Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lake Atilan in all it's Glory




Lake Atilan, located west of Guatemala City, is a surrounded by Mountains, Volcanoes and little towns. Our journey started out in San Pedro La Laguna...far left in the map below. San Pedro is one of the larger cities around the lake and is well set up for tourists with caf├ęs spanish language schools and bars. On our first day there we rented kayaks and took them across the bay to San Marcos .
San Marcos has a great cliff jumping/ swim spot where we spent some time before checking out the town. The town of San Marcos mainly consists of a shore area with lots of pathways dividing lodging and restaurants from massage and language schools. After a stroll in San Marcos we paid the dudes watching out kayaks and headed back across the lake...only by afternoon time the
wind picks up a bit. After battling the waves and currents for about 45 min we finally paddled our way into Sam Pedro.
The next adventure was hiking El Nariz de Indio (Nose of the Indian). We got an early start on the day and headed up the shoreline mountain for a great view. The hike took us about two hours to summit and strangely there was music being broadcast very loudly for most of the walk up. The view from the top was incredible and well worth the cardio struggles.

Guatemala is currently in their rainy season, which means you can plan on a bit of a downpour everyday between 1pm and 3pm. This particular day the rainstorm was very powerful and we lost power, which didn't seem to bother anyone in San Pedro. We had some beer and tacos at a dark, Mexican place and then called it a night. The next day there was still no sign of power...or water, so after a refreshing, shower-like dip in the lake we packed up and took a water taxi to Panajachel on the opposite side of the lake.

Strolling through town isn't as enjoyable with huge packs to tote around so we found a good place to camp out called The Deli, where we plugged everything in, used their bathroom and left our packs all day- really wonderfully kind people working there, as well as delicious food. The heavy afternoon rain should not have been a surprise but it was, as we were planning to take another water taxi that afternoon. Somehow we managed to get a water taxi with the not to fabulous weather and we arrived at our friends house just near Cerro de Oro, small mountain on that map.

Arriving at a house was a great feeling, yet we still seemed to be lacking power and hot water. We hauled in all of our food and luggage and settled in for some quality card games. The rainy days were followed by two full days of sunshine, swimming, cooking, and more games.

After spending a week at Lake Atilan I am quite sure that it would not be a bad place to spend a year.

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