Travel Guatemala: Santiago Atitlan

Written by: Nadia

Sunday Funday in Santiago

Good morning! I’m Nadia, a native Texan who started with Hiptipico in November, and I am finally making my debut on the blog.

On Sunday, I ventured out to Santiago with my neighbors (a couple from Chicago and a French native who arrived the evening before). The couple heard from some coworkers that the Hotel Posada had a dock, pool and hot tub worth checking out, so why the heck not?

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Around noon, we walked down to the familiar docks for a public lancha, where we were swarmed with drivers and bogged down with “Privado? Lancha privado?” After a couple of minutes, we realized that since Santiago was on the complete opposite side of the lake, we were at the wrong docks. A “friendly” driver walked us to where we needed to wait for the public transport, but he ended up negotiating with us for his private boat for only 10Q more per person and it would only take us 25-30 minutes to cross. Fine.

Midday, the water is pretty choppy. The locals attribute the strong current and waves to Xocomil, the strong wind that passes over the lake. The Kaqchickel word means “the wind that carried away sin”, but that’s another blog post.

Once we arrived at the docks, we walked uphill (a common feature of all the towns around Lake Atitlan) to check out the church and figure our way from there.
We hopped on the back of a pick-up and held on as we flew over some precarious speed bumps, and five minutes later we were in front of a neat-looking hotel made of stone and dark wood panels.

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A hostess at the main hotel sent us across the street, closer to the lake, to where the pool and dock were. She notified us it would be 40Q per person to use the pool and hot tub, something our frugal bunch (a teacher, volunteer, and farmer visiting from the US) was not expecting. We were quick to brainstorm. On our walk down, we noticed it was a bit cloudy and that the jacuzzi was smaller than expected, as in each-of-us-could-probably-fit-our-left-leg-in-comfortably kind of smaller. New plan: Order drinks from the bar by the pool and enjoy the lounge chairs alongside Posada’s bit of the lake. The bartender was more than okay with this and our prepaid gratuity, so there was no need to pay the usage fee for a polar plunge in their pool.

Since my arrival in Pana in November, I have tried a couple of the local beers only to have my heart broken multiple times. Gallo has no flavor. Dorado has no flavor and terrible label design. Brava has no flavor, but is tolerable with a good bit of michelada mix. *this opinion is not that of Hiptipico sarcastic disclaimer

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To my surprise, the bartender said Cabro was the best of the Guatemalan beers (not that there was much brought on by its competitors). I hadn’t heard of it. Let’s do it.
No comparison. If you’re ever in Guatemala and you’d like a local beer, Cabro is the way to go (I hear there also may be hope with Moza).

After a couple of bottles, some chapters from the book I started, a quick yoga session, and several laughs, I was sunburnt and ready to go. The thing about life at the lake is that it’s beautiful and serene, but every now and then you need a break from the repetition you find in every day, even if it’s only a 30 minute boat ride for a different kind of beauty and serenity for just the afternoon.


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