Saturday, July 9, 2016

Lake Atitlán

A 3-hour drive from Antigua brings travelers to the Guatemalan highlands where Lake Atitlán is located.  Lake Atitlán is the deepest lake in Central America, at over 1,100 feet deep.  It is surrounded by three of the country's 33 volcanoes, tropical rainforests and mountain trails.  Small indigenous villages located on the far side of the lake still retain much of their original heritage as the only way to get to the other side is by boat, isolating the people from the rest of Guatemala.

Our first glimpses of Lake Atitlán were over the mountains.  It was late afternoon as the clouds and rain were starting (common most afternoons during the rainy season) but the haze just added to the mysterious beauty of the lake.

The Porta del Lago hotel was right on the lake, so we went right to the pool for views, swimming, and "welcome cocktails".  I am not exactly sure what this drink was other than it had rum in it!

That night, we learned about an organization in Panajachel called "Ayuda" which means "Help". They are a volunteer group dedicated to helping the semi-homeless dogs in the area.  They round them up to spay, neuter, vaccinate, and take care of any injuries and then release them.  Grace was very touched by these poor animals.  She kept saying how they looked so sad and she wanted to help them.  Ayuda has a nice website at that explains their mission.  Grace mentioned seeing a dog with three legs and our guide, Lee, said "That is Tripod.  He even has his own Facebook page!" Lee explained that even though the dogs in Panajachel look homeless, people do care for them by leaving food out and letting them have some shelter to sleep.

The following morning, we woke up to sunshine for our trip to Lee's house. We headed to the wooden docks where we could see fishermen starting their day and small boats ready to take passengers to other parts of the lake.

Our boat "Rose"
Climbing into the boats was a little tricky for some of us who don't do it every day.

Once on the boat, we held on tight for the fast, bumpy, and windy ride to Lee's house.

Lee owns a company called Kayak Guatemala and rents rooms on his property.  He and his wife, Elaine, welcomed our group to their complex.

The kids had a great time on the kayaks and paddle boards as well as swimming and playing soccer.

Grace is in the middle with the life vest on.  
Kyle and I took out a double kayak but we didn't venture far since when the wind picked up the water got very choppy and dangerous.

The whole atmosphere was very laid back and relaxed.

1 comment:

Nana said...

Another great memory and looks of interesting people and fun property. I would go back too relax and just breathe! Grace loved the dogs and the cat that was owned by Lee.