Our hostel on the edge of town in a residential neighbourhood turned out to be a tad bizarre… don’t get me wrong it was nice enough and served a mean breakfast – although we only had it once as it wasn’t included in the price and was actually too big! Yes, there is such a thing as a breakfast that is too big for PB and CC to handle! Well, maybe not – as we did eat it all – we just didn’t feel so great afterwards!!!
The thing that got me, was the fact that the hostel marketed itself as having a kitchen for guests to use… and while it had a kitchen… it wasn’t the other backpackers you had to negotiate with to get a spot, but rather the hostel owners who lived on site! And, when finally the kitchen emptied out and you could use it – with padlocks firmly on every cupboard door, yes even plates and cutlery were behind those doors – it just wasn’t that user friendly!!!
One awesome bonus of our hostel was however the distance from town! Without this there is absolutely no way we would have ever discovered the best lunch spot in town (well on the edge of town very close to nowhere!). The best lunch spot served the most amazing tacos and gringas in existence in Panajachel I am sure!
Time spent in Pana is really about being by Lake Atitlán, and flitting around/across the lake from village to village by boat. We took a few boats on the lake so we could spend time in other villages on the lake shores, but also spent a reasonable amount of time just hanging in Pana.
To be honest though there wasn’t a whole heap of stuff to do in Panajachel – you could either hang out on the main tourist drag (calle Santander) and buy tourist tat, chill by the water eating ice cream (obviously you don’t have to eat ice cream if you sit by the water, but I’d recommend it), or head to the ‘centre’ where the market and church are (where you might see someone who is a)not a tourist or b) doesn’t work in the tourist industry!)
We checked out the centre of town – it didn’t feel over touristy – with normal people going about their everyday lives. The church was pretty cool too.
However, we spent most of our time by the water – it was nice just to sit and look out to towards the waters edge, the volcanoes that surrounded the lake were stunning and almost captivating! The view was in fact pretty beautiful – even when the weather was not! And each spot along the water offered a slightly different angle!
Panajachel was quite a colourful town – with locals strolling around wearing traditional dress, and beautifully painted colourful street art on many walls. There were also heaps of colourful tuk tuks weaving around the place which looked pretty cool 🙂
After three enjoyable nights of hanging in Lake Atitlán, it was time to retrace our steps and return to Antigua on the 11am chicken bus! We would spend just one night in Antigua before a mammoth journey to Flores…