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Lago Atitlan - San Pedro la Laguna

Arriving to the lake, boat trip and San Pedro la Laguna. Some words about Aqua Caliente.

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View CENTRAL AMERICA: Guatemala-Honduras-Nicaragua 2005 & ISRAEL - all around on vanessa's travel map.

31/01, early Monday morning, we left Antigua by "colectivo" (shuttle/minibus). The road was busy with lorries and our minibus was a turtle-slow. We entertained ourselves with watching landscapes through the window and Guatemalan landscape is never disappointing.

Finally we arrived PANAJATEL (Pana). Pana is a small town on the Lake Atitlan’s shore.
It’s traffic junction and not much more to say about.
From there we continued by lancha (boat) to another lake-village where planned to stay for a while.

:):):):) LAGO ATITLAN (Lake Atitlan) was created as a result of volcanic activity. It’s recognised as the deepest lake in Central America - about 240m depths. Water is clean and cold. Around the lake there are some volcanoes covered with clouds and about 13 villages where people of Maya still manage after hundreds-years-old-traditions.
The word "atitlan" is a Mayan word that translates as "the place where the rainbow gets its colors".

To tell that Lago Atitlan is beautiful – is tell nothing about.
I put some tiny photos below in hope that it’d illustrate it a bit, but for feeling how fabulous it is – just need be there.

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I loved to wake at sunrise and with cup of flavoring coffee watch how sun is coming from mountains.

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Lancha got us to the opposite side of the lake, to village that called San Pedro.

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SAN PEDRO LA LAGUNA

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:):):) SAN PEDRO is peaceful village that climbing up from the shore.
It's known for it's Spanish schools and hippy communities, variety of sport activities (swimming and kayaking, riding horse, hiking, etc) and mostly for welcoming and relax atmosphere. Village’s location allows good connection (by water) with other lake-villages and great choice of daily-trips around the lake. The village is so simple and so charming that everyone feels there at home.

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"Center" of San Pedro is pretty and alive, there are market, some churches and even kind of "clubbing" is avaliable. “Suburbs” look alike each other poor neighborhood around the world: small and partly destroyed houses, kids playing in the dust and lot of homeless dogs, unfortunately often injured.

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The village is full with wild life: big orange butterflies; friendly dogs; melancholic cows, lying in the dust; turkeys; singing birds, horses and etc. The Lake definatelly plays the biggest role in the life of village.

Most of Spanish Schools are located at the lakeshore. There are lovely combination of studies and living with local families, sharing with them space, food and time. Many muchileros (backpackers) stay there for weeks and for months because of cozy atmosphere and language practicing. Spanish – at least basic skills, is pretty must in this area.
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ACCOMMODATION in San Pedro

We lodged in a small family-run hotel named :):) San Francisco that offered basic and clean rooms, promised mystic aqua caliente and , the most important had a oven for coffee-making in the small yard that spotted on the lake. 35Q (5$)/night/room, 10 mins by feet from/to the dock and 5 from/to another one (there are two docks in San Pedro, serving different destinations)

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San Francisco (hotel)

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AQUA CALIENTE (hot water)

Hot water is an issue for Central America travelers.
Seems natives don’t feel the need in it.
Not being snobbish we found a bit complicated to get cold shower,
in the mountains evenings were pretty chilling.
On this pic below you see Guatemalan “warmer” that supposed to produce aqua caliente (hot water).
The main idea is: 2 (naked) wires enter into the jar – one with “plus” and another with “minus”,
in composition making some electricity. Jar fills with running water and it supposed to come warmer at the exit.

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Well… here are bad news – it doesn’t heat (not to the level that someone could take a shower)
and good news – no one was injured with electricity (at least no known facts).

We found our way to stay clean and survive Spartan conditions
and I have pleasure to share it with those of you who plans Central American budget trip:

:) TIP:
Folks, take a shower a while before evening begins – let’s say 4PM.
Not much chances you’ll get dirty at the evening, and at (sunny) day-time Aqua Caliente is not a big deal!

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FOOD:
Restaurants are such inexpensive, that self-catering is no reasonable. We tried some and chose our best – “Dos Lunas” (Two Moons). Restaurant serves comida coriente (= local food) – plain, but clean & cheap (about a ½ of price from Antigua).
The meal for two cost us 60Q (less then 10$)
Plate of tacos 10Q
Meat (chicken) + rice + pasta 35Q
Goodness lemonade 5Q

:) TIP:
Don’t miss fresh- squeezed orange juice and UNBELIVERABLE BANANA-BREAD! There is variety of home- made delicious “breads” (cakes actually): chocolate bread, coconut bread and others. But nothing to compare to fabulous, aromatic, smooth and heavy banana-bread in big backets that sold by women
:) :) :) :) Banana Pan (Bread) Q5
:) :) :) Local Coffee Q8
:) Tacos and Comida Coriente in "Dos Lunas"

Posted by vanessa 11:00 Archived in Guatemala Tagged backpacking

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