Lake Atitlan.... possibly the best place on earth.

Santa Cruz La Laguna Travel Blog

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...This entry has been a long long time coming. after arriving at the lake some 3/4 weeks ago, ill do my best to sum up our experiences and love for the lake.

we arrived in SAn Pedro in the evening, and went through the usual harrasment process from the locals to stay in their 'friends' hotel... we followed one guy through the back alleys... we had our doubts about this guy, being 'green' to the lake, it all seemed a little sketchy. We had a thought in the back of our mind that maybe he wanted more than just to show us his friends hotel.... i kept the conversation going to not let the situation get uncomfortable, and broomy positioned himself ready to strike in case things got nasty... luckily, we made it to some accomodation and all was good.

After relocating to a little nicer hotel, overlooking the lake for $10 a night!, we did our best to explore all the lake has to offer.
local transportation
The lake it nestled in the guatemalan highlands. It's majestic setting is quite sublime... the deep blue lake is surrounded by massive volcanoes, mountains, thick forest. The lake is lined with villages, where locals go about the daily routines of farming, building, and working on their local crafts. But wedged between the villages are holiday mansions of the rich, where everything is done to excess. The primary mode of transportation is the 'lancha' - a 20 something foot boat with a massive outboard (often suprisingly new) that is almost always fully loaded with people and produce.

The locals are unbelievably resourceful in the day to day living... surviving without cars, modern tools, power, or most of the things we take for granted at home....

The lake offers many activities for those looking for them... we chose to explore via motorbike, horse, a speedboat tour of the lake from a new friend and even a hike where we left at 3 thirty in the morning to catch the sunrise up a local peak - indian nose. It is clear in certain areas around the lake the trousists arent welcome. Tehre are occasional muggings, and we managed to get a whole heap of nasty looks from men and women when riding our motorbikes through some of the backstreets... but the children did love it. The children are all full of life and love gringo's visting the area... they're always ready to play once the overcome their shyness.

We enrolled in Spanish lessons for a week or so.... which was a great help, but the only problem is that the everyone speaks english in the area anyway, so little practice was acheived outside class hours.
... but regardless, it was money well spent.

We also heard a rumour of a party on saturday nights at another town - Santa Cruz la laguna..... so decided to check it out. Turns out it was a cross dressing party.... which, of course, turned out to be hilarious.... i think guys enjoy dressing up in girls clothes a lot more than girls do dressing up as guys. it just doesnt have the same effect. BUT.... girls seem to really enjoy putting makeup on guys.... guess, it all works out in the end.

So anyway, the venue for the party was a hostel called la iguana perdida..... and we enjoyed the first saturday so much, we decided to return from san pedro back to santa cruz for another weekend of mayhem. This time.... including fireworks for a birthday celebration.
And lets just say, australian regulations for fireworks are a hell of a lot tighter than guatemalan regulations.... or no regulations at all. Normally i dont get into fireworks... but when your standing 3 metres away from a few thousand dollars of fireworks going crazy with explosions, the smell of smoke, and bright lights.... it is definately a much better experience than watching them from afar.

anyway after the second weekend of mayhem, we fell in love with the awesome beaty of the lake, the friendly, homely vibe at the iguana hostel, we decided to stay on for a couple of weeks and work for accomodation and food..... that is basically the story of the last few weeks. In a few more i'll resume the blog when we head down to el salvador in search of some waves........ oh, and photos are coming soon!!!!
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local transportation
local transportation
towing a boat through some reeds..…
towing a boat through some reeds.…
Santa Cruz La Laguna
photo by: zakw