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Suggestions for a weekend away from the lake?

Panajachel...
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Suggestions for a weekend away from the lake?

I'm looking for suggestions for how to spend a weekend - Friday afternoon to Sunday - in between 2 weeks of Spanish classes at Lake Atitlan in San Pedro. We will have already spent a week at Antigua and are planning a visit to Iximche and Chichi market before arriving in San Pedro. I do have several ideas for things to do around the Lake but would love to hear if there is something else I haven't considered. At the Lake, I am thinking about Santiago, seeing the church, Maximon, staying at the Posada where we can relax. Or, Jaibalito, Casa del Mundo with Kayaking, swimming, hiking, relaxing.

But, should I be considering a weekend in Xela? Or is there somewhere else that I haven't even considered? I'd love to hear about somewhere reasonably easy to get to that would be a different experience than the Lake. Doesn't have to be relaxing if it is adventurous. We could leave after lunch on Friday and return to San Pedro Sunday evening.

Thanks in advance!

7 replies to this topic
The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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1. Re: Suggestions for a weekend away from the lake?

I'd find out what the Cooperativa has planned for an activity for Saturday; one of my favorites is the hike to the top of Indian Nose. It's quite a hike - I think the top is pushing 10,000 - but the view is gorgeous. The wonderful gardener at the Coop, Delfino, guides that hike sometimes. Here's a blog post about it:

flickr.com/photos/…

You'll that we hiked from San Juan to the top, then down the other side for market day in Santa Clara - nice market. Then by colectivo and tuktuks back to San Pedro.

Sunday is a great day to visit Santiago because of church and the market. Frankly, it's nice to keep your options open and not fill every day. If either of you don't feel so great or just need some down time, strolling around San Pedro or neighboring San Juan is an easy way to pass the time. Sunday is a big market day in San Pedro, too.

Here's another thing to look into: Corazon del Bosque. www.corazondelbosque.com/Portal/Home.aspx

I arranged for a traditional meal, a Maya spiritual ceremony, and a traditional temascal (Maya sauna) for my group there in 2009. They have cute cabins with good birding (I've read) and hiking trails.

Personally, I wouldn't consider heading to Xela for just a night or 2. I'm not much of a city person and Xela isn't all that atmospheric imo. There are some interesting villages surrounding it but you wouldn't have much time to explore. Just my 2 cents' worth! Happy trails!

Lake Atitlan
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2. Re: Suggestions for a weekend away from the lake?

Hopefulist has great suggestions, including not planning anything specific but just relaxing and enjoying the beauty of Lake Atitlan. It is surprising how many people neglect to "schedule" some free time.

If you are a birder, you will find great birding at Las Tarrales Nature Reserve. It will require a little logistics to get there, but it is not too far from San Pedro. Las Tarrales is located on the back side of the Atitlan Volcano at 2200 ft. above sea level. The birding guides are world-class, and of course the best bird watching is at sunrise. Happy Planning.

Panajachel...
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3. Re: Suggestions for a weekend away from the lake?

For a change from the lake head to Fuentes Georginas (hot springs) just outside Zunil which is just outside Xela! Either a day trip or better still stay over night - hardly ever anyone there and nothing like soaking in a hot pool of water star gazing!! then hike down to Zunil (about 2 hours), check out Zunil and then head for Xela for the night. all this can be done by public chicken bus. Or get a shuttle to Xela then onto a chicken bus to Zunil and pick up up to the hot springs. It is cold there at night though!!

Panajachel...
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4. Re: Suggestions for a weekend away from the lake?

Thanks for the suggestions. I will have an 18 year old with me, so I want to have a collection of ideas/adventures that will keep her happy. I am very good at hanging out in hammocks and relaxing, but she may need more. I'm also not a big fan of weekending in my homestays as I tend to need some independence after 5 days "en casa." These are three locations I had not considered yet. I work with a few people who do their Spanish immersion courses in Xela and love it there, but I'm also not a city person, so Chuckswade's suggestion may give us just enough of a touch but also include the nature reserve aspect. Thanks again.

Laure

Port Richey, Florida
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5. Re: Suggestions for a weekend away from the lake?

I second that suggestion from Chuckswade as an option. Zunil is not more than 30 minutes from Xela with lots of buses and mini-buses going by.

BC
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6. Re: Suggestions for a weekend away from the lake?

I have answered your PM, but wanted to add. If you do go to Xela, we had a great time visiting Trama Textiles for their weaving demonstration. I am klutzy with such things, but it was fascinating to find out about all the steps. Such talented ladies. Check whether they are there on the weekends, though.

I also wanted to say, we travelled from Xela to Pana. However, on the other forum someone said I should instead travel Xela to San Pedro. Glad I didn't take that advice. We met some young ladies who did that route and their shuttle took something like 8 hours, due to construction delays, which meant they missed the last public boat to come to Jaibalito, which is where we met them.

Panajachel...
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7. Re: Suggestions for a weekend away from the lake?

Yikes - poor women!

Never go to San Pedro by land! It is always easier and quicker to go to Pana and then get the boat (30-45 mins)!!!

but also forgot to mention about the Pacific Coast! Shuttles from Pana go to Monterrey and pretty easy to go for 2 nights! And it will be even easier and quicker once they finish re-surfacing the road between San Lucas Toliman and Cocales on the PanAmericana!!

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