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Friday, April 20, 2012

Panajachel, Guatemala

I have said before that traveling with pets is a blessing and a curse. And when you want to travel inland, it is only a curse. Many cruisers we have spoken with who have pets have agreed that as much as we love them, they are a hindrance to our traveling. You can’t take them on the buses, you can’t leave them alone on the boat for long, you can’t guarantee that you’ll find someone to babysit or that your pet won’t rebel at being left and chew up or pee on something valuable belonging to the babysitter. It is a difficult challenge.

To our great fortune, we found a permanent home for Bad Kitty. A lovely woman on one of the islands agreed to take Bad Kitty, hoping that eventually that the cat will be sleeping in bed with her and her dogs. I don’t know about that one, but I truly think Bad Kitty will be much happier as a land cat – pouncing on unsuspecting locusts and wrestling the greatest of grasshoppers.

I love the ladies walking with their wares on their heads!

Church in Panajachel with tuk-tuk (cheap taxi service) driving by

Watermelon eating girl and indigenous people in background
And our timing couldn’t have been better. A van heading to Guatemala with 7 of our cruising friends aboard had room for 4 more. For $100 (including tip), we found transport to Panajachel, Guatemala for all 4 of us straight from Bahia del Sol.

It took about 7 hours, good roads and easy border crossing. No extra costs since El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua share the same Visa-free land travel. It is different if you are travelling by sea.

Smiling family climbing steep cobble stone street
San Juan


All the pretty colors!
Panajachel’s climate was so much cooler than in Bahia del Sol. It rained frequently, but not all day. Unfortunately, that also meant cloud coverage – not great for photos. But the vibrant colors of the souvenirs bursted through the images anyway: bags, jewelry, hats, wooden sculptures, woven baby booties, huipils and smiling people.

We found El Amigo Hotel– small, clean, private bath and 3 doubles for $24US (yes, we negotiated). Breakfasts nearby are very affordable - $3US including coffee. We found the vendors to be easily talked down from their original price of items. I bought a gorgeous hand woven table runner for $11US - gorgeous! The bidding began at 250Q ($33US). We negotiated a tour of the 3 pueblos across the lake for 300Q ($40US) and got to spend time in each for 1 1/2 hours each... Santiago, San Pedro and San Juan.

All the lake towns we visited were very touristy - lots of Europeans and North Americans come to study Spanish and laze away the days all the while enjoying the beautiful views of the 3 surrounding volcanoes.

I'll have more photos tomorrow...

1 comment:

  1. We loved travelling through Guatemala--we went from the Rio Dulce side though. Chichicastenango was one of my favs--so pretty to arrive for the market in the morning.
    No more Bad Kitty! Give our condolences to Carolyne.