We are now in Guatemala and have been exploring Lake Atitlan for the past few days. Getting here was pretty straightforward. We walked across the Mexico/Guatemala border into the town of Tecun, took a five hour bus ride, the driver let us off at a random street corner and pointed us down the intersecting road. We started walking, ten minutes later a chicken bus stopped and picked us up.

Chicken buses are easily recognizable by their bright colors, rickety appearance, noxious fumes belching out of the back, and the quantity of people and chickens aboard. The drivers often delight in passing on blind corners as they speed up and down the steep curving roads. Gord said that if a volcano blows, our driver is the man we want.

An hour later we were let out on a corner in Panajachel (the little town on the northern shore of Lake Atitlan where I had asked to be let out at). We walked up the road and found a cheap hotel. After three days of exploring we realized that we were not in Panajachel – we were in Santiago Atitlan, a town across the lake on the southern shore (no wonder I couldn’t get my bearings following the rough guide map 😂). Nobody here speaks any English at all and while I’ve been thrilled at how well my humble Spanish has been serving us, it’s clearly not foolproof. Too funny!

My go-to food has become fresh avocados, sweet onion, tomato and lime juice on a couple of fresh warm tortillas. So delicious! And cheap! I bought a bizarre looking brown drink on the bus (where vendors also sell food and drinks) that looked like mud water with floaties. From my past experiences, I anticipated it would be cold and delicious regardless of its appearance. Nope! It tasted like warm mud water with floaties. I figured it was some kind of oat, rice or bean water and good for me so down the hatch it went.

Lake Atitlan is a beautiful, turquoise lake encircled by three volcanos, at least 340 metres deep, it’s shores dotted with villages. Yesterday we left Santiago and hiked to San Petro along a steep volcano road lined with coffee and avocado trees and corn. Pickers and farm workers dotted the countryside. The farming is all done with a hoe, a pick axe and a machete, not one tractor to be seen. We’ve seen old men carrying loads on their back that defy logic and gravity (one man was staggering under the weight of three -one hundred pound bags). Truly astounding!

View from our little corner room

We camped for the night in small sheltered area out of sight and high off the road. We woke at 6:30am to people already working and chopping corn husks around us and were greeted with “buenas Dias amigos”. The Guatemalan people we have come across are all helpful and kind.

Our camp spot

We are now in a little hotel room in San Pedro with a gorgeous view of the lake. Like the room in Santiago we are paying $10 each a night. We will stay here for a couple of nights before hiking to the next village.

A village lady making tortillas

13 responses »

  1. I am so sick of snow I could scream. Had my memory test and the score was not as high as in 2019. And I thought I was okay. Our big bush at the large window in the room off the living room is a mess and not sure it can be saved. How are you both doing these days. It must be lovely being there. Have fun. xoxo Di

    • Dearest Di, I’ve been sending you emails. Have you been getting them? Sounds like winter is taking its toll. It has been so cold I hear. The pipes have all frozen at home. I hope you’ve been getting my news. Guatemala is a lovely place and we are both well. Lots of love and hugs.

      • Hi dear one – sounds like a positive trip – great. I am sick of winter for sure. Lots of love to you. Di

  2. Looks so beautiful!! I sure hope you’d wam in the water:)
    The brown water drink looked nasty… I wouldn’t of drank it 🤣
    I’m loving the updates. Keep them coming !

    • Hi Miss Elbows – I think you are doing well. We are in a mess here at 703. Last Friday a loser came to replace the copper with fibre. A disaster. So much to explain. Much more snow pouring down. Found by letter that my Hydro was not paid in Dec.. Jan. etc. so G drove me to BMO bank to pay out of my account. Another to speak to at BMO. Sending huge hugs to you and hope you continue your amazing trip. xoxoxoxox Di Elbow(s)

      • You were smart about the nasty drink – could have come from a toilet!!! Smart girl you are. Love you. Di

      • Hey mama bear. I’m so sorry that 703 is in a mess. Can you try emailing me at my normal account. Then we can have more in depth emails. Probably the bank May set you up with direct deposit and make it easier and less trouble for you. Love you to bits. Xoxoxo

    • Hey Venus. The lake really was beautiful but the shore wasn’t great to swim from. We will get good swimming in later I think. Haha. I’m sure you and a few others were shaking their head that I drank the brown water. Hha. So glad you are following along and enjoying it. 🙏😀

  3. Hi Arlene and Gord
    I lived in Panajachel for 22 years, I am impressed that you are camping there, that is awesome, you really travel as one should!

    Be safe, hope to hear from you again, I liked San Marcos on the lake the best.
    My daughter just came back from a two week stay, she showed me videos ect from Panachajel, the look and feel are totally different now as they were 15 years ago,
    Then it was not noisy and polluted, everyone walked.
    Enjoy the good weather, nice people yum food and the natural beauty of Guatemala!

    • Hi Margrit, I loved panajachel! I loved the whole area. What a wonderful place to spend 22 years. I’m sure it’s all very changed now. It can be hard to revisit places when you knew them from before. Thanks for your lovely comment! 🙏

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s