My husband and I stayed a week at El Arbol in San Marcos Atitlan and loved our little haven close to everything but quiet and tucked away between the trees.
El Arbol is one of the only budget choices in a town that is quickly becoming more expensive as the tourists flock here. It is not a full-service hotel (no reception, restaurant or bar), but it is ideal for independent travellers looking for a place to stay while they explore the lake. There are 3 rooms with adjoining covered porch, and a little separate bungalow with its own porch available. Rooms are basic with double bed and a shelf, but clean and very quiet - almost no noise from the dogs and evangelical churches reaches you inside. The shared bathroom and kitchen were always spotless, and the yard is lush and tidy. The only faults we could find was that you had to supply your own toilet paper and that the pillows were lumpy and not very good.
The hotel has no restaurants or bars immediately surrounding the property so it was very quiet at night. However, the grooviest cafes and restaurants (some with live music) are only a 2 minute walk away through the winding paths. We were travelling on a budget and having a kitchen was a huge bonus, since there is only one other place in town that offered kitchen facilities. There are ladies in town selling fresh fruits and veggies, and a few places sell fresh bread. Everything else you can get from the El Arbol shop (which labels its goods with the prices so that you know you're paying the same as the local people!)
Owner Rigoberto and his family are lovely people, and will happily provide you with honest advice about how much transport and other things really cost, and where to find what you need. They are very warm, hard-working and honest people and we loved chatting to them about life in San Marcos.
I would recommend this place for independent travellers who are more interested in getting to know the local people and place itself rather than just their hotel. There is no website, but San Marcos is small so just ask around or follow the signs to the Kayak rental shop - it's across the path.
- Also Known As:
- Hotel El Arbol Guatemala/San Marcos La Laguna
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to the only Guatemaya owned hotel in town! We are a budget hotel providing all shared facilities, including a fully equipped kitchen (only one in town) and instant gas hot water. The rooms are set amidst a lush garden, featuring local species; banana, copal, naranja and café. Our facilities are modern and we have a restaurant/shop, also selling baked goods and water by volume, from which you can make delivery orders. ... more less