San Pedro la Laguna

San Pedro la Laguna

San Pedro La Laguna is in Guatemala. It is a fairly laid back small town located across Lake Atitlán from Panajachel. A major mochilero (backpacker) hub. Great food, small and walkable, and safe. Expect anything touristy to be priced touristically.

Get in

If arriving by bus, you will be dropped off in the center of town, next to the market. Most hotels are located near the lake so you'll need to make your way downhill to find the hotels. When arriving in San Pedro by boat, you'll be greeted by people offering you hotels, kayaks, horseback rides, taxis and drugs. This can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming. If you get them to lead you to a hotel, the hotel owner normally pays them a commission (normally 5Q per person) based on the number of people who arrive and stay. Some hotels don't pay them a commission so the they will try to get you to go to a hotel that does. The price of the hotel room sometimes becomes more expensive if you let the tout follow you, because the owner has to pay him for supposedly bringing you to the hotel. However,if you already know the location of your hotel it is best to tell the guide that you do not need his help, or inform the hotel owners that the guide merely followed you. The guides may also ask for a large tip. If you want to avoid the touts by the Panajachel dock, you can also ask a fellow tourist or in one of the stores or restaurants nearby, most of them will be happy to tell you how to get to your hotel. The TukTuk (taxi) drivers will try to get you to go to the Hotel San Francisco, which is the furthest away from the main dock. There is no need to take a taxi to your hotel. All hotels take 1-10 minutes to walk to from the main dock. If you take the first left after getting off the dock, there are a lot of hotels along that road. After walking a couple of minutes, just past a tienda, there is a small alley on your right with a lot of signs for restaurants, bars and hotels (you'll notice signs for ZooLa and Al Suave). This is the way to the "main trail", where most tourists are; it widens after the first stretch, follow the paving. At Al Suave, make a left for Jarachik, Buddha and El Barrio bars, hot tubs, and other attractions.

The official San Pedro's tourist guides association (ASOANTUR) is located right next to the Panajachel dock and can provide you with anything, from basic directions to complete full coffee tour around the volcano. One of their youngest guides, Diego, speaks perfect english and can basically fix any of your touristy needs.

By bus

By boat

See

To enjoy the great views around the lake, use the village guides as the foliage can be dense and the route can be tricky to find. Like anywhere you might travel, San Pedro has many roads that cut into hidden areas and so on, witch could be dangerous so it is best to hire a guide as you hike. There are many of them in San Pedro, and they work for more than reasonable rates. They are friendly, and will gladly find you a horse to ride also. There is much to see from kayak also, and there are available rentals at 10Q/hour if you choose to travel by water alongside the coastline.

Do

Another popular location for hiking is Indian Nose, or Mayan Face (Nariz de Indio o Cara Maya). For both locations a guide is recommended, if for nothing else, personal safety.

Trek for Kids is a local hiking company that pays their guides fair wages and uses their proceeds to help local children pay for their schooling.

San Pedro La Laguna has begun to establish itself as another language school center around the Atitlán Lake as the beautiful location drawing more and more students each year. Quality of instruction is varied so you might want to shop around. The people of this area speak Tz' utujil as there primary language. They learn Spanish in school which gives them the advantage of knowing the process of learning the language. They also have a noticeably technical way of speaking that is easy to learn as it is simple to understand. Some to check are Flor Del Maiz Orbita Cooperativa Corazon Maya , Casa Rosario , San Pedro Spanish School , and Elmer Cortez Spanish School.

Private lessons are also available at reasonable rates. Jennifer, a qualified local teacher, has an office located just past Buddha Bar on the main trail, and comes highly recommended. "Clases Privadas 'Fe'" offers teachers with significant experience, materials, and activities all included in a very reasonable price. They can be very flexible with scheduling during the off-season, and will tailor lessons to your interests & needs.

-Allegre Pub (located at the main intersection by the Pana dock) shows movies nightly at 7:30PM on the rooftop terrace

-Amadaeus (on the main road, down from Allegre if heading to the main trail) shows movies nightly at 5:30PM and 7:30PM

-D´Noz (by the Pana dock) Is one of the original traveler restaurants in San Pedro La Laguna and has great breakfast, lunch and dinners with free wireless internet. They also show free movies nightly at 8:30PM. When you get to town stop here first and get some great tips on where to stay and whats going on. Closed Sunday.

-Bistro Nueve Sol (main trail, past El Barrio heading to the Santiago dock) shows movies and documentaries nightly at 7:30PM. Closed Sunday.

Buy

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Basic accommodation is easily found when you arrive as you will likely be approached at the dock. Average pricing is 50Q. Some specific places include:

Connect

Free WiFi

Pricing

The prices in most of food stores, everyday consumables, have fixed prices. Fixed prices may also be found in the public buses (chicken buses). However, stores and street vendors selling art or craftwork expect people to engage in bargaining. Arriving at an agreeable price is simply part of the process, and you congratualate yourself on your bargaining abilities. The same holds true in the market place in San Pedro, and indeed throughout Guatemala.

However, not all prices are subject to bargaining. For example, hotel rooms, and shuttle buses. All hotels and tour companies must register their services and their prices with INGUATE, the national tourism board, and must pay taxes based on those prices. Remember, the business owners are no different from other business owners around the world. They have loans to pay off, investments to recuperate etc,. Remember, "Act locally, but think globally."

Go next

The best way to get to Antigua is to take a minibus. Minibuses are available at 8:30a.m. in front of the travel agency, Maya Tztujil. It is best to book your space at least one day in advance. At Maya Tzutujil it only costs 50Q. There is also another one that leaves from in front of Casa Verde every day at 9:30Am. It costs 70 Q and takes about 3 hours, including a 15 minute restroom break. With a group you might negotiate the price till 50Q. It is best to buy your ticket the day before you leave, at Casa Verde, the green building near the main dock. (Tel: 58379092) There is a travel agency inside. They use newer Toyota minibuses.

This is cheaper and faster than paying 25Q to take a boat to Panajachel, and then 70Q to get from Panajachel to Antigua.

The cheapest way to get in/out are the buses leaving to Xela Monday till Saturday mornings at 4:30, 5, 5:30, 6, 7, 8:00 and 11AM across the street from the Catholic church downtown (top of the hill) 20-30Q, or to Guate (Guatemala City) other hours starting from 3AM. if travelling to Antigua let the bus attendant know where you are going and he will let you know where to change buses in Chimaltenango.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 20, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.