Guatemala is a very beautiful country with lots of things to do for both the intrepid adventurer and the “taking it slow vacationer”. From it’s beautiful beaches, lakes, rivers, , tropical forest and its colorful villages and ruins that herald the mayan culture there is way too much to do. So during my visit I broke down my trip into four sections/cities:
- Guatemala City
- Lake Atitlan
On my first day in Guatemala, I was awoken by talling church bells and the sound of chirping birds from a church located across the street. My hotel – Hotel Royal Palacio, was located close to the historic district and has all the majestic and vintage charms of a place that was once a jewel of it’s time. After breakfast and a few pages of my book on the balcony I proceeded to discover the city. Many of the places I wanted to see weren’t too far away and some were walking distance from each other.
- Old District
- Catedral Metropolitana
- La Merced
- Palacio Nacional
- Mercado Central
- National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (closed due to pandemic)
After two days in Guatemala city, my hired driver (Bernard) picked me up and we departed for lake Atitlan. The drive is often 21/2 to 3hrs depending on traffic but because we were stopping at fruit stalls or local artisan shops along the way it took us longer but who cares, to me that is all part of experiencing a new country, culture and people.
After stopping for dinner and some shopping in Panajachel, we proceeded to Santa Catarina Palopo one of the numerous Mayan villages around lake Atitlan where my hotel Tzampoc Resort is located. This resort, is a hidden jem and has one of the best views of the lake from an incredible infinity pool. My days were spent exploring the village and lounging by the pool sipping drinks from the bar.
For the next leg of my trip I had the resort call a tuk-tuk to take me and my 100 lbs bag to the Panajachel loading docks where I boarded a water taxi locally known as Lanchas to my hotel- SunSet Lodge in San Marcos la Laguna. The lanchas are the only way to travel between the villages located around lake Atitlan. You have the option of boarding a public lancha(15Q -25Q = $2-$4) and holds 10-15 people (10 during the pandemic) or you could hire the entire taxi (300Q = $39).
I spent most of my time here on the lake, kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming(kind of lol) and because the hotel has a hot tub, I had a great time meeting up with the hotel owner and the other guests at sunset for drinks and a hydro session where we soaked in near scalding hot tub water then jumped into the cold lake multiple times or Sauna -hot tub-lake.
While here I also hailed a water taxi to visit San Juan and San Pedro la Laguna. I was also able to book an early morning sunrise hike of the India Nose peak, and I’ll recommend this to anyone staying around the lake.