Traveling on a Dime: Atitlan

From Hotel Atitlan
Lake Atitlan has been rated as one of the most beautiful lakes on the world and in fact, it is listed on the one thousand places to see before you die.
Well, this destination does not have to break the bank, unless you want it to.

Of course, there are luxury buses to Atitlan, and there are even helicopter rides for those of you who don’t want to get to close to the masses.
but Eli prefers it his way. Taking a chicken bus from Guatemala City to Atitlan shouldn’t cost you more than Q35. this buses only run twice or three times a day, but if you missed it, there are still options. for Q25, you can take any of the buses going to Guatemala’s Highlands; Quiche, Totonicapan, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, etc, you just get off at the Los Encuentros junction. Here there are small buses that would take you to Solola, Solola for the modest sum of Q5. From the city of Solola, you can get on another of those buses en route to Panajachel, which will cost you about Q5. Done! You have arrive to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world!
Staying there doesn’t have to be expensive too, again, unless you want it.
Price of accommodations run from the most luxurious hotels at $400 per night, to the Eli’s hotels that go for about 30-60 quetzales. Eli gets a beautiful and clean hotel room with a nice bed, private shower and A.C. for Q60.
There is so much to do around the lake, so try to spend as little time in your hotel room as possible.
If you don’t like walking, tuc tucs would take you around the city for Q5. Walk, you get to see so much when you do!

El Mariposario
This beautiful butterfly sanctuary is located right at the entrance to the town of Panajachel and the entrance fee is Q60. You won’t be disappointed! They have a nice setup where you can take a short hike trough this mountain full of Coatis and Spider-monkeys. They are very friendly and they get close to tourist expecting to be fed. So make sure you bring some fruit for those nice guys. The hike will take you through a maze of hanging bridges, a beautiful scenery.

Not far from El Mariposario there is a botanical garden highly recommended by many at Hotel Atitlan. I really love the way they do things! Entrance fee to the botanical garden is Q50, but it is reimbursed on anything you buy at their restaurant. A drink at their restaurant is about Q45, so basically your entrance fee comes with a free drink and believe me, they are beautiful.
And: I’ve been to the most exclusive restaurants and hotels in Guatemala and this one is above them all. it has really impressed me with their professionalism and attentiveness. Trust me, you are treated as royalty at this hotel’s restaurant!

Boat trips to any of the towns around the lake will cost you Q50 round trip. Pick any of the towns for a quick visit and you’ll love it there.

Shh, keep this a secret.
Society in the towns around the lake is very open minded and they have come to accept the use of different recreational drugs, as long as no one causes trouble.
In fact, finding illicit drugs won’t be difficult on these streets. A young boy, no more than 13 years old, might offer you a plastic bag a third full of Marijuana for Q50.

And finally, food.
There are hundreds of restaurants on Calle Santander. Pizza places are dominant, I’ve no idea why there are so many pizza places here. Could someone enlighten me?
But at night you got to try street food, very good quality and great prices, you can buy a beer and sit on a corner to enjoy your street food.

A two day trip to Atitlan from Guatemala City or La Antigua Guatemala will run you for about 600 Quetzales, something like $80 U.S. Dollars. and you can check that of your things to do before I die list.

© 2014, Eli Orozco. All rights reserved.

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  • NYChapin

    Great shots Eli, looks like it was a fun visit.
    Enlighten you say? I can’t believe you can not make the connection between all the pizza places and the abundant “mota” that you gratuitously mentioned.

    • Perhaps Elí did make the connection since he did mention all the pizza places. I am sure he knows. 😉

      • Elí Orozco

        Trust me on this, I really had no idea until you two mentioned it.
        Now it all makes sense. And no, I did not get any, despite being Q50 for a quarter of a pound.

        • Hahaha, I guess that Elí knows where to get oregano for Q50/quaterpound for his pizzas.

          • Elí Orozco

            Ha ha, Rudy knows all the uses for that “oregano..”

          • Elí Orozco

            Ha ha, Rudy knows all the uses for that “oregano..”