Hiking without a guide or walking between villages is generally not recommended for safety reasons, except between the route from San Marcos to San Pedro. Taking a boat is much safer, and the cost for one way should not cost more than GTQ 25 to any of the towns around the lake. But for people like us who craves for an adventure, taking a boat doesn’t seem appeal to us.
Yesterday’s walk failed because we have a program and had set a time limit. It was different this time as we didn’t care about the time. However, we did plan to have a swim at Las Cristalinas on the way to our final destination, San Pedro, and also search for a hotel there. Trev started his walk with a boost of Vitamin C. The lady squeezed more than 20 oranges with her traditional machine to make a cup of Orange juice. We tried a little, and it was super fresh.
The weather was pleasant, with the temperature around 20°C, it’s not too hot even with a clear sky. The fresh breeze helped to make the walk easier. During our walk yesterday, we have taken plenty of stunning pictures, so this time we didn’t make many stops. But it didn’t stop us from admiring the picturesque view from time to time during the walk.
San Pablo La Laguna
After walking for about thirty minutes, we came across the first town, San Pablo. When we walked past here, I didn’t see any tourist, and it was so quiet. The people here are Tz’utujil, which is one of the 21 Maya ethnic group. The village’s traditional speciality is the manufacture of rope from the fires of the maguey plant.
About twelve minutes walk from San Pablo La Laguna, we saw people drying out Coffees beans. Curious if they sell any, we stopped by and ask. However, the person we met who’s in charge didn’t know the price for selling it in a small quantity.
Nick’s Place Restaurante
Fifteen minutes later, we arrived at Nick’s Place Restaurante. Yesterday, we stopped here for a drink, and Trev had a small snack. However, this time we stopped for lunch. Trev and I had fish while Mike had his usual, Pollo Asada. Our meals were very lovely. The total bill was GTQ 175 including two Cokes and two lemonade.
Nick’s Place Restaurante Food and Drinks Prices:
Breakfast GTQ 25 - Huevos Revueltos/ Panqueques GTQ 30 - El Viajero/ Tz'utujil/ Chapin/ Homelet GTQ 32 - Homelet Mixto Almuerzos GTQ 35 - Pollo Asado a la Plancha/ Pollo Super Viajero: 3 Piezas de Pollo Frito/ Pollo Encebollado/ Pollo a ala Plancha/ Milanesa de Pollo GTQ 40 - Carne Asada a la Plancha GTQ 45 - Pescado Frito al Ajo/ Camaron Empanizado/ Camaron al Ajo/ Filete de Pescado a la Plancha o Empanizado GTQ 50 - Caldo de Marisco: con Camarones, Cangrejos, Pescado y Almejas Espaguetis GTQ 25 - Con Salsa de Tomate y Jamon/ Con Salsa de Tomate y Champinones GTQ 30 - Mixta con Salsa de Tomate/ Con Salsa de Tomate a la Bolonesa
Pizzas GTQ 47 - Pizza de Atun/ Jamon/ Tocino/ Champinones/ Hawaina/ Salami GTQ 48 - Pizza Mixta: Jamon Champinones y Doble Queso GTQ 50 - PIzza Super Nick's: Jamon, Tocino, Salami, Atun y Queso Craf Varios GTQ 10 - Sandwiches: de Jamon, Atun o Heuvo GTQ 12 - Sandwich Mixto: Jamon y Queso GTQ 13 - Sandwich Triple: Jamon, Queso y Atun GTQ 18 - Tortilla con Carne o Pollo GTQ 20 - Hamburguesa con Papas Fritas GTQ 22 - Queso Hamburguesa con Papas Fritas GTQ 25 - Guacamol con Nachos Bebidas GTQ 6 - Cafe Negro/ Te (variedad de sabores)/ Refrescos (Gaseosas) GTQ 7 - Cafe con Leche/ Chocolate con Leche GTQ 8 - Te Frio (Negro o Jamaica)/ Cuba Libre GTQ 13 - Limonada con Agua GTQ 15 - Limonada con Soda/ Licuado de Frutas con Leche/ Cerveza Gallo Pequeno/ Wisky/ Cerveza Montecabro/ Cerveza Corona/ Dorada Draft/ Heineken GTQ 18 - Vino Tinto o Blanco GTQ 25 - Michelada GTQ 30 - Cerveza Gallo Litro
Playa Las Cristalinas
Walking down the stairs at Nick’s Place, we arrived at Playa Las Cristalinas. But we’re so disappointed to see that the Algae had conquered the water. It was impossible to swim, so we settled with resting at the pier admiring the beautiful landscape.
The beach guard upon seeing us asked us for an entrance fee which cost GTQ 5 per person even without doing the kayaking or swimming. While walking down the beach, I spotted a plastic bag from the many rubbish around, and I took it to fill some sands for my collection.
2.2km away from Las Cristalinas, we arrived in San Juan. This town was more developed compared to San Pablo, with more restaurant and shop around.
San Juan (population 11,000, mostly Tz’utujil)
“San Juan is just a short tuk-tuk drive or 30-minute walk from its neighbour, San Pedro. It is not as developed as much for the tourist, but this is one of its many charms. The town is well-known for its weaving and textile cooperatives in which all-natural dyes are used. San Juan is an exceptionally clean and friendly place, where most locals are happy to have a chat. Of all the principal villages on the lake, San Juan offers perhaps the most authentic Mayan experience for the traveller”. – Credit to: Lake Atitlan Magazine – January 2019
Restaurante Xe Kuku’ Aab’aj
We stopped by for a drink in Restaurante Xe Kuku’ Aab’aj. We should have tried the Tz’utujil food, but we’ve already had our lunch back at Nick. The view overlooking the lake was amazing, we could see San Pablo and San Marcos from this restaurant. I had Pineapple juice, Mike had Limonada and Trev had his Coffees. The total bill was GTQ 53.
This restaurant also offered foreign dishes with specialisation in seafood and Tz’utujil’s meal. They have a special room for group and organization booking, and at a special price. Those who interested in booking it for a special event or gathering, please contact them directly.
Opening Day and Time:
Monday to Saturday: 7:30 am ~ 9:30 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am ~ 3:00 pm
Tels: (502) 4225-1763 / 4136-5973
Restaurante Xe Kuku’ Aab’aj Food and Drinks Prices:
Desayunos GTQ 35 - Big Braktas (Ensalada de fruta, pan integral, huevos, frijoles, platanos y queso) GTQ 40 - Desayuno Ranchero (Huevos rancheros, frijoles, queso y platanos)/ Omelet de Queso (Frijoles, platanos y frijoles)/ Panqueque con Fruta/ Ensalada de Frutas (Yogurt y Granola) GTQ 45 - Desayunoo Xe Kuku' Aab'aj (carne, huevos estrellados, frijoles, platanos y queso)/ Huevos Revueltos (tomate, cebolla, jamon y frijol)/ Omelet Mixto (Frijoles, platanos, queso y creme) Almuerzos GTQ 60 - Pollo Encebollado (Ensalada y papas fritas, escabeche y Guacamol) GTQ 70 - Pollo a la Plancha (Ensalada y papas fritas, escabeche y Guacamol)/ Milanesa de Res (Ensalada, papas fritas y Guacamol)/ Bistec Encebollado (Ensalada, Papas Fritas y Guacamol) GTQ 75 - Curry de Pollo Papas y Ensalada/ Burrito con Pollo/ Chile con Carne Papas Fritas, Ensalada y Guacamol GTQ 75 ~ GTQ 100 - Pescado en Limon/ Pescado Frito/ Pescado al Ajo GTQ 95 - Fajitas de Res (Papas, Ensaladas y Guacamol) Ensalada GTQ 60 - Ensalada Cesar/ Ensalada Chef (Pepino, Tomate, Queso Craf) GTQ 75 - Ensalada Tres Quesos Sopas GTQ 40 - Soda de Verduras/ Sopa Tzutujil GTQ 50 - Sopa de Pollo Varios GTQ 25 - Sandwich de Jamon GTQ 30 - Platanos Fritos GTQ 35 - Sandwich Mixto/ Taco de Res o Pollo 3x GTQ 45 - Hamburgeusa con Papas GTQ 50 - Sandwich de Pollo GTQ 65 - Nachos Chile con Carne y Queso Mozarela GTQ 75 - Nachos con Pollo y Jalapeno Platos Vegetarianos GTQ 35 - Taco de Verduras GTQ 40 - Sandwich de la Casa GTQ 45 - Hamburguesa de Zanahoria con Papas Fritas GTQ 50 - Nacho Chapin GTQ 60 - Espagueti con Champinones y Salsa de Tomate/ Burrito Vegetariano GTQ 65 - Pizza Margarita Pequena Bebidas Frias GTQ 10 - Agua Pura en Botella/ Gaseosas GTQ 12 - Limonada de Fruta con Agua GTQ 15 - Limonada con Agua/ Te Frio/ Cerveza Gallo en Botella/ Cerveza Moza GTQ 18 - Licuado de Fruta con Leche/ Jugo de Naranja GTQ 20 - Limonada con Soda/ Chocolate Frio GTQ 25 - Cafe Frio/ Cuba Libre GTQ 30 - Mojito de Hierna Buena y Ron/ Cerveza Litro Gallo GTQ 40 - Michelada Bebidas Calientes GTQ 10 - Te de Sabores GTQ 15 - Cafe Negro/ Chocolate GTQ 18 - Chocolate con Leche GTQ 20 - Cafe con Leche GTQ 25 - Capuchino
It took only about thirty minutes to walk from San Juan to San Pedro. But with the gravel road, and with the dust flying around us when a Tuk-tuk driving past, it felt ages before we finally reach to this bustling little town, and at a certain point before descending the slope to San Pedro, we almost got chased by dogs.
Before that, we stopped by looking for the sauna place near the slope going down to town, and although it was written open, no one attended to us.
We also found a place for us to stay a night tomorrow, the room was beautiful, and I couldn’t wait to start exploring this town tomorrow. The room cost 100 GTQ per person or $29 for the two of us. But when we gave her $40, the lady told us that the bank there only accept 50 and 100 notes. We have no choice but only to pay her when we check in tomorrow, but Trev paid his. We took the boat home and paid 10 GTQ per person. The boat wasn’t full, and we stopped at San Juan jetty and another one before we finally arrived at our destination.
According to my altimeter application, In total, we’ve walked for 11.5km in two hours and twenty-six minutes. The walk was a great way of exercise, up and down the hill with beautiful scenery accompanying us along the way. Definitely worth the sweats!
Travel Date: 04th January 2019