Shopping and High Altitude Diving

Panajachel Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Views of the lake

Leaving early from San Cristobal we had a 10 hour bus journey to Panajachel which is on the shores of the volcanic lake Atitlan.

We were trying to beat any road blocks which had been happening over the last few days, and because we left so early we had great success. We had a very good journey, and stopped just before the border for a great Mexican breakfast. I had these amazing eggs covered in a green spicy sauce, Steve went for the British bacon and eggs but was a bit disappointed by the thin slice bacon.

Our border crossing was very care free as well, and so we arrived early afternoon to our destination.

Luck was also on our side when we drove into town and had clear views over the lake and to the surrounding volcanoes.

House envy

Panajachel is a very pretty place full of street vendors selling colourful Guatemalan art, pyjama pants and weavings. It felt more authentic than Mexico and it seemed like there were less tourists around, but truth be told there are many tourists here. Actually it has a very large ex-pat community who came during the 70's, and now that community is booming again.

We had a good 2 days to see the town and explore the lakeside villages. It was quite a nice journey taking a boat around the lake. The winds were a bit high, so at one point we had to abandon our docking and go to another wooden dock which was more sheltered and safer for us and the boat. We were greeted by a ute which we all piled into the back of and got a lift into the village. It was quite a spectacular sight, the locals were having a good time laughing at us.

I don't have house envy

While walking around the villages we were able to watch some of the women create some beautiful textiles from scratch, spinning the wool, dyeing it with natural products and weaving on a loom. A very amazing process which I couldn't even begin to fathom how they do it with such skill and grace. This also meant that there was an element of shopping to do and I spent way too long in one shop going backwards and forwards between several pieces which I quite liked, in the end only buying a short poncho/shawl.

Each village seemed to have its own specialty, and I also really enjoyed looking at all the art on offer. It was all so very colourful and very unique to Guatemala. Unfortunately I couldn't convince myself to get a piece, because we currently have no walls to hang anything but also we have accumulated so much hanging stuff on our journeys that I think we might struggle to find space even if we did have walls.

Riding in the back of the ute into the village
But I really thought that there was some great shopping to be had in this area. There were many things which I would have enjoyed buying.

So while I was getting shopping envy, Steve was attempting to complete his first high altitude dive in the lake.

He had to get prepped in a 7mm wetsuit because the waters were cold, it was fresh water, and because we were over 1800m it was classified as a high altitude diving. But for this reason Steve had real troubles equalising his ears and consequently couldn't complete the dive only getting a few meters below the water before having problems. His dive instructor said that he sometimes has the same problems, and it all has to do with the atmospheric pressure being so high in altitude. So Steve got to sit on a boat in the middle of the lake for a few hours and practice his Spanish with the boatman.

Church at one of the lake side villages
He came back a little sunburnt, but there wasn't much he could do about it.

What he did get to see in the few meters underwater was a sunken hotel. It created some funny photos. (the water level of the lake is rising becoming a huge problem for all the ex-pats who purchased land lakeside)

On our other spare day we went zip-lining across a canyon and with views out to the lake. A bit of mild adrenalin, I choose to do the soft option and Steve of course did the full extreme option.

The difference between the courses was that my lines were not as far from the valley floor, a bit shorter in length and therefore not as fast. The first/second line was quite a good buzz for me, but by the end I was looking for a bit more adrenalin and wished that I had done the bigger course.

Inside the church which is decorated for Christmas
Steve said that his first and second line were really scary, very high and really long. He said that he built up quite a bit of speed and wondered if he would be able to stop in time.

We caught up to each other on the last line and when we completed the zip lines we got to do an optional rope course which was really difficult and made even the most graceful of our group look uncoordinated. It was quite taxing on the hands and arms. Steve and I made it across OK and with no damage.

The lake offered some amazing sunsets while we were there, so the time called for a couple of sun-downers, and we could really observe the natural beauty of this place.

Before to long it was time to be back on the road heading towards Antigua.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Views of the lake
Views of the lake
House envy
House envy
I dont have house envy
I don't have house envy
Riding in the back of the ute into…
Riding in the back of the ute int…
Church at one of the lake side vil…
Church at one of the lake side vi…
Inside the church which is decorat…
Inside the church which is decora…
Nativity scene
Nativity scene
Medicinal garden
Medicinal garden
Spinning the wool
Spinning the wool
Natural dyes
Natural dyes
Natural dyes
Natural dyes
Weaving on a loom
Weaving on a loom
Some traditional weavings with thi…
Some traditional weavings with th…
And showing us how everyday she wr…
And showing us how everyday she w…
Another church decorated for Chris…
Another church decorated for Chri…
Church and Volcano
Church and Volcano
In Lake Atitlan
In Lake Atitlan
In Lake Atitlan
In Lake Atitlan
In Lake Atitlan
In Lake Atitlan
In Lake Atitlan
In Lake Atitlan
Pre- In Lake Atitlan
Pre- In Lake Atitlan
In Lake Atitlan
In Lake Atitlan
After being In Lake Atitlan
After being In Lake Atitlan
Getting harnessed for Zip-lining
Getting harnessed for Zip-lining
Steve on the zip-line
Steve on the zip-line
Our tour group, L to R: Danny, Ste…
Our tour group, L to R: Danny, St…
Our selfie helmet shot
Our selfie helmet shot
Sunset
Sunset
Volcanoes surrounding Lake Atitlan
Volcanoes surrounding Lake Atitlan
Views into the valley
Views into the valley
Chicken buses Guatemala
Chicken buses Guatemala
Our hotel
Our hotel
Asked for a beer, this is what i g…
Asked for a beer, this is what i …
Sponsored Links
Panajachel
photo by: Biedjee