Lake Atitlan!

Chels and I took the one “direct” chicken bus to Panajachel from Anitgua. “Direct” just means that it goes all the way there, not that it doesn’t stop for every person flagging it down.

Kinda looks like Greece!

When we arrived in Panajachel we dropped our bags off at the hostel and headed straight for the shore. We made the walk down the main street Calle Santander which is lined with restaurants, markets and tour agencies. Down at the waters edge, Panajachel offers a great view of the

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lake as you look out at three volcanos. This is the most impressive thing about Panajachel. In fact we didn’t really find Pana had much to offer. It has absolutely no character and you hardly know you’re at the lake, which is why we went.

Amazing view!

Across the lake is San Pedro. The tiny boat ride across offers stunning views and only cost 3 bucks! As soon as we stepped off the boat, we immediately loved it! The whole town is actually along the lake, so no matter where you eat, sleep or walk…you can see the lake (unlike Pana). It is also much cheaper, and you don’t get the feeling you’re being ripped off just for being a gringo! For example: In Pana, a trip to Copan Ruinas in Honduras costs 280 Q ($35) but from San Pedro, almost FURTHER away it was only 150 Q ($18.75)! Â Anyway we found a nice quiet little family-run place to stay, Casa Elena, and it was only 8 bucks a night for a private room WITH a bathroom and hot water :)

Boat ride across Lake Atitlan

We immediately starting searching out the best deal for hiking Volcan de San Pedro at sunrise. We ended up going with Bigfoot Agency because the lady was straight up with us. If it’s just the 2 of us, its 20 bucks, it we find a 3rd person, its 15 bucks! SWEET…we set out to find a 3rd! We ended up finding like 6…2 different couples…all from our boat ride over, so got it even cheaper!
So 2:15 am the alarm goes off, and we eat our 2 loaves of banana bread we bought the night before. Brad drinks his cold coffee he also got the night before, and off we went! Our guide met us at our hostel and we started the journey, passing drunks along the way that were still out from the night before.

To the top just in time!

Just getting to the base of the volcano was tough, but the actual climb up was RIGOROUS! Everyone had head torches, except me haha…I followed the other hikers light and the moonlight…making sure to lift my knees high. About 3 1/2 hours later, we were ALMOST to the top and saw the light of day starting to emerge. Brad raced up to the top for the last 10 minutes, and I moaned and groaned my way up shortly behind him! I was actually MOL-ing (Moaning out Loud) it was TOUGH!!! We lost half of our group to the hill…. But oooooh man the view was INCREDIBLE !!!!! It was 100% worth the pain and the colors of the sky behind the other volcanoes were so bright and illuminating! We were cheering and high-fiving each other in complete elation! The entire lake was beneath us and in our view!


In the middle of our admiring, the cold hit! THANK GOD our guide was already building a fire, because it was frigid! Even worse for Brad was that he was completely soaked from sweat…his back and butt drenched! We warmed up for a few minutes while we waited for the sun to peek over the volcano tops, singing songs to help motivate its rise… “Here Comes the Sun”!

Warming up by the fire!

Yay Here Comes the Sun!

The others finally arrived after the sun rise, and we all chowed down on some grub! Peanut Butter Sandwiches and Snickers! Some people brought whole blocks of cheese up! After about an hour and a half on the summit, we decided to head down. The hike down was AWESOME! Now that it was light, we could see the beautiful lush green trees. It was like a tropical rainforest up there! Also we could enjoy the view of the other side of the lake, and all the towns sprawled along it. We were able to walk through a coffee farm and try a bean or two, careful as to not risk being shot for stealing their beans!! lol just kidding. We finished just after 11pm and were exhausted, so after grabbing a smoothie, went straight for a nap!


Woo we did it!

After deciding to stay one more day in this cute town, we spent it relaxing at a super cool hostel called “Zoola People”. It’s Israeli run, right along the lake with a colorful tent full of pillows and tables to chill at. Skyping, blogging, and researching…enjoying their delicious Health Sandwich packed full of avocado! Brad and I find we need one of those days every once in a while, because traveling can be EXHAUSTING! (not complaining!)


Next stop…Honduras!!

This entry was posted in Central America, Guatemala, Guesthouses, Hiking, Hostels, Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, San Pedro, Volcano and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Lake Atitlan!

  1. lize-mare says:

    This is awesome!!!!

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