Having one day off per week means I appreciate my free time a lot more than I used to! We usually try to plan ahead so we both have the same day free, and yesterday, we drove to Panajachel on Lake Atitlan since it’s only about 2 hours from Antigua. The drive is really pretty and it’s interesting to see how life looks in the different villages and towns (especially since it looks so drastically different from our own daily life).
For those that aren’t familiar, Lake Atitlan is the deepest lake in Central America and is surrounded by three volcanoes (Atitlan, Toliman, San Pedro). There are many different villages surrounding the lake, and you will see most people still wearing traditional Guatemala dress. The largest town is called Panajachel, which is also the easiest to access. Many of the towns are accessible only by boat, usually via Panajachel. Tourists who visit here often climb the volcanoes, explore the different towns, shop in the incredible markets for textiles, attend yoga retreats, etc.
(Image via La Fortuna)
I spent the entire drive with a coffee and a sleeping puppy on my lap (I’ve been impressed that almost every coffee shop I’ve been to has almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, etc.)
After about 2 hours, we started to descend into Panajachel (no, this view never gets old)
Maya woke up around this time and insisted on sticking her head out the window and feeling the breeze in her hair
This was the first time we had been back to Atitlan since our honeymoon! If you visit, stay at La Fortuna. They are a 5 minute boat ride from Panajachel, and their unique rooms resemble the luxury tree houses in Bali.
(Image via La Fortuna)
Our first stop in Pana was a Korean coffee shop called Cafe Loco that I had read about in Vogue. It has a hipster vibe with dream-catchers hanging everywhere, including a huge one in the entrance.
I had espresso over ice, which was served in a glass measuring cup ( I told you, hipster).
We shopped around the market in Pana. I loved the bags below!
The patterns are a little different than what you find in Antigua. A lot of pinks and purples, and since I love these patterns in pastel colors, I had to buy the top below (called a Huipil). It was about Q125, which is $16. Pretty good since I’m positive you could sell some of these in Anthroplogie for $100 or more! A lot of people hang these on their walls at home, or frame them, too.
We stopped at Sunset Cafe for a snack and some drinks (Gallo for him, Limonada con Soda for me)
We bought another beer from a street cart and watched Maya swim for the first time. Everyone always says that the water here is cold but I thought it was better than swimming in Lake Michigan in July (which maybe isn’t saying much…)
You can get a Michelada (like a bloody mary but with beer instead of vodka) here for Q15 ($2)
There are a lot of (nut carts?) in the streets, with peanuts, macadamia, almonds, pecans, cashews, etc.
We bought some peanuts with pepitoria (ground pumpkin seeds), lime, and salt for about $2
Maya was exhausted after her big swim debut, so we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out and shopping a bit more
Look at these baby overalls! Guatemalan babies are always dressed in bright colors and adorable outfits
A hippie high chair swing
We drove back around 4:30 so that we wouldn’t have to drive for too long in the dark since there aren’t very many lights on the roads
Like everyone who visits Atitlan, I can’t wait to go back!