According to the guidebooks I consulted, Hostal D'Acuna was the place to stay. As I wearily left the Monja Blanca bus north of town and hopped a taxi, I was confident that I'd find great accommodations here. The taxi dropped me off by the sign that said Hostal D' Acuna, and I asked the driver to wait while I made sure there'd be room for me to stay that night. I stepped inside the doorway into a green courtyard, but no one was around. Next to me was a pastry cabinet filled with goodies, and in the back of the courtyard were the tables of an empty restaurant in mid-afternoon. Where was the reception? Where was the staff? Eventually, after searching hurriedly, I found an annoyed local who waved me across the street into a small tienda that was indeed the hostel's reception area as well.
For Q100, we were given the only available private room--one basic and mildly comfortable bed in a tiny room with literally no room for our two bags or to manuever. Later that night, after a huge storm knocked out the electricity, the hostel's generator kicked on right outside the window, buzzing angrily through my best ear plugs. Across the hallway, dorm rooms were filled with four to eight 20-something travelers each, gabbing and playing cards. Once the electricity came back on and the generator ceased, a group of those travelers replaced the annoyance outside our window by standing outside, blowing cigarette smoke into the room, and exclaiming, "No way!" a lot. The next day, when we wanted to "upgrade" to a private room with seperate beds, we were given the same-size room with child-size bunk beds. This, at least, gave us the room to set our bags down on the floor, a wastebasket, and a child-size table and chair. The noise issue here was being closer to the dorms and sharing a wall with the bathrooms, whose hot water pipes squealed and tapped out a morse code as they expanded or shrank.
Hostal D'Acuna's saving grace is the endlessly warm showers and clean bathrooms--an orgasmic experience after a sluggish and cramped 10-hour bus adventure from Antigua. And beyond that, Hostal D'Acuna offers through its restaurant scrumptious and creative cuisine (something the guidebooks were right about). It's also very convenient to stay at the hotel through which we organized the next day's tour to Semuc Champey and the Lanquin Caves.
Rohnert Park, California
July 23, 2005
From journal En Guate '05- Coban!