Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Rattling around in San Pedro, Lake Atitlan

We hung out at the hotel and enjoyed the beautiful sunset before heading out to dinner and, more importantly, to find a bar that was showing the 49ers game. We found a great bar, grabbed a burrito and watched the 49ers stomp on the Falcons. All in all it was a great first afternoon of vacation.

Relaxing at our hotel in San Pedro

After successfully sleeping in until 10 and grabbing a big breakfast, we headed out to hike to the top of Volcan San Pedro. The hike started out auspiciously, within the first 90 seconds, we were greeted by a big snake that was in process of crossing the trail and climbing up the side embankment. We stopped and admired the snake and then I tried to proceed across the path. Fortunately, the guide was much smarter than I and held us back. Unable to communicate the issue to us other than "serpiente muis peligroso!," he took a stick and poked the tail of the snake, which so happened to rattle. What I had presumed was a constrictor was actually a rattlesnake. We saw another one pass by 10 feet behind that one.

Rattlesnake on the trail up Volcan San Pedro

We waited patiently while the snake made its way off the path and then continued on our trek. After that the only danger we encountered was of me passing out. I forgot that I should get in shape before going on vacation with Todd. The 5 hour hike took us to El Mirador (viewpoint) and then to the summit at 9,908 feet. Unfortunately, by the time we made it to the top, the fog had rolled in and we had could not see the lake. I felt right at home.

That night was Christmas eve and we spent part of the evening strolling around the non-tourist part of town, sitting in the main town square as people and their pets assembled for Christmas mass. One of the unique things about San Pedro was that the women dress in a very specific (and we assume traditional) style of dress, with many colors particularly around their waistbands. The men just wear jeans and t shirts though!

Christmas Eve in San Pedro La Laguna

Then we flipped it back to the tourist area, hitting a bar where they were having a Christmas Eve Pajama Party and more interestingly, had a beer-drinking version of the board game Battleship:

Drinking Battleship! with shots of beer

At midnight, fireworks went off all over town, complementing the cannon that had been firing off randomly all day. We sat in our lakeside hammocks watching the fireworks shows in each of the little towns around the lake.

The next day, we intended to take out some kayaks, but the lake didn't cooperate and instead we took a bumpy boat ride to a smaller town on the lake (San Marcos). On the boat ride over we met a woman who was visiting for a month to do a yoga class (something the Lake Atitlan area is known for). Very casually she related to us her experience being politely robbed at gunpoint as she hiked between towns around the lake. Apparently the town areas are OK but hiking the trails between them can also be peligroso!

View of Volcan San Pedro and Lake Atitlan from San Marcos

In San Marcos we were greeted by a young boy that wanted to take us to a viewpoint and a "trampolin." The viewpoint was great, but the "trampolin" was just a platform about 10 meters above the lake. As I hadn't brought my suit, I was unable to partake but Todd enjoyed the jump.

Todd jumping off the 'trampolin' in San Marcos La Laguna

After drying off and having one last lakeside lunch, we piled into a shuttle for a ride to Antigua.

1 comment:

grace c tullis said...

Enjoyable read! Loved the pictures!So nice to see you find time to relax...;)!!