Blogs from Panajachel, Western Highlands, Guatemala, Central America Caribbean


Our Arrival The bus stops opposite the tourist information office on Calle Principal in the town. You can walk to your accomodation from there. Where We Stayed Hospedaje Zulema - on Calle Rancho Grande near Calle 14 De Febrero opposite Hotel Jere. Q100 for a double room with shared bathroom. Good wifi and a bit of a balcony. What We Did The weather was very overcast whilst we were here with limited views of the volcano on the lake. Therefore we didn't do any boat trips just walked around town and did a bit of shopping. Where We Ate At the lake end of Calle Rancho Grande are food stalls with your usual chicken and tortillas etc for Q12. At night food stalls set up down Calle Santander. We had ate in the market for Q16 ... read more

This morning I woke up around 7:30am with enough time to shower and grab breakfast before one of my roommates and I headed out to walk around Panajachel to do last minute souvenir buying. Admittedly until this morning I hadn’t bought any souvenirs, I had bought one small shot glass that had Guatemala written on it, but that’s about it so I wanted to actually buy something. After walking around for a little bit I found a wool blanket that had the quetzal bird (bird of Guatemala) all over it and since was a much better price than a blanket I had looked at a couple days ago I bought it. My roommate and another volunteer that was with us wanted to buy a chess set made from stone so they headed back to the store ... read more

This morning I woke up before my alarm and even though I wanted to go back to sleep for a few more hours I managed to drag my butt out of bed to take a shower, which ended up being my first cold shower here in Guatemala. I was definitely awake after that shower! I headed down early to eat breakfast and soon after we headed to our very last clinic day! I can’t believe it’s almost over! I was very surprised but we actually didn’t have a lot of patients today so we got to hang out with the kids most of the day. One of the volunteer’s was not feeling good so I spent most of my free time with her, one of the little girls I met yesterday remembered me so she came ... read more

This morning I woke up to lights!! Yay. I’m so happy to see sunlight and have electricity that I don’t even mind the lack of sleep. I head downstairs to have breakfast and soon after we load up the buses and head to our second last clinic day! (tear) It was a super exciting clinic day because the community we were in (Santa Maria El Tablon) was the community that has the highest percentage of people that speak Kakchiquel so for most of the day each group had two interpreters. One of the patients that my group definitely got to me and made me cry; he was 15 years old and came in because of some stomach pains but when we were asking him all the questions to figure out what it could be nothing was ... read more

This morning we started a little later than usual… well I was supposed to. I had my alarm set for 7 o’clock because we were leaving by 9:30am but I woke up at my usual 6:30am. After shaving my legs and trying to find a bathing suit I headed downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast was the usual beans, eggs, tortillas, tea and fruit; it was nice to be able to eat normally as my stomach was feeling much better this morning. After breakfast one of my roommates and I went for a quick walk around the street before heading back to the hotel to meet with everyone else. As per usual, we didn’t leave at exactly 9:30, c’mon now, we’re all running on Guatemalan time. We eventually made our way down to the lake and were lead ... read more

This morning I woke up before my alarm (again), but wasn’t overly exhausted so I got ready and headed down for breakfast early. My stomach is still feeling off but I ate breakfast anyways; fruit (papaya, watermelon), tortillas, plantains, little bit of beans, and chamomile tea. I could live off of fruit, tortillas, plantains and tea. Slowly everyone made it down to breakfast and then we got onto the bus and headed to our last clinic day in San Jorge La Laguna. Today we didn’t get any super interesting cases but the group I was in saw 13 patients throughout the day which is awesome; we also got the diagnosis completely right on 4 patients!! Is anyone sick? Don’t worry, I’m almost a doctor, I’ve got this ;) At lunch I decided to venture out and ... read more

Today we were at San Jorge la Laguna and it was one of our busiest clinic days we’ve had so far! Today was also the first day that we needed two translators, one translator to go from kakchiquel to Spanish, and another to go from Spanish to English. It was so cool to hear kakchiquel spoken, and by the end of the day I was able to pick up on a couple of words. The clinic was a short walk from the water which only made me want to head to the lake that much more! My stomach was a little better today but I still didn’t want to chance it so at lunch I decided to not eat the meat and instead just eat rice, tortillas, vegetables and Jamaica juice. We didn’t have any notable ... read more

I got up early to try breakfast at one of the restaurants in Panajachel. I had the most delicious pancakes with some fruit. Panajachel has lots of nice eating places, bars and street food. It’s definitely a good place to stay if you want to see Lake Atitlan. After breakfast, the whole group got together and we went on this speed boat and crossed Lake Atitlan to visit a small popular village called San Juan, this was a great experience when travelling over the lake, as you get to see the volcano/mountain scenery and local people collecting pond weed from their boats. Once we got to the other side of the lake, we were greeted by a local tour guide who showed us around San Juan. We first visited an art shop where they had loads ... read more
Men collecting pond weed
Me with Lake Atitlan
Equipment used for cotton

Geo: 14.73, -91.15Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but tortillas are best served hot! That's perhaps the best guide book quote ever, and it's a statement that only begins to hint at the importance of corn tortillas to the Guatemalan kitchen. Seen on the table during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a meal simply would be a meal in this country if there weren't any fresh, warm tortillas.We've only had fresh corn tortillas a few times before back in Calgary but weren't fans, despite foodies raving about the varieties made by local Latin markets. Dry, bland, and crumbly, they made better coasters than accompaniments to a meal. But here in Guatemala, you can find some pretty fine tortillas, usually hand made and arriving at your table fresh off the grill. Every meal is like Christmas, ... read more
Famous Tuk Tuks of Atitlan
View From the Hotel
Intricate Craftsmanship of the Region

The last time I visited to Panajachel (2005), I only saw a tourist trap. Booth after booth with tourist kitsch for sale with jacked up prices line the streets. Many of the items are made in China. This time I stayed with my friend Maria who has a house in Panajachel, but also lives in Texas. We flew down to Guatemala together and she invited me to visit her in Pana. Maria is originally from Guatemala, and even in the States dresses in traditional Mayan clothing. This was a wonderful chance to see her on her own turf and I got to see Panajachel from Maria’s point of view and it totally changed my experience of the town. She has a nice house with a gorgeous garden and a breathtaking view from her roof. Just hanging ... read more
View from Maria's Roof
View from Maria's Roof
Maria and I out to eat

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