We headed out to this place called Panajachel which has Lake Atitlan. We left around 9am from Xela and arrived in Panajachel of Solola of Guatemala about an hour and a half later. The road we took goes all the way to Guatemala City if followed past Panajachel.
The map below shows the route we took:
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The roads are very snakeish with left and right bend the entire time. See the below video:
When we got 5 mins from the lake, we stopped at a small 6 table vendor area which is amazing for taking photos as well. Don’t forget to haggle your prices. the things that fit in our hand you can buy for half the cost they are asking. As you are walking away, they yell at you with lower prices. The fabric stuff and woven stuff (blankets, scarves, etc) can be bought for about 30% less than their first offer.
Here is a video from the view of the rest place:
When we got to the lake, we had lunch and a view. After lunch,we walked down the street of endless vendors all selling the same goods. One would think that there is some factory that mass produces these goods for all the vendors to sell… But it is just a coincidence. You better have some Spanish phrases ready for these people. They will follow you down the street and offer you blankets and trinkets and lower the price more and more with every few meters you walk. Other people have a table and cant follow you down the street, instead they shout lower prices at you as you walk away.
Good phrases to know:
aiii, demaciado caro. no gracias. (ohhh, too expensive, no thank you)
no tengo dinero. (i don’t have money)
no se, es muy caro… menos? (i don’t know, it’s very expensive… less?)
All these phrases will get you a lower price. Walk away from the table after these phrases for an even cheaper cost.
Don’t forget to check out all the vendors and keep tabs on what each is selling and for how much. One vendor might be selling an item for 25Q and another will sell it for 10Q.
Bring 1,000Q ($100) and an empty backpack. Keychains are 5Q, t-shirts for your friends back home are 40Q, a real hammock is 100Q. Silver necklace is 80Q, but you can snag it for 45Q by haggling. A silver and jade ring is the same cost. Don’t confuse silver with a silver bath. Silver bath is plastic dipped in silver.
On the way down the mountain road, there are a few waterfalls off to the side, here are some videos:
It is best to go to the street market and the lake on a weekday. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are the days when it is packed with people and difficult to relax and enjoy the beautiful views. The people are more willing to sell their goods for even less on slow days.
Don’t take pics of the natives, unless you want to pay them 20Q.
You can stay in the 3 super tall 5-star hotels for $120USD a day and each room hold 6 people. 2 bedrooms, a couch, etc. Or you can stay in a cabin for 120Q a day.