Lago Atitlan–Salem

We just got back from an amazing vacation! This is the first night we’ve spent out of Antigua since we went to Costa Rica and it’s also our first vacation where no one got sick!

We went to San Marcos la Laguna on Lake Atitlan this weekend. We had heard a lot of good things about the lake, and we couldn’t decide where we wanted to stay once we got there because there are 3 main towns that the buses all go to. We talked to some people last week who had just come from the lake and they told us San Pedro was nice, but San Marcos was very calm and quiet. We decided to spend the night in San Marcos and visit San Pedro if we had time. At 2pm on Saturday we were all set to leave!

The trip started out a little rocky. We didn’t leave until about 2:40, but not because of hora chapina (Guatemalan time). One of the guys who was supposed to be on the bus to San Pedro/San Marcos accidentally got on the wrong bus. He didn’t figure it out until the bus he was on was out of town. He had to get a tuk tuk back and he made it just in time. Then once he got on he was very talkative. We think he was probably just embarrassed, but it made for a long first hour. After that people started taking naps and reading books, so it was nice. The drive is about 3 1/2 hours, so we settled in and enjoyed the drive. The bus finally stopped in San Pedro, but we were confused because San Marcos was supposed to be the first stop. It turns out whoever had called the travel agency for us had told them we were going to San Pedro. Luckily our driver was very nice and offered to help us get a tuk tuk to San Marcos. He even rode part of the way with us because he lives in between the two towns. When we got to San Marcos the tuk tuk driver stopped and we got out to pay him. Loren asked where our hotel was and the driver pointed down this dark alley. I was a little nervous, but Loren didn’t seem too worried. We walked a long way, but we finally found it!

We were about an hour late getting to our hotel, but the front desk staff was really nice and the food was pretty good. We were so exhausted from the trip that we decided to stay in for the night and we were asleep by 9pm.

Our room

Loren reading on our balcony

Our hotel was right by the water

The scary path that we walked down in the dark.

Sauna in the hotel

The next morning Loren got up at 6am. I got up a little bit later and we decided to explore San Marcos. It’s very small, and there’s not much to it, but we were able to see another really nice hotel and take a lot of pictures of the lake. We had made plans to meet some friends at a restaurant in San Pedro for breakfast, so we walked to the public dock and got on a boat. We had decided to meet at a coffee shop, but we found out the shop didn’t have any breakfast food. We walked down near the beach to a restaurant that our boss had recommended called Chile’s. Loren and our friends had “The Hangover Breakfast,” which was toast, sausage, eggs, hash browns, and fruit. I had french toast with cinnamon sugar and fruit. It was the best breakfast I’ve had in Guatemala. We sat and chatted and then split up. Loren and I walked around and bought some things and then headed back to San Marcos to check out of our hotel. We checked out and took our third trip across the lake where we saw another friend from the hostel who happened to be on the same boat. It was nice to talk to someone we knew! We had about an hour and a half before our bus left, so we found a little shop called Hummus-Ya! and got some lunch. At 2:30 we left for Antigua.

View from the breakfast place

French toast

Hangover Breakfast

On the boat

Volcanoes and mountains everywhere!

From the boat

At our hotel’s dock




The trip is supposed to be 3 1/2 hours, but since it was Sunday, we had to maneuver around procession traffic. It took us about 1/2 hour to get from Jocotenango to Antigua, and they’re about a 15 minute walk from each other! Loren and I decided to get out of the bus when we were stopped in a traffic jam and we decided to stop at the hostel to drop off our bags before we looked for the procession. As we were walking down the street we saw a huge crowd and the float coming toward us. We ran through the crowd to the hostel and we were able to watch the procession from the roof. It’s apparently the biggest and most famous procession, so I’m glad we made it back!

An alfombra

Smoke from the incense


These pictures aren’t zoomed. That’s how close we were!

Watching the procession from the roof. Sunburnt, tired, and happy!

The kids kept trying to pick up flowers from the destroyed alfombras. It was cute.


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