Tuesday, March 6, 2012

All Around Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala

I’ve written quite a bit about living in San Pedro, but haven’t had the chance to give you all the deets on some of the other awesome towns I’ve explored around Lake Atitlan in the last 6 weeks. I’m sure you’ll see that even 6 weeks is not nearly enough time on el lago, lots and lots to see & do!

Santa Cruz:
I decided to switch things up and stay a night in Santa Cruz at La Iguana Perdida. It’s a great spot to relax, enjoy the lake and get your grub on for their Saturday night BBQ’s. Saturday night is good fun here - they have a dress up closet and live music after the BBQ. It was a nice change of pace from all the people in San Pedro. I didn’t get to do much exploring outside of the hotel, but I do know there are some nice hikes to different towns that you can do from Santa Cruz.
Can't say no to those hammocks! (La Iguana Perdida)
Beautiful view right?
La Fortuna Atitlan in Patzisotz:
One Friday afternoon, a friend of mine from U of A, Steve Kmack, invited me over for a BBQ they were having at his property called LaFortuna Atitilan. GORGEOUS – my pictures won’t do it justice but you’ll get the jist. I highly recommend splurging and staying a few nights at La Fortuna.
Anyway their property is between Pana and Santa Cruz. It’s a small private bay called Patzisotz (good luck pronouncing that one ;)). Steve and his wife Kat are building a couple bungalows and making this place quite stunning. They had their soft grand opening BBQ with many friends from around the lake. It was really great to see the sense of community you can have when living on the lake. I had a really great time, maybe too much fun since I ended up staying over and didn’t make it to San Marcos that night. Then again I had the luxury of being the 2nd guest in this beautiful baby. Thanks Kat & Steve!

Fun with Mimi, of course!

Cerro De Oro:
I don’t actually know much about the Cerro de Oro community, but thanks to the wonders of social media (facebook) and had the pleasure of spending an evening in a beautiful home in Cerro de Oro. A friend of mine, Jason, posted a picture of the lake on his facebook, I put two and two together to figure out he was here! Jason was staying with Tony & Rachel Lucca at their good friends' house, Dustin and Jenny, in Cerro de Oro. This group of 5 has some really cool plans they are working on in the lake Atitlan area, which hopefully I can share sometime in the future.
Anyway, the whole crew came over to San Pedro one afternoon and then we spent the rest of the night at Dustin and Jenny’s beautiful home & then onto Pana. Tony & Jason played a really awesome set in Panajchel that night. Tony happens to be on the Voice this season – he has quite the amazing voice! See for yourself! Completely random and amazing day :) Muchas Gracias Jenny & Dustin for your hospitality! Let’s hope our paths cross in another awesome place someday soon!
Lunch in San Pedro and getting our hair done up in a traditional wrap!
Tony & Jason jamming out at the house and writing a song. Jenny had beautiful scarfs made by these ladies!
Sunset from the Jenny & Dustin's backyard
Casa de Dustin y Jenny

Panajachel (Pana) is another big town on the lake. I’ve only been there a couple times for a few hours to wander. Pana definitely has more shopping than San Pedro and some good restaurants as well. When I met up with Ashley Ludman, we had some really tasty and refreshing food at The Deli.  Although I have not been yet myself, La Palapa, pana's party hostel is where it’s at from what I hear. The owners are two awesome Arizonans who know what’s up -  Thursday night is pub quiz and Saturday they have BBQs. I’m hoping in April when I’m back I’ll be able to stay in Pana for a couple nights. Here area few photos I've taken so far:

Amazingly delicious sandwich!
Tony & Jason tearing it up at La Terraza in Pana

Dinner before the show at La Terraza - Dustin, Me, Jason, Rachel, Tony and Jenny.
San Marcos and the Mayan Culture:
Lucky me, San Marcos is only a 5-10Q and 10 minute boat ride away from San Marcos. I found myself being drawn over to San Marcos quite a few times. San Marcos is a quiet, yoga, hippy, holistic, super interesting town. One of my favorite spots is the “trampoline”. It’s a deck they built where you can play around and jump in the lake. The water is much cleaner in San Marcos and you get a really awesome view of San Pedro and the mountains in the afternoon. Although between 10am – 2pm is when it’s typically the warmest.

Many times following the trampoline, I’d head up the hill to the Ganesh Collective. They have a pretty stellar view and epic margaritas – purple basil margarita, don’t mind if I do! Only 20q at happy hour starting at 4pm. They have some fun live music on the weekends and a lot of different Pilates, yoga and aerial silk classes during the day.

Lots of good times on the Trampoline. Including Ben & Kieran being crazies with back flips and dives off the platform!
Ganesh Collective by Night with Brad and Mathilde
Margarita's & cards at the Ganesh Collective with Kieran
Recently it was Wayeb. Wayeb is a five day ceremony to bring in the Mayan New Year. I had the opportunity to participate and watch a couple of the Mayan ceremonies that were happening in San Marcos. Tata’s and Nana’s from all over Guatemala were putting on these ceremonies. It was really quite interesting to be present at the ceremonies, but I really didn’t understand them all that well. The Maya’s are very wonderful and warm people. There’s a lot I don’t know about the Mayan Culture, but the little I have learned is quite interesting. A common thing to have done in lago de Atitlan is have your Mayan symbol read – think of your astrology sign but more complex. I am K’an. I had my sign read during one of my Spanish lessons actually and it was pretty dead on about my characteristics:
Opportunist, detailed, can be selfish, good memory, Intelligent, at times lacks confidence, desire to drive other’s lives, I don’t like being the boss, when there’s a problem I must find a solution, controller/dominate, good with technology, likes drastic changes ,takes precautions, my energy is in my spine (why I can sometimes have back problems), movement/always on the go (not me!, I thought you’d get a kick out of that mom), the fire/power of the serpent, sincere and my favorite haha “la magia sexual”
I found learning what little I know fascinating. Maybe I’ll try to learn how to read Mayan signs and bring a book back home to read yours.

No words necessary. This guy is clearly awesome.
Santiago Atitlan:
Santiago Atitlan was very similar to the center (non-gringo) part of San Pedro, but bigger. There are around 30k people living in the Santiago Atitlan area, where as just 13k in San Pedro. I had a nice afternoon buying some gifts and getting some lunch. At this time the power had also been out for a few days in San Pedro, so I was stoked to charge my phone up and get on wifi.I went to the market here as well and took some photographs.

Santa Clara and San Juan:
I’ve also been to Santa Clara and San Juan a couple times, but don’t have pictures really. Santa Clara is where I started the hike to Nariz de Indio (a 45 minute climb) – epic view! About 20 mintues beyond Santa Clara is where the Zipline park is at. Only 90Q to enter – just over $10, really incredible and cheap compared to other Canopy tours around Central America. Thanks Emanuel for taking me!
 San Juan is where my host mom, Teresa, is from and all of her family still lives. It’s just a 5-10 min tuk tuk ride from San Pedro. San Juan has a few great woman’s artisan stores and a cheese/wine spot called La Artisana that I still have yet to check out.
Emanuel and I ready to go!
View from the Zipline near Santa Clara
As always you can check out all my pictures here:
Lago de Atitlan

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