Lago Atitlán & Chichicastenango
Driving in the shuttlebus in hot weather up and down the mountain and tight turns did not help on my hangover from my last night in Antigua. Going anywhere in Guatemala is very time consuming because of the mountainous landscape, so it took a good 4 hours for the shuttle to reach Panajachel. From Pana the only way to get to San Pedro which would be my destination for the day, was to take one of the lanchas (small but long boats). The waves on the lake was present so it was a good 45 min bumpy ride before we got there.
Lago atitlan is a giant lake which is actually the crater of a super volcano that exploded around 85.000 years ago. The lake is surrounded by volcanoes and mountains, small towns occupy the lakeside and grows op the mountainsides. San Pedro is one of the bigger towns, and has the reputation to be the “party place”. I stayed a “Mr. Mullets hostel” which I had been recommended. I had a private room which had the scarcest decor I have seen in a long time, a bed, a plastic chair, and a mirror which wasn’t even put up on the wall. I arrived with some other guys and we had lunch at a taco place near the hostel, it was alright but I longed for the Mexican ones. The bar and common area were equipped with dart and a pool table so we hung out there for a while. At night we went to a place called “Sublime” which was a big bar with a disco, a campfire by the water and a lounge area. All tired from the day before we sat by the fire till one of the other guys fell asleep and went back.
In the morning I met Kendra and Eli two Americans I met in Mexico, we all went to San Marcos another town on the other side of the lake. San Marcos is full of hippies, and has that reputation around the lake. We had a look around and saw various curious specimens, on our way to a natural reserve where there was 7 m jump into the lake. Afterwards we headed for town for some lunch. We an old man who offered us a smiling walking tour “when you smile people smile back, you spread happiness and love”, I thought he might need to cut back on the weed for while. On the boat ride the day before I lost my beloved Fjällräven fleece and the nights at the lake was “cold”, so I walked around on the steep roads of the town to find a new sweater. Among all the colourful Mayan clothing I found a shop selling false sport brand clothing, so I got myself a fake Adidas sweater.
At night I had Indian food with Kendra and Eli and then headed for a hip hop night at “Zoola” hostal. At lago atitlan the bars close at 23.00 and there can’t be any music or noise after that. Luckily I had a bottle of tequila and cigars, so we hung out at the harbour until 3.30 in the morning. The next day I felt a list slow and moved towards the hammock after breakfast, I was moving to another place at Santa Cruz the “Free Cerveza” hostal. I eventually managed to drag myself down to the boat and then to the hostel.
The hostel was beautifully located with its own dock and location right by the lake, the accommodation was in tents, and the toilets was a hole in the ground. Between 17-19 there was free beers if you signed up for the three meal course at 20. I relaxed all day in the sun with a book, and enjoyed a swim and the beautiful view, I had an easy night. The next day I went for a walk up the mountain when I reached the end of the road, I found a infrequently used path and headed on. I climbed several meters more up on the path and almost fell a couple of times. I realised that no one would ever find me if I took a tumble down the mountain so I eventually decided to go back to town and get a nice local lunch with an AMAZING view!
On the next day I packed my things and went to Chichicastenango which is one of the biggest artisanal markets in Central America. I went with four Dutch girls and considered myself a lucky guy. We shopped a few things at the market and looked around for several hours, everything was up for bargaining. In the afternoon we parted ways as they went back to the lake and myself to Antigua.
Thanks to Jantien for some of the pictures.
I had three relaxing days in Antigua at the Maya Papaya hostel which I stayed previously. I hung out in the sun, read books, wrote on posts for the blog. And went out for some sights I hadn’t seen on my previous visit. At this point on my travels I felt the wear and tear of all the places, experiences and people I had met, I felt fed up. I was supposed to go see “Tikal” and “Semuc Champey” which was on the way north to Tikal, it would be a 11 hour drive and then another 11 hours from there to Tikal for then to go back to Guatemala City. At this point I didn’t give a damn about the temple in Tikal or the waterfall in Semuc, so I decided to book the ticket for Cartagena, Colombia instead. Arriving late at the airport because the collective had to go around town to pick up people for a hour (passing my hostel three times) I hurried in to check in my bag and was met with a blank response of the airline not allowing me to get in to Colombia without an exit ticket. I had no WiFi, and no time, eventually I found some WiFi and tried to book a cheap bus to Peru but the website kept failing.. in the end I had to book a flight and got one for Bogotá to Cancun. Stressed but past security I was ready for my next adventures in Colombia!
Bye and thanks for now beautiful Guatemala!