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“A smile made me stay” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel el Arca de Noe

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Hotel el Arca de Noe
Main street next to the main publick dock, Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala   |  
Hotel amenities
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“A smile made me stay”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2013

I arrived at lago atitlan, a bit exhausted from previous travels and eager to finally do a week of language school.
Arriving at arca de noe i got welcomed in the friendliest possible way.
I had a great stay with great people who tried to make my stay an unforgettable time.
Although having power cuts and not enough solar energy because of the rainy weather it was actually quite nice to sit and eat with candlelight, study with candlelight etc.
The rooms are spacious, clean, beautiful view of the volcanos included. Shower and toilets very clean and proper hot water (which was a bless for me").
The food is simple but very tasty and for all of you's who are planning on staying there for longer; they are very open to cook off the menu.
The language school is separated from the main lodging area and gives the proper impression of a school. What i'd have appreciated would've been some learning material for me to take with me. Wouldn't have mind to pay for them.
Great experience, thanks to all of you

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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64 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
    34
    22
    5
    1
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2013 via mobile

Tried this after staying at Iguana and they became full. We stayed in 2 different rooms. First a shared bath. Great view, good double bed, enough but not much additional space. It had electric light and I think one outlet. Bath was outside down a dark rock path. A bit hard for old folk to navegate at night. Second room much nicer with private bath. Same great view.More space, double and single beds. But cost Q100 more. Same price as a nice private cottage at Iguana, less fancy, but with view:-)

Service was spotty. They are local folks, the admin/restaraunt are closed at night and may or may not be open when you want them. Shower needed gas turned on and lit for hot shower. One morning i couldn't get it lit and no one was there so cold shower.
Food at restaraunt ok when we ate there, more traditional Guatemalan. They will try to accommodate you.

I was not happy when they tried to add a 10% tip to my bill on check out. This was removed after discussion.

Overall pretty quiet with great views of the lake and volcanos when they were out.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

My husband and I were looking for a quiet, peaceful place to settle in for a few days, and ended up liking the Arca de Noe so much that we stayed there several days longer than planned. We were in Bungalow 3, which not only has a great view like most of the other rooms but is the only bungalow with its own private porch overlooking the lake. We spent lots of time sitting back in Adirondack chairs, reading and journaling and looking out over the water and volcanoes in the distance.

The room was clean and pretty, with electricity (and an outlet for charging appliances), a good shower (only once did we need to request that gas be turned on for hot water, which happened within five minutes), and was perhaps the quietest, most-private room because it was farthest from the main lobby area. We could wander down the walkway to eat breakfast in the mornings, then back towards the back of the property for lakeside Spanish classes during the day, and if we were craving more socializing we could head over to the Iguana across the street in the evening. (We had originally planned to stay at the Iguana, but decided on the Arca because it gave us more options for privacy and retreat from being social if we wanted it.)

Arca de Noe was just what we wanted: not so nice as to be very expensive, but nice enough that we could feel clean and comfortable and at peace. We felt connected to the local community through the friendly, local staff, all guys who grew up in Santa Cruz and who speak great English. By the time our Spanish course was done, we had decided to just stay at Arca as long as possible; it was easy to take day trips to the other towns around the lake and leave our things in our bungalow. When we left for home we were sad to go, and definitely plan to return to the same place next time we visit Lake Atitlan.

Room Tip: Bungalow 3 is the best room, because it has its own private porch and is farthest from the hotel ent...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lambertville, New Jersey
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2013

I stayed at the Arca for a week last month, and I strongly recommend that anyone who might’ve heard anything negative about this place in the past let that go and reconsider. Yes, the prior owners let the place get completely run down, but that is past tense. For months now the Arca has been under new ownership and new management, and what a difference! Rooms/bungalows have been repainted and freshened up. My room had a good, very comfortable mattress and better towels than what I have at home. I stayed in Bungalow 2, which now has electric lights (I believe the other rooms do as well). Make no mistake, the offerings here are basic but are comfortable, spotless and quiet, and overall a perfect place to kick back and base explorations around the lake. All rooms/bungalows face the lake and volcanoes so never a loss for instant scenery the moment you wake up and look out your window. As for meals, the dinners here were spectacular; soups were outrageously delicious as were several different entrees and deserts that I sampled over the week. Breakfasts were good too but dinners were off the chart; fresh, creative, healthy and attention to detail. The office closed at night and I don’t think the place was staffed overnight but that was never an issue. For hot water I had to request the propane be turned on ahead of time and I saw one spider in the room. No electric (other than lights) in the bungalow meant I had to plug rechargers in the office. If you need nightlife or computers you can walk across the street to the Iguana. None of this was inconvenient or a problem and if anything, added to the charm. Managers Domingo, his cousin Isaiah and their brothers/cousins – all of whom speak English very well - did absolutely everything to insure a pleasant and comfortable stay. These guys also run a tour agency so they can set you up for a myriad of activities. They have plans for further improvements to the property (which is already quite attractive and well kept) and are not just talk but are getting things done. All in all I found the Arca to be a good value for the money, a great place to relax and a convenient place from which to explore the lake and nearby areas.

Room Tip: I stayed in Bungalow 2 and can recommend that one. Had a decent shower too (not the standard electr...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

Having arrived in Panajachel, my girlfriend and I immediately looked to escape the main town and head to one of the smaller settlements around the lake. Our book suggested Santa Cruz as a great place to start, and a few travelers in the area suggested we look at a place called "Iguana" attached to the main dock. When we got there, Iguana was full so we walked next door to Arca de Noe and got a room there. We paid a bit more for a private room but still thought it was reasonable, particularly once we got inside and saw the impeccable view of the lake, clean room, good layout, and private bathroom. The food there wasn't bad, but we only had breakfast there. For dinner we preferred going next door the the Iguana for their delicious group style meals and nice common area/bar. Arca de Noe didn't always offer these group dinners and didn't have any bar or well used common area, particularly after dark. This wasn't a problem though because it's literally about 20 meters from the Iguana.

We used their in-house travel agency to try and book a couple things including a horse-back tour across the lake in San Pedro and were extremely happy with the outcome. We found their overall selection of activities to be a bit thin, but the staff was very friendly and helpful when we asked about other options around the lake.

Keeping in mind that this is Guatemala and anywhere you have lush vegetation and water you'll get some bugs, we did find a number of spiders over the course of our stay in addition to a few other creepy crawlies. They don't both anyone as long as you are ok sharing your space a little bit - our private room wasn't extremely closed off from the outside so a few things got in under the door and through the window frame. But again, it's Guatemala!

Overall I'd highly recommend this place to a budget traveler looking for an extremely picturesque setting and easy access to all of the attractions Lake Atitlan has to offer.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DAYTON
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

Came to the lake for a weekend away from Xela with some friends and planned on staying at the Iguana because it was so cheap, but because they were full we came here. To our surprise, they had just reopened a few days earlier with new management (a local man and his family now run the place) and the Iguana being full was the best thing that could have happened. We stayed in cozy rooms with two beds each and used the shared bathrooms. We got the family-style dinner which was delicious, and they even made me a special dish because I'm vegetarian. Pedro is incredibly friendly and they also run a Spanish school and tour company out of the hotel. His English is incredible but when we told him we were here to learn Spanish he switched to Spanish, speaking slowly for us to help us practice (very considerate!). The wireless wasn't working when we were there but again, it was a couple days after re-opening so some kinks can be expected! Will definitely stay here next time I come to Atitlan.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Olympia, Washington
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

Pedro, Isaias and their brothers/cousins are running quite a business. Santa cruz is the most tranquil spot on lake Atitlan. It is so special and I highly recommend checking it out. This business holds multiple supports. It is a hotel that you can stay at. They also run a travel business and will help you set up any trip in Guatemala. They take the time to scout areas before taking groups there. They run a professional business and are easy to work with. Their Spanish language school is good for students that already know some Spanish but may be harder for beginning students.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Hotel el Arca de Noe

Address: Main street next to the main publick dock, Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala
Location: Guatemala > Western Highlands > Solola Department > Lake Atitlan > Santa Cruz La Laguna
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 6 hotels in Santa Cruz La Laguna
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Arca de Noe Hotel is a gorgeous place to stay in Lake Atitlan - we're famous for the most rustic and eco-friendly style hotel, and even with the best lake front cabins to relax!There are more elegant hotels in the region. There are certainly more expensive places to stay, but no hotel at any price can match Arca de Noe's quiet ambiance.The hotel has ten rooms, five with private baths with very hot showers! our hotels runs with 100% solar energy system! and help the environment. At our Hotel we have a Restaurant, Free Wifi, Transportation, Day tours and Hikes and many more activities. 100% local family owned - Spanish, English, and French are spoken. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel El Arca De Noe Guatemala/Lake Atitlan

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