The hotel is great -- clean, comfortable rooms for a reasonable price, arranged around a nicely landscaped garden an easy walk from the main street. But Sergio Garcia, the owner, is the real find. He volunteers as a music teacher for local schoolchildren who would otherwise have no exposure to music, and his office is full of musical instruments; my son had a great time jamming with him on a guitarron. He is a former tour guide from Tikal, and has connections to many other travel agencies and loads of advice. When we wanted to head to Coban, riding with him turned out to be the best deal, not just financially but also educationally. For 8 hours, he regaled us with stories of the Maya (history, rituals, religion, current environmental issues, etc.), the history of Guatemala through his own experiences, and thoughts on religion and politics. We learned a tremendous amount. He is fluent in Spanish, English, and French, and is learning one of the Maya languages as well. The next day he went out of his way to drive us another hour to our destination and link us with another tour company for the next leg of our trip.
Breakfast in the garden was also wonderful and delicious -- they had a great selection, and I hope Sergio proceeds with his idea of opening for dinner with a menu that specializes in Guatemalan dishes so curious epicures can explore.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Small hotel located near the main shopping and businesses, but in a quiet street, perfect location. There are rooms spread out through a lush tropical garden, from which one can relax and enjoy watching the birds (over 25 varieties), exotic plants and beautiful trees. Each room is decorated with handcrafted native motif and has a private bathroom with plenty of hot water 24 hrs., TV with cable and free WiFi. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Utz Jay Hotel
- Hotel Utz Jay Panajachel, Guatemala - Lake Atitlan