Mandy and Jon's Journey 2005 travel blog

San Pedro, and the grand Lago Atitlan.

Notice which of these men is holding his back....

Very, very concerned about their hair, these young ladies of San Pedro.

View from atop our hotel in San Pedro. A big pile'o coffee...

When not cooking, carrying loads on their heads and babies on their...

Hard not to befriend little Antonio, who played with his purple car...

Travelers enjoying the dock and afternoon sun at our hostel. Mandy and...

Dusk on the calm waters of Atitlan.

Once coffee beans are dried, they are washed and bagged. Have no...


We have been on the lake for several days now, and plan on staying at least a few more. Our plan for Guatemala, because we only have a few weeks here, is to not feel rushed. It would be easy to get caught up in the running from place to place, seeing all there is to see in marathon style. As an alternative we have opted to choose only a handful of places and do our best to get to know each one a little bit. It's hard not to be a tourist when you are one, and even though our trip will look a little like how-to-see-guatemala-in-three-weeks-without-missing-the-good-stuff we think that relaxing a bit and letting the country soak in here and there will be a better experience than jumping from tour van to tour boat and back again. After our pleasant time in Antigua, the lake has been a great place to continue our acquaintance with the country.

Only a couple hours east of Antigua, the lake is situated in the highlands and was formed by a collapsed volcano many years ago. It has a strong Mayan history and remains a cultural center for the western Mayan tribes, who historically remained autonomous from (if not hostile towards) the great Mayan kingdoms near Tikal up north and Yucatan. Today the Mayan women, and the men in certain aspects and in certain villages, still wear their traditional dress and the remnants of Mayan religion can be witnessed. Their love of color makes Guatemala one of the most joyous countries to experience. You get the sense, as one might expect, that all the color does wonders for their outlook on life and the complexion of their hearts. They are certainly the friendliest people we have met so far. They drive a hard bargain, be sure, and if you want to take a photo of them, they're not opposed to making you drops a few Quetzals in their hand first. But they also get you in the good habit of looking passersby in the eye and smiling a 'Buenas Dias' or 'Buenas Tardes' as you go on your way.

San Pedro, our home while we're here, is a much different place than Antigua. There is a pleasant integration between the many tourists, students and the local population. The food is the best we've had anywhere and it is by far the least expensive of our destinations. Let this entry be only an introduction to the lake and look forward to additional postings that might tell a story, or two. We think you must be bored with all this 'We went here for breakfast..' and 'The bus ride was long and bumpy..'

or 'We have been on the lake for several days now.......



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