Day 3, Central America trip, Dec 2012
Day 3, Lake Atitlan, San Pedro village, Guatemala
After spending 2 nights in Antigua, Guatemala to recoup from my flights across the 2 U.S. coasts with long layover; today, I have arrived in the village of San Pedro in lake Atitlan (Lago de Atitlan in Spanish) in the Western highland of Guatemala. Hailed as “the most beautiful lake in the world” by famous author Aldous Huxley has inspired many travelers to visit the region, including myself.
I must admit that I knew nothing about lake Atitlan nor Guatemala prior to my trip to Central America, except for an old song that shared a name with the country, Guatemala. But then…..somehow a picture of one of the lake’s dock miraculously came up during one of my Google search and I casually add it to my perhaps someday “wanderlust” list. Little did I know that my desire to wander to lake Atitlan, Guatemala turned into realization sooner than I had thought of.
This volcanic lake is ringed by more than 24 Mayan villages (San Pedro, San Juan, San Marcos, Santa Cruz, Jaibalito, San Jorge, San Lucas, Santiago, etc…) with a few are favorites among backpackers. Each of the village around the lake carry a different vibe and often have specialty products or unique arts and crafts specific of the village. Panajachel is known as the most touristy and serve as the base for traveling around the lake to neighboring villages.
A more off the beaten path, laid back smaller town with a hippy vibe town is San Pedro. It is also known as the “naughty town” or the “marijuana capital” of the lake due to its active night life with lots of parties where other towns are nature or meditation oriented and much more quiet.
I am currently calling San Pedro “home” for the next few weeks. I hoped you didn’t frown at my choosing San Pedro because it is known as “the naughty town”. Besides the hippy stuff, San Pedro also have many Spanish language schools. My school of choice: Casa Rosario simply happens to be in San Pedro.
Since San Pedro is less touristy than Panajachel and obviously less souvenir shops and more Spanish language schools. San Pedro is among the top destination to study Spanish in Guatemala besides Antigua and Xela. Using any of the village as a base, you can visit any other village around the lake as a day trip.