Guatemala Part II: Lake Atitlan

134_2642Virginia was adamant.

At the dock in Panajachel, the major town on Lake Atitlan, we hauled our luggage down the stony grade where the ferry boats were moored. And were met by a fellow intent on getting us quickly to our hotel. And the only way to get to any hotel, any village, anywhere on the lake, was by boat.

“Twenty-five U.S. dollars and you are at hotel in fifteen minutes.”

“No, thank you. We’ll take the public ferry. Gracias.”

“You will wait one hour, maybe more!”

“It’s a nice day. The public ferry is six dollars. We’ll wait.”

Ten minutes later we were on the public ferry with all the locals, mostly Mayans in traditional dress, hip to hip, sailing across the lake. 134_2632-001 Ten minutes after that we pulled onto the dock that serves as entrance to Casa Del Mundo. 134_2644 Here, this will give you a better idea of what it means to land a boat at your hotel:

Perched on the side of a very steep cliff, the hotel was a wonder in every way: architectural, engineering, design aesthetic, and hospitality. We fell in love the moment we arrived. But love is often cruel: We then had to walk 100+ steps up, up, and up. Just to get to the lobby. Luckily, our room was just above, only another twenty or so steps. Casa Del Mundo is a magical place. The grounds are lush, wild, as if you were making your way through a well-tended jungle. Which we later found out from the (American) owner that is exactly how he and his (Guatemalan) wife planned it.

We got to the top of the stairs, fumbled our way into our room, and were taken by surprise once again. There was just no way to prepare for the view from the balcony.

Yeah, I guess we’ll keep this room if we have to. Virginia loved the decor, very Guatemalan but not kitschy, filled with artwork, fabrics, masks,  textiles and tile work with all the vivid native colors and textures. 134_2659Outside our room was a courtyard with an amazing view of the lake front on east side of the hotel. That’s someone’s house in the distance. 134_2659-002Inside had large windows and comfortable beds, chairs, tables…and all with views. 134_2659-003 Of course, this was the best view, morning, noon or night.IMG_1326 Plus, we had a friend who helped keep the bathroom clean.

We swam. IMG_1340

 

We kayaked.

 

From Casa Del Mundo, this is where we hiked to.

 

We hiked.

From Casa Del Mundo, this ridgetop Mayan village was the destination we were determined to get to. 134_2639

We made it! The Mayan village in Santa Cruz.

But then we had to hike back! We thought we had it rough until we saw these women and children resting along side the road. As you will see, others took the easy way back to the village. Tuk tuk!

Post-hike, much well-earned snoozing was involved. After we rested and explored the majestic, sacred lake for almost five days, we decided to take a day trip. That’s when things turned strange. So much so that I have to stop here. I need to break out another post, just for our experience in the town of Chichicastenango, home of the largest and oldest running outdoor market in Central America. Things went from odd to bizarre while we were in the bazaar. You’re not going to believe some of the things we heard about and saw there. Mayan priests, medicine men, blood sacrifices. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! Kidding. It is coming in the next post. Stay tuned. Please?

About ragingtraveler

Hello there! Welcome to this crazy little blog of mine. The title is a reference to the famous Dylan Thomas poem, "Do not go gentle into that good night" (but rage against the dying of the light, etc. -- I drank a shot of Jameson's whisky in his honor at the White Horse pub in New York City a while back, a place where it is said he drank 18 shots of Jameson and died that night at 39; but that's another story.) And as Thomas declares in the poem, and if you are anything like me, you will not give up. You will not fade away. You will not go gentle into that good night. You will rage against the dying of of the light. You want to explore everything this life has to offer before we are dragged off, kicking and screaming, to that next Great Adventure. So let's see what this adventure is all about, shall we? Hey, along with my wife Virginia and our faithful dog, Wyatt Earp Clark (don't ask; it is supposed to be 'ironic'), we just moved to Portugal! For a year. Call it a gap year for geezers; an experiment in grey; an are-you-crazy-or-what-senior-meltdown -- call it whatever you like, but this is our way of stepping out of our comfort zone, not settling in for life's last stand. Call it brave or foolish (or a little of both), we are committed to taking a peek around every corner we can. While we still can. Care to join us? Welcome aboard, matey! View all posts by ragingtraveler

4 responses to “Guatemala Part II: Lake Atitlan

  • leggypeggy

    Thanks for the introduction to Guatemala. It’s on my to-visit list and this makes it all the more tempting. I’ll be sure to wait for the public ferry.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Lisa Bardack

    This place is gorgeous! I am so happy for you and Virginia, that you have the freedom to travel like this (though I know you paid your dues to get there.) On that note, I do have to say that it is hard for me to follow your blog, as I become sad, lovingly jealous and aware of the heavily domestic period of time in which I find myself. Travel such as this isn’t in the cards for me for a good while, though I so long for it. Oy! I pray that the day will come when I will be able to once again explore beautiful places such as this. Divertirse!!!!

    Like

    • ragingtraveler

      Hey there Lisa! So glad you stopped by to check out this not-very-well-run blog! But despite you being in a domestic pinch at this time, it is important to remember: it is all changing all the time. I’m living proof that what may at one moment seem like a rut, turns into a groove, shifts out into a swirl, bounces into catapult, and sends you into careening out into the future, ready or not. And who is ever ready? I’ve always been given two choices in these situations. Resist. Or swing with it. Amazing how a forced smile actually has to loosen at some point, it relaxes and becomes the thing it was fighting against. I just believe you are going to find yourself on the trail of a great adventure sooner than you think. In the meantime, big hugs coming your way!

      Like

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