After our week in Xela studying Spanish while John’s infection healed, it was time to head on out to our next destination in Guatemala, the lovely Lago Atitlan. We had planned to do a lot of hiking and other active pursuits here, but those plans had now been halted by the doctor’s orders of John needing to stay off of his skin infected leg. But we weren’t about to let that ruin our good time in the lakeside village of San Pedro La Laguna.
San Pedro La Laguna is a little tourist town right on the lake, surrounded by scenic mountains and volcanoes. It was paradise-like. We simply could not get enough of the stunning view from the large windows of our hotel room.
I’m usually not too early of a riser but was up with a cup of fresh brewed Guatemalan coffee every morning here to catch the spectacular sunrises. As the sun comes up over the surrounding peaks, the birds begin to come to life, as the fisherman would row out for the day.
So with a bum leg, what could we do? Ahah! The fishermen gave us a great idea. We set out on kayaks to explore the lake. We soon discovered that the water level has been rising pretty dramatically over the last few years. We kayaked through where there had once been parkland & trees.
Earlier during our Central American travels, we visited Flores, which seemed to be slightly flooded due to recent unseasonal rains, but the encroaching water of Lago Atitlan was on a whole ‘nother level. We even paddled through the living rooms and kitchens of houses that had once boasted beautiful views of the lake, now was completely swallowed up by it.
I heard the flooded structures were mostly expat homes and buildings, as the locals know better and instead build much higher. Apparently the lake has been rising and contracting for centuries, so they know the drill. There are a number of theories here as to why this is happening but something having to due with the volcanic activity in the area seems to be what most people agree on. Kayaking right through these once lakeside villas gave us an eerie glimpse into the future of coastal areas throughout the world if the scary global warming predictions pan out to be true.
Finally we paddled clear across the other side of the lake, which gave great views of some of the other villages in addition to the looming Volcan San Pedro, taunting us to hike up its steep side. It was a tough paddle back to town San Pedro, as the winds picked up, but we finally made it back around sunset after a very good workout.
We really enjoyed San Pedro La Laguna and the entire Lake Atitlan area. There’s good restaurants, fun bars, a ton of recreation, and everything is of incredible value for the money! Its just one of those places where you can easily get comfortable and inadvertently extend your stay. We didn’t want to leave. San Pedro La Laguna remains as one of our top destinations throughout all of Central America and we highly recommend it as a travel destination. This is Part 1 of a 3-part post about our adventures here.
Read on to Part 2 here: Paragliding over Lago Atitlan.