Central America Guatemala

Guatemala, Day 8: Lake Atitlan!

It was time to make a quick plan, after having a quick breakfast, I rushed to the first tourism agency and asked what I could possibly visit. Volcano visit?… No! I have done that already! Paddling surf?… No! I have done that in different countries and I don’t to end up like these British people with a mutated back! Diving?… No! If it was in the sea or the ocean, that would be interesting, here it’s just a lake. Paragliding?… Yes! But the weather conditions are not good for the next few days! Too much wind! Kayaking… No! I’ve done that already in Costa Rica! Visiting the Indian Peak at Dawn?… Yes! It’s supposed to be a beautiful sunlight panorama, like the one I saw on Acatanengo! And it’s only $25, so Hell, yes! As for the rest, the lady advised me to visit the Lake villages with the taxi boat! So, I was thinking, how about visiting these places for the whole day and then, the next day I would go to the Indian Peak early morning and in the afternoon I would take the road again to go all the way up to Flores and visit the Maya Temples in North Guatemala, once done I will step-by-step go all the way down back to Guatemala City and take off!

 

I went to the public shuttle boat to go to San Marco, a well-reputed place for its botanical garden, its open-restaurants by the lake and its local hand-made cloths. I went first to the botanical garden, although it was morning and it was already very hot (something like 32 degrees Celsius), the dense forest in the botanical garden provided a fresh natural shelter, keeping the heat away. There was even a 7-meter-high diving board from which the kids were jumping from but I didn’t because I had lots of cash and my bank cards in my wallet and I didn’t want anyone to steal it! The botanical garden was on a kind of small island and a massive rock was dominating this small island. So I decided to go all the way up and check the panorama! It was quite an exhausting adventure but it was worth it! I came all the way down and wandered around in the city, apart from the Church, there was not much to do… I even remembered a local saying that the Atitlan Lake villages were pretty much the same apart from Panajachel, though I decided to visit them one by one. On my way to the port, I met the 2 Indian American people with whom I climbed the Acatanengo volcanoes. We had a few words, they went on lunch in a soda bar and I took the boat to Santa Cruz La Laguna.

To be honest, I don’t recommend it, nothing to do there apart from taking beautiful panorama pictures on the village top, but that’s pretty much… Plus when I came there it was burning hot like hell, my hat saves my life and I was looking for shadows to shelter me. I took the boat again to Panajachel (or Pana, as the locals say) It was much more interesting there: there were many open bars and restaurants, many shops, many clubs, open markets, after 2 hours, as I visited downtown, I randomly met 3 Australian people from the Volcano Hike.

They had just finished from the paddling surf excursion and they were walking to the port to get back to San Marco! With them, a local guy, trying to take them to the port a private boat (and take his commission). After 4:30 pm, there are only private boats to get back to San Marco or San Jose, so no choice! The Australians told me they knew no word of Spanish, that’s why they always needed a local guy (who would usually screw them) The private boat price was outrageously expensive, it was a “no-go” for me as I said to the local guy in Spanish and I bid farewell to the Aussies. 10 minutes later, the Australian came out as well saying the guy wanted even more money because of “weather conditions”, I found another boat for 25 Quetzales (much more reasonable) to San Jose and I negotiated 20 for the Australians as they were stopping before at San Marco. They were extremely thankful) Back to my hotel there was a wild party: “Ladies Night” but I was not really interested as the next day I needed to go wake up at 4:00 am for checking out the “Indian Peak”.

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