It was me and Hannah today and we planned to take a bus to lake Atitlan. There were numerous villages around the lake, each with a different reputation. Panajachel was the rich tourist hangout, Santiago Atitlan was for the culture hunter, San Pedro was for party people, San Marco was the hippie spot etc… I have heard it’s a beautiful place though infested by tourism. So the plan was to go there, hangout with the guys for a few days and travel on.
The bus showed up around 9 and I got my bike packed up on the roof and hit the road. Having a bike is not a good recipe for destination tourism, but I suppose I can make exceptions for special cases. It was a 3+ hour ride up to the town of San Pedro, which was the only bus available to us that could take the bike. We figured we could get into town and find a better spot to stay in.
The roads were super steep going into the lake and I was not sure I’d want to ride up these hills to go out. But that’s a decision for another day. We eventually got into town and numerous touts showed up and offered to find hostels. It was pretty off putting for me to be in a spot with so much touting. Ah well, take it as it comes I reckon.
While in the route, the Bus driver rode under a low gantry and I heard the bike get bashed. On inspection I found that the handlebar took the beating (luckily the wheels were good) and brake levers were out of place. I complained to the driver who seemed to feel annoyed by that. I figured there was no point confronting given the bike wasn’t too damaged and just asked him to be careful in the future.
We walked around the main tourist drag, which was pretty shitty, and akin to any sleazy 3rd world party town anywhere in the world. Just makes me want to puke watching the way people go on about in these places. We tried to walk out of this street and as we turned a few corners, we were in quiet roads with some vegetable farms and some local homes. We ended up finding a small bamboo grove and upon inspection, found that the guy had built a couple of tree houses and we could actually stay there. I negotiated the price down to 20Q per person, which was pretty sweet indeed.
We caught up with Alex and Julia in the evening and they had a bit of a tourism rip-off story of their own. Guess this place is a trap after all. We walked around the town, the proper one up in the hills which was a quaint place. I enjoyed watching the people go about their jobs and children playing around in the park. I grabbed a few tostadas along the street which was priced nominally at 3q each. Felt like I was in real Guatemala.
There are mountains all around and I guess I might take in a hike or two. The legs been sore from the hike and I suppose a bit of rest would help too.
Route: Antigua to San Pedro (Atitlan)
Distance: 0 km (yay!)
Ascent: 0 m
Descent: 0 m
Expenses: $ 16.06
Comment: What are the chances of finding a Tree house in a party town. Hmmm.