Lake Atitlan for the weekend

Published: April 25th 2011
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Volcano on the LakeVolcano on the LakeVolcano on the Lake

I love the cloud formation here
After a long week I decided I needed to get away for the weekend so Friday morning I bought a bus ticket (well a tourist shuttle in a comfy van for $10) to Panajachel.

Panajachel is the main city on the North shore of Lake Atitlan - a beautiful lake that sits in a volcanic crater. The lake is surrounded by 3 other volcanos and apparently there are some ruins at the bottom of the lake where some indigenous people lived before it was a lake.

Arriving late friday afternoon in the rain, I searched for an empty bed in any hotel I could find. Finally aftering visiting half a dozen full hotels (it was packed for Good Friday), I found a room for $15 at a crappy and noisy hotel. While it wasnt exactly comfy, I´ve had worse (cough, India...)

I ate dinner at a Uraguayan grill in town and ate a delicious steak and made friends with an Israeli couple sitting next to me. They had eaten at that same restaurant for dinner the past 2 nights and as they explained theres a saying in Israel that when you find a good horse, you dont trade it for another one. Can hardly blame them, the food was great.

A Day on the Lake
There are over a dozen villages around the lake, and the easiest way to get between them is by boat. I went on a boat tour of 3 of the larger villages - San Marcos, San Pedro, and Santiago.

San Marcos is one of the smallest villages there and is known for its yoga and meditation studios. It also ironically has 2 old ferris wheels and a merry-go-round that the local kids operate by hand. Aside from a bunch of goddamn hippies not much else to see here.

San Pedro is much bigger and is known for their Spanish schools, hiking, horseback riding, and other outdoorsy stuff. I will probably be spending a week or two here in May taking more Spanish classes as a change of scenery. Wonderful views of the lake, real cheap food, and a cool little community. I´ll definitely be back.

Santiago is probably the biggest town, maybe bigger than Panajachel. A huge tourist craft market right by the docks, a nice church up on the hill, and its the home of some Mayan mysticism.
A boat, a volcano, and IA boat, a volcano, and IA boat, a volcano, and I

Funny story about wearing my glasses (which i rarely do). When I checked into that dirty hotel Friday night I felt something in my eye and tried to adjust my contacts. Somehow my left contact tore into 3 pieces inside my eye. Got it out just fine but was stuck with glasses for the rest of the weekend.
We had 2 hours to tour aroud here, which I did with my friends for the day - 2 kids (1 Frenchie, 1 Austrialian) who were on spring break from college in Mexico City.

Japenese Hostel Saturday Night
So almost immediately after checking into my crappy hotel Friday night, I went to an internet cafe and found a hostel that had space for the next night. I book this place, Hotel El Sol, which is run by a Japense family here in Guatemala. It was far away from the center city but well worth it. I booked a dorm room for $7 a night and was amazed at how clean, neat, and just generally awesome it was. Free Wifi, Free water, Free coffee, hot water, comfy beds, no noise - best hostel ever.

I was joined by this Swiss girl Nicole who I met on the boat tour that afternoon, and we tooled around the town Saturday night, ate some cheap tacos, and marveled at what a find this was. Good Times.

Sunday morning I woke up and hopped a shuttle to the nearby town of Chichastenango (or commonly known as ´Chichi´) for their well known
Cutest girl in the worldCutest girl in the worldCutest girl in the world

sorry Ashley, but this girl was having a blast putting her hand in the water as the boat was speeding away
Sunday market. More coming on that later this week, I´ve been in this internet cafe long enough!

Lots of pictures here, the captions tell a bit more of the story

Additional photos below
Photos: 40, Displayed: 24


Breakfast in PanajachelBreakfast in Panajachel
Breakfast in Panajachel

Plato Tipico - for $2.50 (including tip)
Shores of PanajachelShores of Panajachel
Shores of Panajachel

Some locals swimming, notice no tourists...
San MarcosSan Marcos
San Marcos

2 old ferris wheels and a merry-go-round
San MarcosSan Marcos
San Marcos

I think this is some kind of political party statement. I dont know what they stand for but it looks cool...
San MarcosSan Marcos
San Marcos

this looks like a dried up drainage canal, must be for the rainy season
San PedroSan Pedro
San Pedro

Panorama shot at the dock
San PedroSan Pedro
San Pedro

The menu where I ate lunch - 3 tacos and a pepsi in a glass bottle all for $2. Gotta love 3rd world countries!
San PedroSan Pedro
San Pedro

The view from the restaurant with the $2 lunch

25th April 2011

Great pics
Hi David. Sounds and looks like a wonderful adventure. Keep in touch and enjoy your trip. Jim
25th April 2011

so glad you checked in - and looks like you're off to an awesome start can't wait to see more!
25th April 2011

Living the Dream!!!
Dave - loved the blog entry. A side of Guatemala I never knew existed!!

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