resides in front of the gorgeous Lago de Atitlán, and it’s three volcanoes Volcán Atitlán, Volcán San Pedro, and Volcán Tolimán. I remember vividly encountering this place as a teenager. Buses would drive down these narrow roads with ease around sharp curves, traversing down from Solola to pana.
<3 This trip had dual purpose, one to show this beautiful place to Avi, second to also make contact with an amazing non-profit named Niños del Lago, but more on that in pt 4. <3
Unfortunately due to some under estimation of the love of my family and their desire to invite me everywhere, My initial two days planned to pana was cut down to one.
After a three hour bus ride from the city we arrived in Panajachel. It was so great to be back on calle Santander, seeing all the shops selling typical Mayan items, smelling the aroma of food from the numerous restaurants, and seeing the lake in all its beauty.
Prior to this entire trip I had put a post on couchsurfing asking if anyone could recommend hotels in Antigua and panajachel.
As always couchsurfing didn’t let me down. Within days I had responses from travelers/locals recommending their favorite spots.
When it came down to the hotel we checked out a few of the spots recommended, but the hotel we finally decided on was the beautiful Hotel dos Mundos.
The hotel was located right on the main street and looked like a tropical escape. For one night at Dos Mundos we payed 410 quetzals ($62 ) a steal in my eyes for a great place.
Again we strolled around the town admiring the scenery and people around us.
This brief trip couldn’t have been any better and I had completed my wish to show Avi two places I love, both of which she enjoyed very much!
So after coming back from panajchel we had one day of rest and it was onto our next destination, but first some of the experience before the next destination….
Having driven in many locations around the world I have grown quite comfortable with the idea of driving a vehicle internationally. All of my time in Guatemala prior to this trip was traveled through buses (which I still prefer). On this trip that would change, I would get my first opportunity to drive in the hectic driving environment that is Guatemala City!
I have heard from various family members and Guatemalan friends of the avoidance to drive, specifically in the city. The rules of the road are disregarded, think NYC but more, way more potholes!
Transportation was often a subject we discussed when heading to our destinations, some family suggested buses others suggested driving. When it came time to plan how we would get to Xeutlul both were discussed but we decided on driving.
The way this was going to work , I would drive my cousins (Karen) car, and my cousin Alejandro would drive his vehicle.
Karen whose car I was borrowing would have to be picked up thirty minutes in a small town just outside the city (she owns the car but is fearful of driving it in the city, so she still uses buses…..yes it’s that hectic!). So I set out with Jose (another cousin) to retrieve the car. When we arrived I got in the car, and it was time to put my skills to the test.
I can honestly say I was nervous , but there was no time to be nervous, it was time to drive into the city!
As we got out of the small town we landed right onto a busy road, and it was now time to test my driving skills.
My cousin and I zoomed and maneuvered through the streets, cars zipping in and out of lanes, avoiding potholes and buses. It was more of a rush than anything, for many years I had built up this scenario, but when I finally did it, I can say it wasn’t as tough as I had once believed.
It added yet another check off my never ending life list of things to do!
We headed out from the city for the three hour journey to Retalhuleu, after some minor stops, we arrived in the late evening. The weather in this area is extremely warm, so naturally we all headed to the pools for a late night swim(recommendation from younger cousins).
We relaxed poolside until they closed at 11pm. We headed back to our rooms and after the kids were asleep, my cousins and I stayed up for some drinks. The next morning we set out early for the pools again (this time it was HOT!) After playing in the pools all morning we headed to the park.
Strolling through this resort was amazing, we saw parrots, a jaguar, and other exotic animals on the premises, and the scenery was amazing!
We entered Xetulul in the early afternoon and had a fun filled day enjoying all it had to offer.
Enjoying ourselves after our slated departure date we tried to secure a room for another night, to our surprise the place was completely booked, so we packed up and headed back for a late night drive back to the city.
The days remaining in Guatemala were spent celebrating our birthdays, and enjoying quality time with family.
Throughout this whole trip all I could do is look on and be overjoyed.
Overjoyed that my daughter finally made it to Guatemala, and enjoyed every bit of it!
I had fulfilled my promise to show her this amazing country and for that reason this trip was truly unlike any other!