San Pedro la Laguna is located in Guatemala. It is a laid back small town located across Lake Atitlán from Panajachel. The major mochilero hub.
If arriving by bus, you will be dropped off in the center of town. All hotels are near the beach. When arriving in San Pedro do not let the street alcoholics show you to your hotel. They will be very insistent and and will demand a tip, sometimes becoming violent or intimidating. Remember that most people in San Pedro earn less than 30Q a day, so when tourists give them large tips, it encourages them to harass tourists even more. Just ask a fellow tourist, most of them will be happy to tell you how to get to your hotel. The TukTuk (taxi) drivers will try to get you to go to the Hotel San Francisco, which is the furthest away from the main dock. There is no need to take a taxi to your hotel. All hotels take 1-10 minutes to walk to from the main dock. If you take the first left after getting off the dock, there are a lot of hotels along that road. After walking a couple of minutes, just past a tienda, there is a small alley on your right with a lot of signs for restaurants, bars and hotels. This is the "main trail", where most tourists are.
- From Antigua: There are 2 companies that go directly to San Pedro from Antigua. One charges 60Q and the other 70Q. They take about 3 hours, including a 15 minute rest break at a petrol station for food, drink, and to use the restroom. This is the the most convenient way to get to San Pedro, there is no need to take a boat from Panajachel. There are excellent views of Lake Atitlan from the mountain road approaching San Pedro. Tickets are available at the travel agency across the street from the Black Cat Hostel in Antigua, and perhaps from other agencies -- ask. To go by chicken bus, first go to Chimaltenango, then look for buses towards Xela/Quetzaltenango. Get off at the turnoff to San Pedro, Kilometro 148, where there are minibuses and chicken buses that go the rest of the way.
- From from Guatemala City: Direct buses from the center of Guatemala City are provided by three San Pedro companies: Transportes Mendez, Veloz San Pedrana and Transportes Wendy. Buses leave at 11am (Wendy), 11:30am (Mendez), 12:00pm (Pedrana), 12:30pm (Pedrana), 2:00pm (Mendez) and 4:00pm (Mendez) and pass along 20a Calle between 4a and 5a Avenida, Zona 1. The 4 hour journey to San Pedro costs 25Q (approx. $3.50).
- By boat from Panajachel: 10Q for people from Mexico or Central America. 20Q for people from Europe, U.S.A., Australia, etc. (Sending a message to the Guatemala tourism department "Inguat" will let them know of this racist practice.)
Getting around San Pedro La Laguna is initially confusing for new arrivals.
Avoid walking the trails around the lake, tourists have been robbed at gunpoint, some female tourists have been raped. To enjoy the great views around the lake, use the village guides as the foliage can be dense and the route can be tricky to find. Ask around to assess the current situation and enjoy the stunning vista!
Avoid using the tourist agency shack at the main dock, they pay the street alcoholics a comission for harassing the tourists into using them.
San Pedro la Laguna has began to establish itself as another language school center around the Atitlán Lake as the beautiful location drawing more and more students each year. Quality of instruction is varied so you might want to shop around. Some to check are Casa Rosario, Cooperativa and San Pedro Spanish School.
- Cafe Luna Azul: a little bit west of the Panajachel dock. Great lakeside location with a good place for swimming and tanning. Try the chocolate fudge cake!
- Nick's Place: it's by the Panajachel dock. Probably the most popular place in town due to its great location. Meals are reasonably priced!
- The Buddha: Located in San Pedro's hip, 'Otro Lado' a mere 5 minute walk from the main dock. Extremely good Asian & gourmet local dishes at very reasonable prices in an astoundingly beautiful setting. It's a three story bar, restaurant, lounge, cinema & cabaret with an amazing fusion of local and faraway exotic. Great place for traveler's to mingle with each other & locals over a game of pool.
- Shanti Shanti, (100m from the Panajachel dock). Inexpensive place to chill; good view of the lake.
- The Buddha, (In San P's Hip Other Side, 5 minute walk to paradise). Free pool table, dart board, Free large screen movies in second floor lounge/cinema, Hookah Pipes, three floors, top notch asian food and gourmet Guatemalan dishes
Basic accommodation is easily found when you arrive as you will likely be approached at the dock. Average pricing is 15 Q. Some specific places include:
- Trippy's Hostel, 7 avenida, zone 2, San Pedro la Laguna, (Email: mailto:[email protected]). A communal, home-style hostel in San Pedro. Laid back owners, beautiful garden, amazing kitchen! $2-$5 dorm beds and rooms available.
- Hotel San Francisco, 5a avenida 2-32. A popular location as some rooms have a kitchen and a bathroom, and the showers are warm (but not hot). Most rooms come with a great view of the lake and a balcony. This hotel is located on the other side of the hill but all the locals know where it is, so start asking around once you reach the top of the hill. Q25-30.
- Casa Elena is located after Nick's Place. Clean room with twin beds on the lakeshore. Owned and operated by a friendly Maya family.
The best way to get to Antigua is to take a minibus. There is one that leaves from in front of Casa Verde every day at 9:30Am. It costs 60Q and takes about 3 hours, including a 15 minute restroom break. It is best to buy your ticket the day before you leave, at Casa Verde, the green building near the main dock. There is a travel agency inside. They use newer Toyota minibuses.
This is cheaper and faster than paying 20Q to get to Panajachel, and then 70Q to get from Panajachel to Antigua.
The ceapest way to get in/out are the buses leaving to Xela every other hour or so. Heading south you can change as soon as you reach the interamericana.
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