Lago Atitlán // Guatemala // Part III

Well… our bus ride wasn’t really how we imagined it to be like. We were told that we would switch buses in Antigua and then transferred to whichever hotel we were staying at in one of the villages around the Lake. Once we got to Antigua they let us wait 3 hours  until we could continue the trip. We were kind of pissed because they said nothing about that, but we used our time wisely and went back to one of our favorite restaurants called Samsara – if you’re looking for healthy vegan and vegetarian options in Antigua, this is the place! Some time later we had finally made it to the lake. We had to take a watertaxi from Panajachel  to San Pedro, where we were staying. Lago Atitlán is the second largest lake in Guatemala. There are many little towns and villages around it, that you can all reach by watertaxi. The population in this area are mostly indigenous Mayan people, which is definitely noticable since they speak different languages and walk around in their traditional clothing. We had booked our stay at the Hostel Casa Buena Vibra – a super chill place, with private rooms and a rooftop with a well equipped kitchen and a cozy chillout area. The owners were a french woman and her guatemalan husband, who is a local tattoo artist, they also had a little son who was soo precious! They were super friendly and helped us with everything we needed. On Wednesday we didn’t do much except buy some fruit and vegetables, then we made some dinner and went to bed. On Thursday we were still kind of lazy and tired so we just strolled around San Pedro, ate some good food and then took a dip in the fresh water of the lake. On Friday we decided to be productive for once and hiked up San Pedro Vulcano. It’s the local vulcano that has an altitude of 3020m. We got up early in the morning and took a Tuk Tuk (YES they have Tuk Tuks here!!) up to the entrance. We had to pay 100 Quetzales (GTQ) which is about 12 – it includes the entrance fee and an optional guide, you can choose whether he goes up to the top with you or only walks along the first 20min of the trail. We went for the 20min, and also grabbed some free walking sticks. The hike was definitely difficult because 98% of the trail was really steep, and there were barely any flat parts. Also I’m not a frequent nor experienced hiker.. soo yeah my body was feeling it. It took as about 3 hours to get to the top. Along the way were a few viewpoints, where you had amazing views over the beautiful lake and the mountains and villages around it. In the beginning there were also some corn fields and coffee plantations, and the best part was the swing. I was swinging around looking over the most beautiful view, the breeze touching my skin and hair, and I just felt so free and happy. At the top we sadly could only see the lake for a few seconds and then the clouds closed up. We didn’t have high expectations to see anything at the top so it was okay. It was also super cold, so we only stayed for about 20-30min, eating some bagels with hummus. Then we made our way back down which took as another 3 hours. Of course we had to stop by the swing again and enjoy the unique feeling one last time. I was so happy and proud of myself that I have accomplished this! It was my first vulcano that I have hiked up to the top and also the first summit I have ever reached! It was definitely difficult and on a scale of 0-10, an 8 for me. It is so incredible to see what your body is capable of! We were back in our beds around 1:30pm and just relaxed for a while. In the evening we went out for dinner to treat ourselves. On Saturday we started off our day renting some paddle boards for an hour. We paddled along the shore and enjoyed the different perspective of the lake. A little girl swam up to my board and chatted with me for a while, she called herself Angel (yes she was an angel indeed). The local people swim and bathe/shower in the lake with shampoo and even wash their clothes in it. There is also a lot of plastic waste floating around. This is the reality we live in.  A place can be so beautiful but yet so easily ruined by us humans… In a free magazine about the area, it stated that San Pedro has banned the use of plastic utensils and bags at all restaurants and shops. And we just started noticing that after we had read it! So there are definitely things that the people are doing to improve the situation, and it’s also important to do your own part of course. I try to bring my own bags whenever I go shopping, whether it’s at home in Germany or abroad during my travels. After our quick paddle session, we walked around the market and bought some handmade rings and bracelets. After lunch we decided to head to San Marcos – a little town on the other side of the lake. We walked along a small nature trail that had some great viewpoints and just chilled out for a while. They also had a platform for cliff jumping but we didn’t bring our bathing suits 🙁 It was still a great, chill afternoon just walking around, drinking some coffee and simply enjoying the atmosphere. We cooked some dinner at the hostel and went out for a beer or two at this place called Sublime. To be honest it was rather disappointing, nothing too special and the music was ehhh but also we weren’t really lookig for an all-nighter, so we called it a day. On Sunday we took a watertaxi to Santiago where we took a Chickenbus towards El Paredón

 

//Olivia

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