Written by MichaelJM on 21 Mar, 2013
Leaving the small village of San Juan behind us we head off to Santiago and although we had a smooth crossing earlier on in the day the lake was now much less forgiving. Indeed as the motor launch hit the waves it felt like we…Read More
Leaving the small village of San Juan behind us we head off to Santiago and although we had a smooth crossing earlier on in the day the lake was now much less forgiving. Indeed as the motor launch hit the waves it felt like we were landing on a bed of concrete. Soon I learnt to let my body relax through the bumps and in a perverse kind of way I began to enjoy the journey. Ahead of us we had a fantastic view of the volcanoes Toliman, Atitlan and San Pedro and I could begin to understand their sheer size and how impressive all this could have been to the early Maya People. At one stage there was a discussion from our guide about whether or not we could complete the journey but she felt, on balance, that the crossing to Santiago would be acceptable and we would hope that the winds did not pick up further throughout the day. Soon our lumpy ride was over and we timidly disembarked from the boat to terra firma.Immediately Santiago had a different feel to San Juan – this was clearly the tourist trap and the broad dusty main street was littered with craft shops and unfortunately much debris. Still the local women trundled the streets in pack-horse mode often heads piled high with goods which they seem to carry effortlessly. Certainly the shop fronts are aimed at visitors with tee-shirts, sunhats, demonstration fabrics and the like. Occasionally we saw locals selling for locals but in proportional terms there were much fewer vegetable and fruit stalls although we did see a pile of second clothing on the road side. Apparently the latter is brought in from the USA very cheaply and then sold on as individual items of clothing to people in Guatemala..Next we went up to the local church which has a tragic history. From the outside the Church, founded in 1547 looks fairly uninspiring. There are the usual Mayan steps, signs that the original place of worship was destroyed and then rebuilt on by the Spanish invaders. The church’s violent history if very recent and relates to the 30 year long civil war. On January 6 1980 10 men were massacred by Guatemalan Military Forces and from that time onwards there were many threats, woundings and "disappearances" – Assassinations became common place until Father Stanley Rother, the Catholic Pastor, opened up the church as a place of refuge for threatened families. After a time the military became disenchanted with his intervention and on 28 July 1981 Father Stanley was himself assassinated. In recognition of his act of bravery the people of Santiago asked that his heart and blood remain in the village. They are entombed in a monument in the Church.Another interesting feature of the Church can be seen on the altar where the wooden carvings show the story of Christ with Mayan people in the scene – a clear statement of the Maya and Catholic religions merging under the one church roof. Statues are dressed in Mayan style cloth. Fascinating.We then set off to find Maximon, a Mayan God. The concept of Maximon (pronounced Ma-she-mohn) as a saint (Saint Simon) is a difficult one to deal with and as explained to us he was a mixture of sinner and saint. As far as I understood Maximon was a man who liked the high life – he played hard and worked hard. So he drank, smoked and womanized. The latter being his downfall because he "played too close to home" and when his fellow villagers found out about him they chopped off his arms and legs. Quite how he achieved status as a god I’m not sure. Now this armless and legless effigy is revered and each year a member of the Shaman brotherhood is charged with looking after the effigy. It’s located in a brotherhood house and people visit with gifts of alcohol and cigarettes and contribute to his upkeep by asking the Shaman to perform a ritual for them. It’s a strange one but if you want good health, a happy marriage, good crop production you’ll need to keep on good terms with this chap. He sits there with his cowboy hat, shrouded in neck ties with a cigar in his mouth, overlooked by his protectors and for a quetzal you can take a photograph. We had 2 quetzals worth of photos and I have to say Maximon posed beautifully for me.Having made our last visit on the island our guide got a couple of tuk-tuks and we headed off to the restaurant for lunch. It was an interesting journey – weaving through the narrow streets, taking a steep hill out of town (will the tuk-tuk make the journey I wondered) and overlooked the river where people were washing their clothes in the lake as well as making use of the village laundry facilities. This was a open walled structure with a number of concrete vats in which locals washed their clothes.Lunch was at the Posada de Santiago which overlooked the lake it was very pleasant surrounding but for some reason they chose to have a really scary mask in the Gents toilet! The food was local and we had a choice of main course and pudding. Just as we were about to complete our coffee we noticed that our guide and the boat driver were in earnest discussion. Heads were shaking and heads scratched. Our guide came over to us and told us that the wind had got up and the crossing by the lake would be most uncomfortable. The plan therefore was that we would take a road trip to the next village on the other side of Lake Atitlan and our boat would collect us from there as we could then hug the side of the lake and avoid the waves that would make our journey most unpleasant. If you want to check on how that journey went then check out the review in this journal Close
Written by evilchris on 11 Sep, 2004
Like most travelers on la ruta maya, the colors and pageantry that I associated with the Mayan culture and its history compelled me to make Guatemala the main stop on my travels through Central America. The 22 language sub-groups that make up the Mayans…Read More
Like most travelers on la ruta maya, the colors and pageantry that I associated with the Mayan culture and its history compelled me to make Guatemala the main stop on my travels through Central America. The 22 language sub-groups that make up the Mayans in Guatemala have survived 300 years of Spanish occupation, followed by uprisings, coups, countercoups, insurgencies and counterinsurgencies that continued up through the 1990s. Any butcher’s bill that had to be paid during these violent times was normally paid in great part by the Mayans. Through sheer determination, their identity and traditions have remained stubbornly intact – albeit with their populations decimated. Between the official end of the civil war (1996) and today, the Mayans seem to have been transformed from Enemies of the State into a big tourism draw – at least to an outside observer. But, at least three-quarters of the nation’s population is still below the poverty line, which presumably includes the Mayans, and the Modern World continues to encroach upon the Mayans in every aspect of their existence. During my travel there, I saw how Mayans dealt with the changing world going on around them, and how it affected my own travel. What I experienced ranged from the overwhelmingly positive to the downright disturbing.
The juxtaposition between the Mayans and Lake Atitlán’s Gringo interlopers is an interesting one, particularly those Gringos hanging out in San Pedro. The Mayans are very religious, traditional and conservative (evangelical Christianity and Catholic missionaries have a strong presence all around the Lake), and the focus of most Gringo residents seems to be anything but conservative. In all fairness, those tourists with more bacchanalian pursuits in mind pretty much kept their activities hidden from plain sight, and I saw an apparent peaceful co-existence between the two groups. Granted, there were always a handful of Gringo revelers that could be found stumbling around in the wee hours of the morning, but this was really no different from the Mayan men who would gather at certain tiendas at all hours and drink Quetzalteca until stupefaction set in. (Followed by a nap on the pavement.)
Those Mayans that made a living off of tourists (tienda or comedor owners, hostel operators, etc.) were quite friendly, and more than happy to make money off of ex-pats and tourists. And those locals that did not make money off tourists seemed to go about their business oblivious to them. It was no surprise that the younger generation had fewer hang-ups about tourists than their parents. While the young machos may have monopolized the hustling tourists for tips (or as they pronounced it: "teeps") in return for dragging them to a language school or hotel, the young girls who sold baked goods such as pan de banan proved that the boys certainly did not have the market cornered on "motivated salesmanship". Never shy, the girls are impossible to miss as they buzz around the main thoroughfares of San Pedro in their traditional traje with a basket balanced on their head. If you sit long enough in one place, one of them will eventually find you. They are hard-nosed negotiators, dauntless and charming, and rarely take "No" for an answer.
The story was the same at the mercado in San Pedro, where I went to buy a flashlight. It was only my third day in Central America, and my negotiating skills (and math skills, apparently) were so poor, that the young brother-sister duo running the stand gave me more change than the price we had agreed upon. Apparently, I had negotiated the price in the wrong direction once they threw batteries into the discussion. (I was flustered, OKAY?) I guess they felt I would need every Quetzal I could get, as I would undoubtedly starve to death if I continued negotiating in a similarly poor fashion for my next few meals.
Despite the bravado-filled countenance of these young entrepreneurs, a little one-on-one conversation with any of them revealed kindness, innocence, and intellectual curiosity beneath. The boys, no matter how young, always insisted that I treat them as much like equals possible, even when they were a fraction of my height. This required, for example, that I reciprocate a ridiculously firm handshake or high-five them in front of their compañeros, which never failed to impress, I’m sure. On my walk back from Tzununá, one of the young boys that I met as we both waited for a ride was full of pride to tell me about his full-time construction job after he had asked me about my own profession (this from a 13-year old boy). From both boys and girls, there were always questions about family and school – two things they could directly relate to. (Place-names and geography were too abstract.) One game two of the "pan de banan" girls loved to play with me was to let me try and read Tzutuhil vocabulary aloud from their Spanish as a Second Language textbooks. Nearly every word I spoke (read: mangled) was met with tittering that built up through suppressed giggles to doubled-over guffaws. I suppose I must have sounded like a drunken Bushman with Turrets Syndrome, so maybe the laughter was well deserved.
While the Gringos and the Mayans co-exist peacefully in San Pedro, it is not always the case in other parts of Guatemala. With the growth of tourism, countless Mayan entrepreneurs have risen to the occasion in chasing the tourist dollar. Markets selling traditional clothing are booming in such towns as Panajachel, Antigua, Todos Santos, and Quetzaltenango. Development of the tourist industry is far enough along for organized bus tours to come visit these market places on excursions operated by the more established tour operators based in Guatemala City or Antigua. While Mayans are comfortable with our bizarre appearance (particularly if there is a tidy profit involved), an incident occurred during my stay where the stiff competition of the midday market, the skewed perceptions Mayans had of foreigners, and the disregard of tourists for local customs built up into an hysteria with deadly consequences in nearby Todos Santos Cuchumatan.
Every traveler I met in Guatemala loved explaining the Golden Rule of interacting with the natives: Do Not Photograph Mayans Without Permission. I received some half-baked explanations about "losing a piece of their soul" from some awful hippies I met which I found hard to swallow. What was clear was that many Mayans are nervous around the camera because they do not understand the intention. Naturally, many of them lose their fear if a "teep" is negotiated in advance, but it is strongly advisable to not shoot first and ask questions later. Sadly, that spring, a group of Japanese tourists visiting Todos Santos did not heed this advice (or perhaps they were never told). I read conflicting reports in the various local papers and from travelers who were in Todos Santos at the time of the incident, but what is known is that a group of Japanese tourists apparently disembarked from their tour bus, whipped out their cameras and started snapping pictures with impunity.
It will probably never be clear what exactly sparked the violence. Maybe it was the high-pressure competition of the market that day, or the rumors that had been circulating then about kidnappers were stealing children. Perhaps it was the fact that one or two of the Japanese tourists were dressed all in black, but in the end, one woman working in the market snapped – and accused one photographer of trying to steal her child. The hysteria quickly built up, and an angry crowd began stoning the bus, the Japanese tourists and the brave tour guide (a Guatemalan) who had tried to intervene. The crowd ended up stoning one tourist and the guide to death. To amplify the horror further, some men in the crowd then set the tour guide’s corpse on fire. The police arrived too late to save the victims, but they did arrest a number of suspects. Looking at the picture in the paper of the six somber Amerindian men, standing there handcuffed together, wearing their traditional traje (in Todos Santos, this consists of wonderful red pantaloons and a hat), I had little understanding of how this could have happened.
It is clear to me now, is that if you wish to travel on your own as a backpacker "amongst the locals", you should be armed with at least a rudimentary understanding of the customs when there is a huge cultural gap. Any cultural understanding you have will only enrich your experiences, and this knowledge can clearly have far more important value. A willingness to accept and act on this is a key aspect of traveling off the beaten path.
San Pedro can be considered relatively remote in comparison to Panajachel or Antigua. When you compare infrastructure, number of Internet connections, or number of gift shops, this is certainly the case. But because San Pedro does have a fairly constant stream of day visitors…Read More
San Pedro can be considered relatively remote in comparison to Panajachel or Antigua. When you compare infrastructure, number of Internet connections, or number of gift shops, this is certainly the case. But because San Pedro does have a fairly constant stream of day visitors and backpackers, I felt compelled to explore the rest of the villages around the lake on foot. It was a welcome break from the backpacking "scene" as well as a great opportunity to interact with the locals without being pressured into buying something.
From San Pedro, I left on foot on the road leading out of town that followed the shoreline, heading clockwise around Lago de Atitlán. (Rough Guide Central America has a good overview map of the Lake, which shows all the towns I visited.) The road takes you up a hill, giving you a fine view of both the west harbor at San Pedro, and the coffee fields and marshlands of the next town over, San Juan la Laguna (see attached photos). San Juan is a sleepy little town. What plays the role of a downtown gives evidence only of neglect. The streets were empty when I walked through town, and the locals (also Tzutuhil Maya) were definitely less used to foreigners in their midst in comparison to Panajachel or San Pedro. This did not stop one proprietor from inviting me into his comedor for my first (and last) shot of Quetzalteca and a beer chaser, where we communicated in broken Spanish and sign language. (Spanish was not his first language either, so we were both handicapped.)
While continuing onto the next town around the lake – San Pablo la Laguna – I passed an organized soccer match. This was not sandlot ball, but a proper match, and I recognized the home team in their bright red uniforms. I was coincidentally on the lake during the European Championships, so the infectious enthusiasm amongst European expats caught on amongst the already football-mad Central Americans fairly easily. Past the well-groomed football pitch, there is an usually large hill in the flatlands along the lake. This hill has no name I could find on any map, but it is crowned with an 8-foot white crucifix and a plaster statue of the Virgin Mary. A quick hike to the top afforded yet another spectacular view of my surroundings. A number of prayers from the previous New year’s Eve and remnants of devotional candles were scattered around the base of the statue. I was on my own up there, so I took in this view of the lake, the surrounding villages, and a bird’s-eye view of the football match in private.
San Marcos, the next town over, is itself is one of the larger towns on the lake. There are a number of hotels (less than Panajachel, for sure), and the center of town was bustling with activity. The tienda where I bought a fresh water supply did not blink an eye at me. The road out of San Marcos (continuing clockwise around the lake) put me on the northwestern shore of the lake. The road gets narrower, and at many points is just above the water. Here, I found a number of large lakefront homes high walls that ran along the road. It was apparent that homes were owned not only by wealthy Guatemalans but a few gringo expatriates as well. (A giant wooden peace symbol on the garage door of one home sort of tipped me off to this.)
This road leads to the village of Tzununá, and was the only paved road in the village from what I could see. Apart from this were a number of footpaths, which doubled as calles as was the case with most of the villages on the lake. Tzununá is reachable by launch, so there are a couple of restaurants and "holistic" (read: hippie-run) hotels here. I imagine it is probably a very peaceful place to stay: there was no traffic here, and the town was enveloped in flowers and green foliage, with very little of the litter (la basura) which plagued other villages around the lake. I stopped for a quick (and inexpensive) lunch of lake fish and pleasant conversation with the owner of one of the roadside restaurants in the village.
After Tzununá, the dirt trail then heads up through Jaibalito to Santa Cruz. It definitely had a remote feeling, and the blatant stares I received from every local (I am a 6’2" caucasian guy with a sunburn) reminded me that I was very much out of my element. After yet another refresca at yet another tienda, I walked back down to the main road. Along the way, I hooked up with a few Mayan boys on their way to their construction job in San Pedro. Once reaching the road, they took me to an unmarked "bus stop" where we waited for the unofficial "bus service" to arrive. Our ride announced its arrival with a squeal of well-worn brakes. It was a beat-to-hell Nissan 4x4 pick-up truck with rusty steel frame soldered onto the flatbed. The fleet for this "bus service" was made up of such vehicles. I expect they could squeeze 8-12 (Mayan-sized) people in the flatbed, and a seat in the flatbed cost Q 3.50. The trip promised to be fast, judging by the way the driver took corners, but the regularly scheduled afternoon downpour started just as we were taking on more passengers in San Juan. The co-pilot who collected the money passed a dirty tarp back, and we all grabbed onto an edge and held it down for the high-speed, hear-stopping dash to the to San Pedro, which seemed to take an eternity.
Like many towns in Guatemala that now have regular tourist trade, San Pedro has a few language schools offering Spanish lessons. These are not the well-organized language "institutes" found in Costa Rica or Antigua, where savvier, Internet-connected schools offer well-structured courses and the opportunity…Read More
Like many towns in Guatemala that now have regular tourist trade, San Pedro has a few language schools offering Spanish lessons. These are not the well-organized language "institutes" found in Costa Rica or Antigua, where savvier, Internet-connected schools offer well-structured courses and the opportunity to live with a local family. Many schools in Antigua offer not only a language course, but also cultural trips, and even airport pick-up – all at a substantial premium, of course. This is not necessarily a put-down of San Pedro – quite the contrary. It means that learning Spanish in San Pedro can be a far sight cheaper than Antigua. For someone who is willing sort out transportation for themselves from the airport and who wishes to set their own agenda regarding "cultural trips", San Pedro can prove ideal. As with any language school in Guatemala, there is a quality risk. Schools in San Pedro come and go. I would strongly suggest checking them out until you find one you are comfortable with. Ask questions about the courses offered (methodology, number of students), and speak with the teacher to be sure you are comfortable with him/her as well as their proposed course offering. Only then should you start negotiating an agreeable price!
After visiting three different schools, my pick was Casa Rosario, located just up from the embarcadero for Santiago Atitlán-bound boats. Two local teachers, the always-affable Vicente and Samuel, run the school. I explained to Vicente my goals for learning (grammar, conversational Spanish), and he was right on the money in coming up with a course plan for my four week stay: 20 hours of individual instruction per week, plus a room for US$ 50 per week. I could have stayed with a family for US$ 90 per week (including board), but opted for a room at the school. My instructor, 25-year old Jose, was great, and I was conversationally fluent at the end of my stay, tackling advanced grammar (past perfect, past indefinite) and writing essays. The other students are primarily other backpackers, but there were also a few Mayan adult students improving their Spanish as well – which is always a good sign.
I managed to make the most of it - class in the morning, exploring the lake in the afternoon, and studying in peace in the evenings in one of the "open air" classrooms on the unfinished third floor of Casa Rosario with views of the volcano, the village, and the lake. If I needed stimulation, the school’s lounge had a small television hooked up to a satellite dish. Vicente also allowed me to use one of the school’s traditional canoes as used by local fishermen. He would not let me use it until the water on the lake was almost mirror-calm. I found this a little frustrating at first, but I later understood why. The canoe is essentially built for a small Mayan, not a tall Caucasian. The craft is short and squat – requiring you to kneel – with about a 2-inch freeboard. For you non-nautical types, this meant that slightest rocking of the boat to one side or the other, and I would have taken on water. I came ashore caked in black muck to my knees (you have to land in the lagoon), suffering from terrific cramps from maintaining balance on my knees for so long. Despite this, I know that the views from the middle of the lake were something few other travelers would ever enjoy.
The Civil War in Guatemala ended in 1996. There are no physical scars to see anymore, but the emotional scars still run deep. For the casual traveler in Guatemala, it will not be noticeable. For the Mayans I spoke with, the memories and…Read More
The Civil War in Guatemala ended in 1996. There are no physical scars to see anymore, but the emotional scars still run deep. For the casual traveler in Guatemala, it will not be noticeable. For the Mayans I spoke with, the memories and wounds became apparent. This is something I only learned after spending more time in San Pedro. After a few weeks of Spanish classes, my instructor, Jose, opened up to me about it. He explained to me how as a child he cowered in the corner of his parents’ cinder block home at night. Soldiers would noisily amble through the town - sometimes drunk - enforcing curfew and the "lights out" policy. Any home that still had a candle lit was lucky if the soldiers only heaved large rocks onto the corrugated tin roof, producing a terrific clanging. After the war, the soldiers disappeared from San Pedro, as did a number of Mayan civilians all through the Civil War.
In San Pedro la Laguna today, around the corner and down the street from Casa Rosario where I lived and studied was the local headquarters of the Policía Nacional Civil. The PNC had only recently established itself in a two-story villa, and was home to a couple of officers and their 4x4 vehicles. (The PNC was not even founded and deployed until 1999, hence I do not write "re-established".) Jose and a few other villagers I spoke with made it quite clear that they were not altogether happy with the re-introduction of an armed federal presence to the village. The return of the gubierno to San Pedro in this manner was less than ten years after the massacre in neighboring Santiago Atitlán. The Army there had fired on a peaceful street demonstration, killing 14 civilians, and wounding 19 – some of them children. Because of these and other experiences during Guatemala’s long Civil War, even this small handful of cops was not welcome. (There was not even a jail at this police station – the nearest was across the lake above Panajachel in Sololá.) The locals still preferred their own local Mayan constabulary called the Alguacil. Jose explained that the Alguacil still made an appearance occasionally, recognizable by their jackets and long wooden staffs.
An incident that I sadly bore witness to, was the accidental death of a tourist in San Pedro. Two Dutch boys who were my neighbors at the Casa Rosario decided to try out their snorkel equipment in the lagoon in San Pedro. Losing their orientation in the water, they came too close to the embarcadero for the Santiago Atitlán-bound boats. A launch that was arriving at the pier never even saw them, and the prop subsequently mangled one of the boys. Peter immediately went into shock, and attempts to keep him alive failed after 15 minutes. The blood loss was too great, and there were miles of bad road between him and the nearest hospital. There was not even sufficient time for adequate first aid. The PNC was tasked with investigating the accident scene, arresting the launch’s pilot, questioning witnesses, notifying the Dutch Embassy, and transporting the body.
These were all tasks that the Alguacil alone could not have accomplished. Jose and a few other locals admitted as much. Perhaps this leads to a grudging acceptance of the necessity of having some sort of police presence in the village? It is hard to say. The distrust of authority is very great, and too many crimes committed here during the Civil War remain unpunished. And while the PNC may be a shining example of professionalism in this one situation, I have heard stories of police shaking down backpackers for money in other situations (a very simple shakedown where they threaten arrest for drug possession – hardly a baseless accusation in San Pedro!). More seriously, I have also read articles in local newspapers featuring reports of alleged police brutality. I would expect the best advice in a confrontation with the PNC is to treat the officers respectfully, and ask for a receipt for any "fine" you have to pay. This is not a sure-fire solution of course, as one agent who shook me down was happy to sign a scrap of paper confirming my stupidity in paying an additional $10 "tourist tax" for leaving Guatemala at the border with El Salvador.
The Mayans distrust of central authority is only matched by their devotion to religion – be it their own traditions or Christianity. I cannot overemphasize the devotion to Christianity I found in Central America. Mayans religious communities were no exception, and they performed regular religious procession with gusto. Throughout Central America (Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica is where I personally witnessed this), the locals lay down lush green carpets of plant clippings along the center of a main road accentuated with a multi-colored gilding of flower petals. They then stuff themselves into pick-up trucks festooned with balloons and placards, and parade through the town. These Hooray for Jesus Pep Rallies as I called them, were primarily Evangelical and seemed to highlight the local weekly social calendar. In San Pedro, these rallies were naturally smaller in scale, but they did allow the locals to dress up in their bona fide Sunday best and strut their stuff.
I met at least one local who did not participate in these activities and went as far as to disdain them. With disgust, he pointed out to me a number of schools, churches, and buildings in San Pedro that had all been funded by various competing religious denominations. I got the impression from him that post-Civil War San Pedro had been a sort-of sectarian land grab similar to the California Gold Rush. His argument was that these religions would not effectively address all the issues (societal and political) facing San Pedro and the surrounding communities. Political representation and land reform stood at the top of his list. To him, this side of the lake had little political clout and was overshadowed economically by Panajachel and Sololá. Would we really have suffered a power outage every night while they did not if this was not the case? I kept my mouth shut and did not mention the political work and lobbying that many missionaries did on behalf of the Mayans during the Civil War, but he had a point.
Written by srdiamond on 11 Jan, 2006
I just got back from 2 weeks in San Pedro over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Wowza, what a party scene it was! On the dock area, Dnoz is good food, the new pizza place run by true Italians is great, and Allegre Pub…Read More
I just got back from 2 weeks in San Pedro over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Wowza, what a party scene it was! On the dock area, Dnoz is good food, the new pizza place run by true Italians is great, and Allegre Pub is a friendly place to hang. Freedom had a great Christmas Eve party that went til 3am.
On the 'other side' of town is where the bigger parties happened--the new Buddha Bar/ Restaurant has the best chef in town, and the owner, Mike, has really created a hip Asian atmosphere in his 'zen lounge'. But the big events there are the Sunday night parties--the one I went to on Christmas day was totally packed, and I heard it went til 4am on the rooftop dance floor. I went back there for the New Year's party, and obviously, everyone in town was there because you couldn't breathe, it was so packed. They had built this huge video screen on the roof for a video DJ, to go along with the music DJ--it was awesome! I stumbled out at 6am, and it was still going.
San Pedro is a great place and seems to have become a new stopping point for Central American travelers in the last couple of years--just remember to pace yourself, since it is really easy to visit for a few days and stay a few months. That would be really dangerous to your liver--did I mention that this place is dirt-cheap!
Written by Ngibson on 26 Nov, 2002
Water Taxis/Launchas are available at the main pier. Cost depends on what village you are going to - it is about 10q pp per village - so if you are going to San Marcos de Laguna you will pay about 30q per person.
If the excitement…Read More
Water Taxis/Launchas are available at the main pier. Cost depends on what village you are going to - it is about 10q pp per village - so if you are going to San Marcos de Laguna you will pay about 30q per person.
If the excitement of Pana is more than you desire there are many great places to stay in the villages around the lake. Rough Guide has done an excellent job -
in San Marcos we stayed as Posada Shuman. Everyone is still amazed at the very low cost for the really great accomodations.
Crime is high in this area - I've never had any problems - but I keep my wits about me and if it looks shaky, just go another way.