Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lago del Paraiso

 If Lake Atitlán truly is paradise, then San Pedro is your gateway to it. There are several small pueblos lining the magnificent Lake Atitlán, which is ringed itself by several volcanoes and steep cliffs, owed to its gradual creation by means of volcanic eruptions and collapses. Low prices, friendly locals and a great vibe are what make San Pedro the go-to spot for backpackers.

We intended to go to Zoolah, the largest Israeli-owned hostel which was booked up, so we ended up at Pinnochio, a locally owned hostel/hostel with privates for only $12 a night. The interactions with the locals were a definite highlight. Not only did we learn several words in Maya (schooled by a sassy 10 year old working her parents corner store), but also that there are actually several different Mayan dialects spoken around the lake.The large number of Expats living in San Pedro means great asian-influenced food is available at affordable prices; I had excellent Pad Thai and Green Curry dishes for under $7. The local grocery store boasts the largest variety of Asian spices and sauces I’ve seen in one place anywhere in Latin America. 
We began our first day by renting kayaks and paddling across to San Marcos, an even smaller pueblo famous for its yoga and meditation retreats. There was also a large platform to go cliff diving off of, though Jeremiah pointed out that the drop was much less dramatic, due to the fact that the lake had risen 15 feet this year alone. We finished off the day with beers and a sing-along jam session, already feeling we could stay there an eternity.

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