Guatemala 2020 - Day 12 (Santa Cruz)
Updated: Feb 20
I originally planned on staying at La Iguana Perdida for my entire stay in Lake Atitlan but changed my mind after reading many reviews saying that there isn't much to do there and booked just one night instead.
When I arrived at the hostel bright and early on February 18, I was so impressed with the views and the multitude of great spots for relaxing, I was afraid I might have some regrets about not staying longer, especially given the wide selection of activities on offer listed at the reception.
Since I arrived before 10 am, my room wasn't ready so my bag was stored and I was given an account so I could run a tab and order breakfast. My first reading spot on a sofa with a tremendous view:
Bonus: Chupo, cute little lab puppy, kept me company. I later learn he's not allowed on the sofa!
After I finish my cappuccino and breakfast of Mexican huevos and tortillas, I head outside to find another reading spot. This spot just across from the buildings with the higher end rooms was peaceful:
Heading back towards the main area, I admired the view of the lake from above the reception area:
I then checked out the "lounge", which is the only area that has Wifi:
My room was finally ready at 2:30. I was staying on the top floor of a rustic cabin. The room itself had a bit of a treehouse feel to it, thanks to the sloped ceiling and view from the windows:
Even though I've always wanted to spend a night in a treehouse, I was happy I was only staying one night there. Although the bed was comfortable and the room was cute, it had a musty smell that I just couldn't get past. The booking for the room said it had a "shared" bathroom which I expected to be akin to the room I had at Wachalal: two rooms sharing one bathroom. But the set up was more like the summer camps my kids attended: three bathrooms with showers at the entrance to the cabin section (dorms and private rooms). When I needed to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, I had to scale down the crooked stairs in the dark (thankfully, I brought a headlight with me) and walk to the entrance.
After dropping off my things and changing, I headed out to walk along the shore. There was a cute trail but not much to see otherwise.
I stopped at Free Cerveza and got myself a pear cider - impressed that I can get cider here in Guatemala. The tables at Free Cerveza were low to the ground and everybody sat on thick mats on the floor. It's one of the few places where people can access the water to swim and there were a number of people by the lake, although it wasn't really a beach as the ground was very rocky.
In the evening, I took part in the "family style dinner" at Iguana Perdida, consisting of lentil soup, shepherd's pie (with or without meat), salad, and banana bread. As with the breakfast, the food was good but nothing special. That said, it's hard to complain about any of it - the room cost $20 CAD/night and two cappuccinos, a cider, a smoothie, breakfast and dinner added up to $32 CAD. I preferred the room and food at Wachalal, but the views and ambiance at Iguana were better.
So far, I've been running into two different kinds of travelers. Those attending Spanish schools are predominantly retired singles and couples in their late 60's - 70's and most of them plan on studying for at least a month. I met one woman who looked to be in her 70's who went ziplining with her school: life goals! Those at the hostels are in their early 20's and 30's and are similarly travelling for several weeks or months. At Iguana, I met a girl from Germany who was in her 4rth month of a 7 month trip. I fall in the middle of these two groups and so far, haven't met anyone else my age.
There was a major downside to travelling at Iguana as a solo traveler. While there are many excursions that can be organized from La Iguana, most need a minimum of 2 or even 3 travelers. I signed up for a morning yoga class and no one told me that the class won't take place unless 3 people sign up, so I dragged myself out of bed in the morning for the 7:30am class only to find that the class had been cancelled.
In the end, I packed my bags, lounged around for a bit more, and checked out early, heading out to San Marcos for 2 nights. No regrets spending the night at Iguana. It was a relaxing and beautiful place to spend a day, but I was ready to move on already.