October, 2012: After an exhausting (but VERY rewarding!) 10 day medical mission in the Mountains of Guatemala, my friend and I were supposed to go visit friends in Belize, but unfortunately that trip had to be cancelled. Tickets home were already booked, so we had to find an inexpensive place to stay for 4 days in Guatemala. Thanks to tripadvisor we found this stunning hotel on Lake Atitlan - absolutely perfect for 4 days of rest and relaxation!
The views from this hotel were STUNNING!! I couldn't stop take pictures, and from our room on the 10th floor with views of all 3 volcanoes across the Lake - it was perfect! I was worried that the hotel looked like a bit of an eye-sore as Lake Atitlan has a very rural and rustic atmosphere, and this hotel has 3 very tall buildings - of course I realized once we got to our rooms that it was on purpose so that travelers could get the most out of the spectacular scenery of this lake!
The cost of the hotel was very reasonable - I think it was about $70 US. The hotel is beautiful - 4 star for sure. The rooms were clean, but nothing fancy - considering we were in a 3rd world country they were very comfortable, and bathroom was clean and modern (gorgeous actually!). Bed was very comfortable, and large open space with lots of room. The balcony was beautiful, and we moved our little dinette chairs outside during our stay. There was a small kitchenette which was very convenient as food is so cheap to buy in the village (brought left-overs back each time). The meals at the hotel were reasonably priced (ie cheap!! all food cheap in Guatemala!), but not very tasty - we did much better with food eating in the village.
A helpful tip is that it was actually less expensive to take a tuk-tuk (Guat taxi!!) arranged from the front desk and eat in the vilage (only 5 minutes - and VERY FUN in the tuk-tuk!). If you are there during rainy season, I also suggest you bring a raincoat, poncho and umbrella!! When it rains - it POURS! No sewers, so we got absolutely soaked to our waists wading through the streets of the village!
The people at the hotel and in the village were wonderful! Very happy and kind people! We tipped as often as we could - they really are very poor! We also left as much stuff behind in the room when we left. This area does see a lot of tourists - but many are Guatemalans or backpackers, so very little English spoken. If you are not functional with Spanish - keep your dictionaries and phrase books close at hand! The village has many stores and markets to visit, and there are also tour boats for excursions on the Lake - an absolute MUST if you are there! As this was my 2nd time in Guatemala, I only went to the markets the one time - but many beautiful things! Still managed to do all of my Christmas shopping while there - AND under $100!!!
Another tip: We booked a taxi/shuttle from the village back to Guatamala City to catch our flight home when we arrived, and thankfully had one of our Guatemalan friends doing all the bartering for us! It was well worth the $50 dollars each to book the shuttle leaving at a convenient time (and I think a 2 to 3 hour drive), and much more comfortable than the 'chicken bus' which would have taken 8 hours!
I had read on trip advisor that some people complained about power outages. We had 2 or 3 while we were there - I think the longest was about 4 hours in the late afternoon early evening - they were still able to serve supper, and it wasn't quite dark out yet - so did not inconvenience us at all.
We spent every morning at the hotel pool, just reading and taking frequent dips - as it was very hot when the sun was shining!! Probably 30 degrees Celsius.... Every afternoon while we were there, it would cloud over and thunderstorms would start late afternoon and last all evening long! It would cool off quite a bit - definitely sweaters or jackets in the evening! We had our very own spectacular nature's light show every night!! Was WONDERFUL! I think I read 2 or 3 books in 4 days - so relaxing! I would recommend this hotel to anyone! Wish I could remember the names of the staff in the dining room and pool area, but I'm writing this a few months later - but they were wonderful to us!
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- Also Known As:
- La Riviera Atitlan Hotel Panajachel, Guatemala - Lake Atitlan