My wife and I have a soft spot in our hearts for Santa Catarina Palopo. Always will. We spent two special summers here in the late 70s and still have friends in town. The country's Civil War kept us from traveling to Guatemala for many years, but we did stay in touch, and at long last, the time was right for a return trip. For us, the only place to stay was Villa Santa Catarina (VSC). After all, 35 years ago, we had lived in the center of the village, just a two-minute walk away. Back then, construction was just commencing -- it would eventually take 12 years to complete -- and we used to stroll past the bare concrete block foundation every day on our way down to the lake. At the time, we couldn't comprehend why anyone would build a hotel in our very modest village. Nor could we envision ever staying there ourselves, impoverished students that we were. But, fast forward to 2013, and, well, here we were. And as it turns out, building this hotel was a very cagey move. Firstly, the property looks out on stunning Lake Atitlan and its magical backdrop of three soaring volcanoes: San Lucas, Santiago Atitlan, and San Pedro. Can you say Location, Location, Location? Secondly, in a very tough economy, it provides much-needed employment for a number of motivated local folks who serve as front desk clerks, waiters, chefs, housekeepers, maintenance men, et. al. These are good and gracious people do their jobs with the utmost care and professionalism. And finally, VSC gives tourists who are tired of the grubby chaos of Panajachel a refuge of sorts. Comparatively, it is tranquility itself with its exquisitely green grounds, the native birds that seem to be connected to amplifiers, and that view, that view.... There's not a lot to do in the village at night, but the VSC restaurant is surprisingly good, with very attentive service, so plan on long, leisurely meals. Then get up with the sun, order a French press of coffee, and stare across the lake at those mystical volcanoes until you have them memorized....
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- Also Known As:
- Villa Santa Catarina Hotel Panajachel
- Hotel Santa Catarina
- Villa Santa Catarina Panajachel, Guatemala - Lake Atitlan