I emailed La Iguana the day before I arrived and was told they had a very nice private room (shared bath) with a lake view available which sounded perfect. I arrived at noon and was told check-in was at 1:00 which is fine but whoever e-mailed me could have mentioned it. There were quite a few people who were either checking out or checking in all at once and everyone had their backpacks piled up in a corner of the restaurant which seemed to seriously annoy the staff. hey then, how about providing somewhere to stowe luggage. If my room wasn't going to be ready for an hour what should I do?
As mentioned by several others, the staff was very distant, generally unwelcoming (with the tremendous exception of Walker) and in some cases quite rude! As I sat at the bar with a beer waiting staff just ignored me as much as possible until I felt uncomfortable and went to sit on the patio. By 1:15 I went back inside to ask about my room and was told it was still not ready but I could put my belongings in there anyway. The cabin was tiny but with a great lakeview. However, since the room hadn't been cleaned I should have never been let in because the bed and pillows had been stripped and I could see the mattress and pillows were COVERED IN BROWN AND YELLOW STAINS!!!!!!
I was pretty much stuck there since there are so few options in Santa Cruz and of course it was 1:30 at that point. I kept my mouth shut and went back to the patio. At about 2:00 a female approached me but remained a good 10 feet away and asked my name and told me the room was cleaned and walked away. Distant, vacant would be two good words to describe her as well as most of the other staff.
I really felt all along that the underlying principal of this place was to milk you for every penny they could get. They make it seem as though you must eat your meals there, buy your drinks there and do everything else there. They charge to refill water bottles which I've read the owners response to other travelers complaints, and its ridiculous as every place I stayed across Guatemala offered free water fills. As far as the WiFi, they easily could offer it as a free service, again, everywhere I stay offered it for free, but I'm guessing they'd really rather charge to use their computers.
Anyway, I went back into the bar later for another beer and again felt like I was a complete outsider by several more staff who I hadn't even seen yet so I took my beer outside. I had been told to sign up for dinner by 3:00 if i was planning on dining with them which I decided there was no way I was going to spend anymore time with that hideous group of over priveleged snobs posing as down to earth hippies so I went to Pana, ate a huge meal and bought some snack s for later.
Every guest I encountered while I was there (except for the divers) seemed extremely bored if not completely trapped. I spent the day watching the boats come in and out which is all there is to do and was quite enjoyable as well as relaxing.
In the morning I went to check out and was offered breakfast, for a charge of course, and again reinforcing my opinion that since i was leaving they just wanted to milk me for another few dollars before I escaped.
La Iguana Perdida was the least enjoyable stay during my three weeks in Guatemala. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, especially not after having spent 20 years in the service industry. One of the worst and most unwelcoming service experiences I have ever had in my life!!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- On the idyllic north shore of Lake Atitlán, Santa Cruz has long been a favorite destination for international tourists, back-packers and locals who want to get away from it all.And for more than fifteen years, La Iguana Perdida has been one of the main reasons for the popularity of this unique oasis, thanks to owners Deedle and Dave. The choice of lodging runs the gamut, from big dormitories, to luxury rooms with a private bath, balcony and lake views, to a rustic cabin. Seven bathrooms are scattered around the spacious property, all with hot water. The climate is perfect for lounging in a hammock or comfortable chair all day. La Iguana Perdida is one of the best places to enjoy the beauty and serenity that Lake Atitlan has to offer.A Yoga session on the deck is a good way to start the day. Next you can go kayaking, or follow shaded trails and paths with picnic spots for along the way. After a day of hiking or kayaking, treat yourself to a wood-fired sauna or a massage. Water Sports, ScubaATI Divers, based at Iguana and with an office in Panajachel, has many options for scuba diving and snorkeling. ATI Divers operates a number of PADI scuba diving courses include certification in high altitude diving as well as other courses for professionals. Lake Atilán is one of the few places on the planet where you can swim amongst huge underwater volcanic formations and petrified trees, and actually feel hot volcanic mud on the lake bottom. Fish, crabs and other marine life add to the color. World Famous BBQ The restaurant offers inexpensive breakfast and lunch. Dinner is a delicious three-course meal with an option for vegetarians. Meat-eaters: don’t miss Saturday night’s all-you-can-eat barbecue, topped off with chocolate brownies. Theme parties, poker games, and other entertainment round out the La Iguana Perdida experience in Santa Cruz, one of Guatemala’s top vacation destinations. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- La Iguana Perdida Hotel Guatemala/Lake Atitlan