(Trying to) Escaping Hippies

Published: January 11th 2018
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After our dissappointingly small granola, fruit and yoghurt bowl for breaky from the hostel we had a smoothie to make things better then went to explore the town of San Pedro. Lake Atitlan has plenty of different towns around the edges, San Pedro, where we stay, is one of the biggest (apart from Panajachel) and most popular. The streets are completely lined with hippies selling their jewellery and locals their various crafts and creations but it didn’t take long, though up a ridiculously steep hill, to reach the local part of town. surprisingly, there were 200x more cops (well we were yet to see one in the tourist part). We got plenty of weird looks as to why we were there but it was quite interesting, though similar to Asia in the sense of badly built buildings and ridiculous power lines. Locals were great, in their beautiful handmade outfits balancing ridiculously big baskets of things on their heads. The market was full of local fruits, veggies, unidentifiables and raw meat/fish and weirdly opened out onto the most beautiful, well made, undercover basketball court I’ve ever seen. Priorities? After trying a few local places for lunch and being as equally disgusted in
all three we headed back to our part of town for some tacos for lunch. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think we were still in Mexico. It’s actually been impossible to find some local food. What even is local food? Good question!

A boat took us to San Marcos, the second biggest town on the lake, with some sort of ‘magnet’ that draws all of the hippies. Simone and I were intrigued, San Pedro already has so many bloody hippies that we struggled to imagine any more. Oh my God. We got off the boat and were greeted with a 300m tourist-trap street, with nowhere to go except keep going up. The sides were full with hair braiding, jewellery, weed, meditation, people trying to sign us up for meditation and reiki and all sorts of random crap. At the end of the street we were completely over this place already. We’d proven that yes, there were more hippies here and were no longer interested. But we’d come this far. With literally nothing to do here, we took a path back down to the lake in an attempt to see the view and take some photos, but the
jetty was full of sun baking hippies and we were feeling completely and utterly out of place…. Like we weren’t already? Our maps showed there was a viewpoint a bit further along but that proved to be very expensive so back on the boat we got. Cya never San Marcos. Our Swiss friends were going to a club with two Americans from last night in Jubilitos, which we were debating going to and luckily didn’t because it looked shit. We stayed on the boat until Santa Cruz, another of the big towns.

We had been told it was 15Q to get there, but when we went to pay the guy was counting money, then getting some from his shirt pocket, putting some in his pocket, confusing us both but it was only after he handed us our change and then ran as fast as he could back onto the boat that we knew we’d been screwed over. In the end we were charged 25Q each, $2 more. Not a lot but enough to put us in a bitter mood. Making matters worse to get to town we had to climb the biggest bloody hill that just seemed to keep
going. At the back of our minds the whole time was that this wasn’t even 1/100th of the way the volcano would be. fml. The town seemed kinda dead which was even further disappointment. We found one restaurant, offering lasagne and pizza, not something Simone was prepared to eat! And even just a cookie was like $6. Luckily, we ended up running into our friends, apparently the club was closed, but they were told about somewhere here and were trying to find it. We found it with the map but it meant going all the way back down the hill then doing a bit of off-roading. The cafe was right on the lake which was perfect but it was priced as if it was too and owned by a UK family which kinda sucks. I ordered an ice-tea, the second cheapest thing, and despite taking 10 minutes to come was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever been presented and borderline undrinkable. Definitely unfinishable. Getting back to the boat meant going along crappy planks put against the side of the town, over the lake for 400m, of varying qualities, but none safe enough to allow my heart a break. Dinner was
a taco with a weird Aussie guy who agreed to come with us, told us to wait one second, then we found him talking to someone else, but then came half way though and left early. weird.

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