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“Fun, relaxing, and educational”

Los Elementos Adventure Center
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Ground Transfer: Antigua Hotel to Panajachel
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Your base camp for exploring Lake Atitlan Guatemala. Choose from kayak excursions, hiking the mountains surrounding the lake, or by private tour boat. You can find an adventure that suits your interest and level of activity. We are family friendly and ready to help you have a unique holiday experience.We specialize in offering experiences that will let you learn about the Mayan culture and meet many of the locals whom we have come to know. The Mayan people are very proud of their cultural past and they enjoying sharing their efforts to keep it alive and strong today. We can also help arrange a custom itinerary for all or part of your Guatemalan travels.We have started Los Elementos Adventure Center and Day Spay and Kayak Guatemala as a way of creating jobs for locals and supporting our non-profit Amigos de Santa Cruz. One of the big challenges of life in Guatemala is to improve the lives of the local people. Amigos de Santa Cruz is focused on improving the education and nutrition of the Mayan. We also support Mayan Medical Aid, which focus' on providing medical aid. Any tour or excursion you arrange will help support these non-profit organizations. Concierge service and all inclusive packages are our specialty. Custom and taylor made tours to your specific interests.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Activities for young children, Lockers / storage, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Fairbanks, Alaska
1 review
“Fun, relaxing, and educational”
Reviewed May 27, 2013

We spent a relaxing day at Lee and Elaine's place, removed from the hustle and bustle of Panajachel. Lee, Elaine, and their staff were warm and welcoming; giving us a good mix of local lore and information and space to enjoy the experience and the company of friends old and new. The amenities were superb - kayaks, a shaded gazebo and porch with hammocks and chairs for relaxing, a beautiful garden, and even a trampoline. Plus, the food was excellent - prepared by a graduate of the culinary program at the training center in nearby Santa Cruz La Laguna, which Lee and Elaine helped start and support. We took kayaks out for a paddle along the lake shore and returned for a delicious lunch and later a hike up to Santa Cruz with Lee to see the village and Training Center. Lee obviously is passionate about the people of the village and the Center and enjoys showing it to visitors. I appreciated that, although the Training Center was started and is supported in part by expats, it is run by people from the village and surrounding area with "outsiders" in an advisory role. Later some of our group went "rock climbing" with Lee while the rest of us stayed and enjoyed the beautiful day and the spectacular views. The day ended all too soon with a boat ride back to Pana, but I hope to return with my family to explore the area further and take advantage of some of the other excursions Lee and Elaine offer, and of course sample more of their gracious hospitality!

Visited April 2013
Thank EllieQED
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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321 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Norwegian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Level Contributor
96 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
“Love this Place!!!”
Reviewed May 22, 2013

I highly recommend this company because it is based on Lago Atitlan and staffed with knowledgeable local guides. I knew this was a good choice by how quickly and thoroughly the owner Lee replied to my emails.
I arranged for a weekend for my friend and me at Lake Atitlan. We were studying spanish in Antigua during Santa Semana and we wanted to spend some quiet time away from the Easter celebrations. Lee arranged for a shuttle back and forth between Antigua and Panajachel, accommodations in Santa Cruz, boat shuttles, kayaking and hiking on the Saturday, and a hike or a tour of the villages on the lake on Sunday and all our meals.
Everything was fabulous. We ate with Lee and Elaine and the food was fresh and tasty and the coffee was awesome. We arrived in Panajachel 2 hours late because our shuttle bus was delayed (with us in it) because of the craziness that is Semana Santa week in Antigua. We knew the boats had stopped running by the time we got to Panajachel and I had figured that we we would need to find a hotel in Pana and find Lee and Los Elementos the next day. Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the dock in Pana and there was Lee waiting with a boat to take us to Santa Cruz.
This was a busy weekend for Lee and Elaine. Besides us there was a school group from Surrey BC and a travelling girls school from the US kayaking and hiking too. Our guide was Alex and I can't say enough good things about him. He is an extremely happy and upbeat person who has a lot of energy. We had so much fun hanging around with him. He speaks spanish, english and a mayan language (mum?). We learned lots of spanish from him as we were always asking how to say different things in spanish.
We had a nice morning kayak with good gear and we enjoyed seeing the coastline of the lake and the fancy villas along the way. We chatted with a couple of fisherman and asked them what they were catching. Everyone was very friendly. When we arrived at San Pedro there was a lancha waiting to pick up our kayaks as we were hiking the trail back to Santa Cruz. I wouldn't want to try to navigate that trail without a local as it was a confusing trail in places and it would be easy to get lost. Also Alex knew where the bathrooms were, when to expect barking dogs, and other hazards on the trail. We even sat and shared our snacks with some mayan women and a young girl that were hauling enormous stacks of wood on their backs. We couldn't communicate with each other because they didn't speak spanish and we don't speak their mayan language but we all smiled a lot and enjoyed each others company.
For our second day we were planning on hiking a more strenuous trail up a valley to Solala. Lee mentioned that we could join him and the school group on a tour of some of the villages around the lake and that we could take Alex to Pana after and ride a chicken bus up to the market at Solala. We decided that we wanted to see some of the villages more than we needed to hike again. We had a great day. We saw lots of art, we went to the Weaving Cooperative and toured the medicinal garden. We had a lunch at a small local restaurant in San Juan. Finally our chicken bus ride was a bit of an adventure as the hill from Pana to Solala is crazy steep and there is an enormous drop off on one side of the road. The bus was packed to the rafters and I think the locals were amused to have two older canadian ladies riding the bus with them. Alex gave us a great tour of the market and then escorted us back to the shuttle bus area in Pana where Lee had our packs waiting for us.
This was a great way to see the lake. I felt like I was visiting friends and having an adventure at the same time. Everything was very well organized and Lee and Elaine are doing a great job of bringing travellers to the lake and thereby creating employment for lots of the locals (boat drivers, restaurants, artisans etc). I plan to return to lake Atitlan with my husband next year and I will definitely book everything through Lee and Los Elementos.

Visited March 2013
2 Thank passionfortravel9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Incredible Informative & Fun Experience!”
Reviewed May 22, 2013

Lee Beal & Kayak Guatemala was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Lee has an enormous passion for the Lake Atitlan area and his knowledge of the history & surroundings is staggering. We joined Lee for a tour of the local villages and a beautiful day kayaking on the pristine lake. As a seasoned traveler and tv host I can understand that expats are not always appreciate in tourist destinations. However Lee's warmth, charisma and sincere fascination with the area has allowed him to acclimatize and blend in with the locals. He’s very respected among the local population and is a well-known figure in the area. He went above & beyond to ensure that we had a great tour & got to savor several local experiences. He’s very swift with his email responses and made us feel like we were a priority. His wife Elaine is very sweet and they made us feel so very welcome. Not only did create an authentic local experience we also feel lucky to have made a friend for life. Can’t wait to go back for a visit!!

Visited April 2013
1 Thank CecileRaubs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“LOVED! This was my second visit, and it was even better than the first!”
Reviewed May 15, 2013

I just finished my 2nd visit to Lake Atitlan and once again I used the travel/excursion services of Los Elementos Adventure Center - which is owned and run by Lee & Elaine who absolutely ROCK! I love the lake and I love that I have such friendly and thoroughly knowledgeable help (Lee & Elaine) to enhance my time there. This time I took a hike with Lee on the Upper Mayan Trail overlooking Lake Atitlan. This hike was without a doubt one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in Guatemala. Actually it was three experiences in one! First, the hike, which was spectacular with views that took my breath away. Second, was the drive to Solola - after the hike, Lee hailed some "local transportation" for us and suddenly I found myself in the back of a truck with 30 Mayans winding our way to Solola - what a BLAST that was, and certainly one of the most 'authentic' travel experiences I've ever had. Then, thirdly, the market of Solola which was yet another amazing and authentic travel experience. THANK YOU Lee & Elaine for an AMAZING time... again!

Visited May 2013
Thank LoneStarz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Murrieta, California, United States
Level Contributor
58 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2013

Please don't go here. Greed is alive and well and you will be consumed by this couple who are equally yoked. I went with my son and daughter-in-law and my two grandchildren. NOT CHILD FRIENDLY Out of the mouth of the wife a quote, "anything to shut those kids up" Need I say more.
I will say Lake Atitlan is a beautiful place full of many wonderful people, you just won't find them here

Visited January 2013
Thank Mary H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kayak-atitlan, Owner at Los Elementos Adventure Center, responded to this review, May 11, 2013
This reviewer was not a client of Los Elementos Adventure Center. She did not contact us for activities or tours, and did not use our Adventure Center services. To be honest and precise, she rented a house from us thru another website unrelated to Tripadvisor. We were sorry she did not enjoy her experience at our property. Guatemala is not for everyone.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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