’s lap for many of the larger ones, as well as floating in large inflatables rings around the lazy river, or in Theo’s case running with the ring around his head, and playing on the water playground. Before dinner, the boys hunted for enormous toads that swam in the pools.
We spent the early part of our last morning in the waterpark, but just as we had packed up the car and were ready to leave, Arthur was really sick and developed a high temperature. We had checked out of the hotel, but they (begrudgingly) let us use the room to get him and the car cleaned up, and allow him to rest. We knew we wouldn’t make it to the campsite we had booked for 4 nights- it was too long a drive and we didn’t want to be somewhere too remote if Arthur was sick- so we decided to make an extra stop part way, in Guatemala City, for a night or two so he could recover.