Day 3 (March 6, 2014) Lake Atitlan


  We will spend the morning on visiting some of the villages around the lake. After reading about them, the one I want to visit is Santiago Atitlan.

Route for day 3

   We want to climb Volcano Pacaya, which is a two hours’ drive from the lake (120 Km). The idea is being there at dusk in order of having a better chance for taking the lava bright in the photos. As I’ve read this could be a hard walk we probably will use horses for it.

   After that visit, our only task will be going to Guatemala airport, at 45 Km from there, where we will deliver the car and have the hotel, the closest one to the airport.


   We’re awakening early, as usual, and we can get with the sunrise a great view of the three volcanoes across the lake. Finally!

   We can see it from our bed, just by falling apart the curtains of the window. Somehow, when we’re down at 7 AM for our breakfast, they’re wearing some clouds as if they were too shy as per appeared naked.

   The restaurant is really crowded at this time of the morning. All the people are French. It must be a big group leaving now based on the amount of baggage we could see at lobby.

   At the moment we can see the peak of some volcano free from the dining room we’re leaving for some pictures from the garden. We’re sad by the missed chance of this morning, when we could clearly see all three volcanoes, but I never thought they could be there just for 30 minutes.

Lago AtitlánHotel Jardines del Lago

   This hotel is besides the ferry quay, but we’re told in reception desk that ferries to Santiago are leaving from a different one, a further one.

   Once at street an old man with shabby clothes who comes with us. We end ashamed by our reservations when he leaves us in the public boat to Santiago asking nothing in exchange.

Panajachel's quayPanajachel's quay

   We purchase two one way tickets by 30 quetzals each. We’re told it is a 45 minutes trip, that there is a boa at 10 AM there for coming back, which assure us being at hotel before 12 PM, the time we’re going to be picked up, and they also told us we’re leaving in 10 minutes.

   These public boats are cheap, but have no time for leaving, although they insist they have. Those 10 minutes are really 40 when we’re leaving. The problem is they always try to leave as full as possible.

Public boat to Santiago AtitlanReaching Santiago Atitlan

   The trip is not taking 45 minutes either, but 25, which compensates the delay. The volcanoes are growing in size as we’re approaching to the other side of the lake. Sun is strong today and I can feel my arms burning.

   When we arrive, there are several vendors offering clothes and jewelry. A boy offers tuk tuk by 10 quetzals and we take it with no second thoughts.

Santiago Atitlan StreetsSantiago Atitlan Streets

   We’re going with him this entire street full of shops at both sides up to the part with vehicles. There we get into a red tuk tuk and get a deal: from taking us to Cathedral square and coming back by walking by 10 quetzals, to coming back with him by 20 quetzals. Then we add a tour by the city and visiting a sighting spot in the hill by 40 quetzals in total.

   Santiago Atitlan is a peculiar town and we like it. The Cathedral is dressed for the Easter and we’re enjoying everything we can see.

Santiago Atitlan Cathedral SquareSantiago Atitlan Cathedral Square

Santiago Atitlan CathedralSantiago Atitlan Cathedral

   We’re enjoying the tuk tuk ride by the narrow streets too and the driver makes his best for us getting fun with him.
Views from Santiago's sighting point

   We’re delivered on time back to the quay and at 10 AM we’re on board, but we still must wait for one hour until the boat gets full and leaves.

   At 11:30 AM we’re back at hotel closing our bags. The van picks us up finally around 12:30 PM and we reach Antigua some minutes before 4 PM.


   We’re going to have less time than expected here in Antigua, but the main thing is lunching. Two blocks down the shuttle office, where they’re keeping our baggage, we get into a small restaurant where we eat fillet with mushroom sauce, brochette of meat and one quesadilla, a sort of cheesecake, for sharing, everything by 180 quetzals. The courses are big with two sides to choose. We both choose the same two: paste of potato and the best guacamole I’ve tasted in my life.

Back in AntiguaRestaurant "El fogón de la abuela" in Antigua

   The time has almost gone in the meal because, everything was delicious, but they were slow. We’re at the office at 5:50h waiting to be picked up. When they come it is already dark and, after a one hour’s ride, we’re delivered the first of the group in the van at our hotel, close to the airport, in a secure neighborhood, fenced and guarded by armed men.

Hotel Casa Blanca InnHotel Casa Blanca Inn room

   In Hotel Casa Blanca Inn we’re helped in everything we need and even they’ll take us to the airport tomorrow at 5 AM for free.