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Lago de Atitlan

One of my favorite things to do is jump off of stuff into water. A few years ago we visited Lake Atitlan and did the usual thing of hiring a boat to take us around the lake. One of the places we stopped that day was at a little platform someone had built where you could jump off into the lake and take photos with the volcanos behind you, and then easily climb back up and do it again and again.

I was really looking forward to jumping in the lake this time around, but it wasn’t to be, for several reasons. If you know what I did to myself in Semuc Champey, you may have guessed that my leg isn’t fully healed yet. You would be right. My leg looks pretty good, but I still have a nice scab that probably wouldn’t hold up well to cliff jumping or swimming in a lake that Jess says made her sick last time. I don’t know if I believe the lake made her sick (she did drink a lot of it), but it is a lake and it certainly has bacteria floating on the surface, like every other lake in the world.

Between my leg and Jess’s desire to not get sick (and not have any of her kids get sick), we opted not to do the cliff jumping this time. I have to admit I’m pretty sad about it. I think I would have been happier if the group had gone cliff jumping, even if I was only able to stand by and take pictures. But when passed the place where we went cliff jumping before, it was packed. There were at least 15 people on the platform, in the water, and climbing the side of the cliff up to the platform again. At that point I wasn’t quite as sad that we didn’t stop. I don’t think it would be nearly as fun with a big crowd there. Part of what made it special for me was having that place to ourselves.

We’re getting to the end of the dry season in Guatemala and the hills around Lago de Atitlan were super dry and brown. I didn’t expect that. The lake itself is still really pretty, but the landscape doesn’t feel as magical without all the green. It’s interesting to be thinking and writing this, but I’m not sure I need to go back to Lake Atitlan again. I think I’ve seen and done as much there as I need to see and do.

It’s only about 50 miles from Antigua to Panajachel, but it takes more than 2 hours to do the drive because the roads get super windy as they zig-zag up and down the sides of the mountains. And like all the other narrow roads in Guatemala, traffic can really stack up behind a couple of slow trucks on those corners. On the way there we had several people feeling car sick, but we were in a van and had the air conditioning blasting. We made it without anyone getting too sick. I seem to be immune to car sickness, so I do what I can to help the people who don’t feel well.

We stayed at our favorite hotel in Pana, the Porta Hotel del Lago. It was pink the last time we stayed there, but they’ve redone the outside and painted it all green now. It’s still looks a little too perfect to me. I kept saying it looks like a Fisher-Price building. The beds were firm and the showers looked American (no suicide shower heads). The food was great and the location can’t be beat.

We had a bunch of extra people with us, so it made for a big group everywhere we went. We had Mark and Kristen come down with Ben and Gabe. One of Brett’s neighbors was also down here. Thirteen is a big group in any country, but it seems especially so down here. We filled every restaurant we went into. We barely fit in the boat we rented. But we still managed to do everything there was to do. Charmaine even flew her drone for a little while in San Pedro La Laguna.

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