Lago Atitlan, Guatemala

There's a direct line connecting Chiapas to Guatemala and this route passes right through San Cristobal and Lago Atitlan crossing the border in "La Mesilla". First of all be prepared to spend hrs at the customs, and then on the bus on the streets of Guatemala; you'll be watching astonishing landscapes but the ride is simply gonna take for ever.

I arrived on the shore of Lago Atitlan at night in this little town called Panajachel and spent that night in a super cheap hostel called Santo Domingo...I wouldn't recommend it but I didn't want to waste time asking around only for one night. The day after my friend Josè and I went to the pier and jumped on the first lancha to San Marcos (they'll charge you 25q but try to bargain to 20)! Around the lake you can find several towns but this is as far as I know the most unspoiled and hippest place. The streets here are tiny and full of sparkling life and my best tip is to buy fruit and food from here and try to avoid restaurants. I stayed at the San Marcos hostel for 25 Q in a dorm with shared bathroom, but be prepared to wait for hrs to take a shower because I don't know why but somedays the water will be missing.

Talking about things to do here I really recommend to rent a kayak first of all, and then try to have a walk around the wonderful mountains surrounding the lake. Everybody will be telling you that it's dangerous and that there will be people hiding in the bush waiting for you to rob you, but trust's totally safe, they only want you to hire a guide (I wouldn't bring anything valuable with me just to be sure).

I also had a wonderful trek following the shore of the lake from San Marcos to San Pablo passing through San's a 5 hrs walk but it took me 6 and a half just because I stopped talking to the many campesinos working on the many plantations. Unforgettable!
In case you might need some craziness and want to escape from the quite San Marcos, on the other side of the lake you can find the way more touristic and loud San Pedro with its many bars and cheap hostels (mallet might be a good choice), but the reason why I spent some time in this town was just to climb the San Pedro volcano, a 6 hrs trek I suggest only to well trained people but to all nature lovers. I wasn't so lucky because when we reached the top it was all cloudy and couldn't enjoy the view, but still it was a good day of sport deepen in a lush environment.

Basically San Marcos la laguna is a place of mystic energies and good vibes, where you can enjoy your days chilling out on a pier bathing every once in a while and reading a book, or you can take part to the many activities the hippies organize related to yoga and oriental manners, or you can just enjoy what the landscape offers and get the best out of it. It's up to can only choose!


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