A little more Lake Atitlan

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A little more Lake Atitlan Guatemala

Lake Atitlan is a truly a magical place the lake is incredible and I've come to fully understand why so many people are attracted to this small fragment of the world.From the Lake we moved on to Antigua and watched as a volcano erupted right in front of our eyes, along with the spectacular scenes around the lake we got to witness something most people won't see in their lifetime from our hostel balcony. These photos barely do any justice to Lake Atitlan but any hellish chickeny chicken bus through Guatemala is well worth these views. Believe me, I know.

Guatemala at a glance

 Language: Spanish 

 Currency: Quetzal

 Street food: $2-$5 - Empanadas

 Restaurant food: $5 - Watch out fast food restaurants and chains in Antigua

 Drinking: $1-$2 for local Cerveza

 ATMs: Be aware of card skimming scams 

 Chicken Bus: Depends on journey - Great value for budget travellers

 Sleeping: $10 for a dorm $18-$20 private with en suite

All prices in US Dollar


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Photo taken from San Marcos the looking out across the lake at Volcan San Pedro
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The keenest fisherman of all time. Total number of catches? Debatable
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Finally finding someone on the lake side - Most of the land by Lake Atitlan has been eaten up by the water

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The second keenest fisherman looking risky on a homemade canoe


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Enjoy the depths of Lake Atitlan
From Hostel Fe you can jump from the platform into the water. Its not too high and the perfect refreshment if you're too hot or too hungover. Lake Atitlan can do that to you frequently. 

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Posing/trying to take the perfect Lake Atitlan photo

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Its not rare to see locals using the lake for various things such as washing their clothes



Choosing your Lake Atitlan destination


Panajachel isn't the number one hotspot around the lake. Most people find, as we did, that it's overpriced and overcrowded. For Hostel Fe, weekly Sunday BBQ fun and all the backpackers you could dream of head to San Pedro. For Yoga, Crystals and all the hippy you could hope for head to San Marcos. 

A little more Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Swatting up on Lake Atitlan from Panajachel 

If I could recommend anything? Do both, the boat taxi's are cheap and regular just be vigilant, a lot of people pretend to have a boat and take your money and the boat never materialises. This happens in Panajachel quite often to backpackers arriving from Xela and heading straight on the other villages. Take some time to enjoy what the lake has to offer and potentially take some Spanish classes as we've found they are cheaper here than in other Central American cities, the homestay option works out as the best value package. 


Oh and one quick tip. When in San Pedro do not  stay at Hostel Fe, its grim! Great for drinking, huge party, they even had the first ciders I've seen in a very long time. Try jumping off the deck and taking part in their quiz. Just don't book a room there. It's grim.


A little more Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Thanks for having us Lake Atitlan - You are stunning

Lake Atitlan basics - top tips for visiting Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Getting here

Chances are you'll be arriving on a chicken bus a Guatemalan speciality. Ask around and don't be afraid to say no, bus drivers don't mind duping tourists into paying and only taking them half the way. Try to head to Panajachel it's one of the bigger settlements which means better transport links to the other areas. 


Cash issues in Guatemala

We ran out of cash, and the cash points all conveniently stopped working. This led us to run up a tab at our hostel until the cash machine was fixed. Be aware that ATM's in Guatemala are temperamental. Carry small change and always have US dollars hidden as a back up cash supply.

Language

Don't be surprised if you hear someone speaking Mayan or another ancient language. There is Spanish at the lake of course, along with lots of English. But be mindful that some communities still choose to speak their native language.

Things to avoid when at Lake Atitlan

Always check water taxi times. You don't want to be stranded at another settlement around the lake with no way of getting back until the morning.

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