Monday, February 20, 2012

Panajachel vs San Pedro

7AM - Panajachel vs San Pedro
You may know that I am here in Panajachel and staying in a room at Posada Don Carlos. I learned about Guatemala, Lake Atitlán and Panajachel from Andy Graham, The Hobo Traveler. Reader Susan wrote me about Andy's website. And I liked what Andy wrote, especially about what he wrote about the availability of inexpensive rooms.

I now have adopted my own "Taxi and Seek" method of finding a hotel room. This means that I rarely make a reservation for a hotel. When I arrive in a place, I hire a taxi and ask to be taken to some inexpensive but nice hotels. By doing this, I am able to judge for myself the availability, quality and price comparison of various rooms. When I am at a hotel, I ask the taxi to wait and go inside to see about a room.

The info gained is shared with the taxi driver who then knows better what I am looking for in a room. And, I do not even have to know where these hotels are in advance. Pretty neat, huh?

Andy Graham stayed at Posada Don Pedro in 2010 and remained here for a few weeks. Then Andy moved to San Pedro La Laguna across Lake Atitlán. I also was thinking about moving to San Pedro. But I am changing my mind. I really like that there are all of these restaurants within a short distance of my room here in Panajachel. And the transportation hub of Lake Atitlán is in Panajachel.

Also, it is really easy to make a day-trip to San Pedro La Laguna. I have already visited San Pedro La Laguna once. In fact, I may make another day-trip there this morning by using the nearby little fleet of ferry boats!

4PM - Our San Pedro trip
After breakfast this morning, we caught a taxi down to the Tzanjuyu Embarcadero and caught a taxi-boat from Panajachel to San Pedro La Laguna. A taxi-boat takes about 1/2 hour to make this trip, depending on the wind direction. On arriving we walked around looking to see what could be seen.

The town of San Pedro is built on the side of very steep hills. Below is a pic looking down the steep road toward the San Pedro embarcadero.
Look how steep is the embarcadero road!

Tuk-tuk looks for hotels
We wandered walking thru the streets of San Pedro hoping to stumble on some hotels. This really is not a good way to go hotel searching. So, we caught a tuk-tuk taxi and asked the driver to show us hotels with a nice view that did not charge high rent.

Something went wrong with the understanding of my request. The tuk-tuk taxi driver drove to a very high place with a wonderful view. However, there was no hotel there!

New Mavicita took this opportunity to take a pic
Looking down at San Pedro La Laguna

Hotel Pinocchio
Our taxi driver was now getting the idea that we were looking for a nice inexpensive hotel. "I think that you would like the Hotel Pinocchio", he said. And off we went back down the hill where we stopped along a very tiny road. The driver walked us to Hotel Pinocchio. There were several other hotels in sight. So, we paid his fare, thanked him, and said goodbye.

Hotel Pinocchio had some very acceptable rooms available. We checked the shower, toilet, etc. High speed WiFi is here. The daily rent is 100 quetzales [$13US].

We also checked three other hotels which were OK, but not as good as Hotel Pinocchio.
Hotel Pinocchio

7PM - Eating with the family
Yesterday evening I treated myself out for pizza. I could only eat half the pizza and part of the salad that came with it. Alicia, owner of the hotel where I am staying, invited me to use her kitchen. So, I brought my left over food back with me and stored it in her refrigerator. This evening I asked permission to heat up the pizza and eat my food at their table.

The family does not eat dinner until papa Carlos comes home from work at around 8pm. Carlos manages another hotel in Pana on Via Principal, not too far from home.

When I sat down to eat in the the family living room it was about 7:30pm. Most of the family members were already gathered around the table. Some doing homework. Some just chatting. I thought that it was really neat that the family was not glued to the TV.

I asked one of the daughters if it was rare that hotel clients used their kitchen and dining room. It was rare, she told me. I was soooooo glad to have the opportunity to be with the family on this occasion. They are very warm and caring.

Partly cloudy