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“Must Stay in Santa Cruz”

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La Iguana Perdida Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed February 26, 2013

I love La Iguana Perdida. I stayed there twice, once in a private room with a shared bath and another in private room and bath. I really enjoyed both stays! The views of the lake and volcanoes from Santa Cruz are the best on the lake. The owners and staff are nice and engaging. There are a lot of great things to do and the staff is very helpful in making arrangements. The Saturday night BBQ is a lot of fun. And, I loved the avocado pineapple liquado and the strawberry lemonade with chan! And, a massage with Elaine is a must - she is the best!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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Thank ShannieMK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 22, 2013

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!!!!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
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6  Thank Jay T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2013

Generally this place is quite nice. Food is great, and the room we stayed in was beautiful. However, we found the place to be a little cliquey. Staff would sometimes cluster around the bar talking to each other and make it difficult/awkward to order drinks or food (several other guests shared their similar feelings about this to us). A few of the staff members were quite rude when we ordered stuff to put on our tab, but forgot our room name: "You have to tell us your room name every time you order! You can't just tell us your name!" We felt like we were being scolded like children at times. The communal dinners are delicious, but sometimes it would be nice to have the option of NOT having to sit with strangers. Since the boats stop at 5:30, dining options are fairly limited. No wireless Internet, which I can appreciate and respect, but their Internet computers are almost NEVER working, which makes it hard to set up travel plans for your departure. We also got scammed by the travel agency they recommended to us (they sold us second class bus tickets at first class prices). I guess some people might like the isolation and communal environment, but we felt a little trapped, and sometimes like outsiders.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank migrant546
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2013

This place is truly special. After doing extensive research on places around the lake to spend time, I chose La Iguana Perdida, and after staying there for 15 nights, I could go on for quite some time about how positive my experience was.

I could always find exactly what I wanted, whether it was a fresh fruit smoothie to enjoy while taking in the perfect views, information about things to do in the surrounding area, opportunities to interact with the local community, a hammock to enjoy quietly in the shade with a book, a constant stream of interesting travelers of all ages and from all over the world to share stories with or play games with after dinner, custom cocktails from the bar that the staff graciously allowed me to order off the menu (Thank you Shona and Walker!), a library of books available for exchange, guitars to borrow, and a tv room to lounge in if you just need to escape into some movie from their collection to remind you of home.

I have been to enough hostels around the world to know that this place is truly special, and that the environment and dynamic here is the product of years of careful consideration and hard effort.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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Thank ATWeck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lostiguanas, Owner at La Iguana Perdida Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded February 15, 2013

Many thanks indeed for your kind words. I am so glad that you had such a good time here. What we try and give people is a memorable time in what we consider to be truly spectacular place. Glad that it worked for you! Hope to see you again in the future and many thanks for taking the time to write on our behalf.
Best wishes
Deedle Ratcliffe

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2013

This is definitely the best hostel I ever stayed in my trip. It is located right beside the water taxi dock. The town of Santa Cruz offers a much difference experience compare to the big town like Pana and San Pedro. I stayed in 3 different rooms during my 8 nights stay here. The dorm room offers basic accomandation for single traveller like me. The bed is comfortable. Than I moved into the cabana with private bathroom. After that, I moved into the nicer room with a propane shower. All three of them exceed my expectation based on the price I paid.

Another thing not to miss here is their three courses dinner, it is purely social affair. I met so much like minded travellers during my dinner time.

I also had a chance to do some diving here. Ryan is an exceptional scuba instructor, and I felt by safe.

I will definitely return.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Teddy716
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2013

La Iguana Perdida is the best place to stay at the lake if you're looking for somewhere to chill out. If you're on a budget there are some great deals, and if you have a little more to spend there are beautiful rooms with private bathrooms. Be aware that Santa Cruz is a very small town with not many dining options. The prices for food at the restaurant are totally reasonable for the quality and what it takes to get it there, but a little more than you might be used to if you've been eating fried chicken and french fries from street vendors. Breathtaking views, great service, kayaking, hiking, delicious food.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Allison W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

The rooms were really cheap at La Iguana Perdida but the staff was fairly unfriendly and they were sticklers with other costs.

We stayed in the Cabana with a bath which was really nice with a little outdoor patio. The room had a lot of character and had very comfy beds.

The staff generally seemed uninterested to help. We were left waiting for 40 minutes for a coffee at a 9AM breakfast. When I asked for the coffees to be taken off of our bill, the staff was unapologetic and blamed it on the fact that the coffee machine takes 20 minutes to brew.

The breakfasts and lunches were expensive for the size and quality at about (35-60Q for breakfast and about 50-80Q for lunch). Dinners were well worth the money and very delicious buffet/family-style meals (only about 60Q). They have great veggie options as well. It was, however, annoying that they charged 5Q to fill up a liter water bottle.

I would recommend walking over to Isle Verde, a nearby eco-retreat with amazing food for a similar price to La Iguana. Everything is made homemade and is produced locally. There are beautiful hammocks to hang out in and a gorgeous yoga room and swimming dock. If you aren't too fussed about money, I'd recommend staying at Isle Verde instead. If money is an issue, eat breakfast and/or lunch there and then hang out in the hammocks and go for a swim.

Room Tip: The Cabana with Bathroom is well worth the small price.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank KansasKayla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laiguana, Manager at La Iguana Perdida Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 25, 2013

I'm very sorry to find that you found us unfriendly. I have to admit to finding this unusual as I remember interacting with you personally and I thought our interactions were rather cordial. Also considering that we allowed your friends to stay in your room with you thus making your stay even cheaper for all four of you and making our earnings slightly less, I am particularly surprised.

I'm sorry that you had to wait for coffee, I remember the interaction you had with the bar staff. That day was busy and the cafetera did empty very quickly that morning. Unfortunately the coffee does take time to brew, thus creating a wait for the next pot. I did hear you ask the bar staff to take it off your bill and I trust that they did so. If not, I'm sorry about that. As the computer had gone down that morning, stress levels were pretty high with the staff and we were in a bit of a scramble and perhaps that came off as being unfriendly but I can assure you that would not have been our intention. I'm sorry if that was the way we were perceived.

In regards to us charging for water refills, we have received similar criticism in this past for this. Just to explain, we have a very good filtration system that allows our water to be drinkable but it is rather costly to maintain, hence why we charge for water refills. We don't actually turn a profit on the water, but it does cover the cost of maintenance. It may seem like we're nickle and diming people but that's not actually the case. I like to think that it's more honest to charge people directly for a service that they are actually using, rather than hiding the cost and raising the price on something else.

As always, I would have been more than happy to discuss any of these issues with you while you were here. As the manager, that is after all my job. I'm sorry that you didn't seem to think that you could do that.

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Additional Information about La Iguana Perdida Hotel

Address: On the Waterfront, Santa Cruz La Laguna 07014, Guatemala
Location: Guatemala > Western Highlands > Solola Department > Lake Atitlan > Santa Cruz La Laguna
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Santa Cruz La Laguna
Price Range: $12 - $19 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On the idyllic and less-visited north shore of Lake Atitlan, Santa Cruz is an indigenous Kaqchikel village with around two thousand local inhabitants. This quiet village has long been a favorite destination for those in the know who want to get away from it all, and La Iguana Perdida is proud to have been active in the community here since we opened the doors in 1996. We’ve been an “eco-hotel” since before the term became popular, converted to solar in the last few years, and we’ve always been active in the environmental movement on Atitlan. The choice of lodging at the Iguana runs the gamut, from the original wood construction consisting of spacious dormitories, private rooms with shared bath and a rustic cabana, to the more modern side of the hotel with luxury rooms with private bath, balcony and lake views. Shared bathroom facilities are scattered around the spacious property tucked behind the bouganvillas and banana trees. Our restaurant serves delicious breakfasts and lunches from 8am until 3pm daily and family-style feasts every night at 7pm often followed by activities like open-mic and trivia. All meals are prepared by the lovely local Mayan staff, and vegetarian, gluten free and other dietary restrictions are always available upon request. The climate (warm in the sun and cool in the shade) is perfect for whatever level of activity you’re seeking, even if it’s lounging in a hammock with a good book all day. Located right on the waterfront, La Iguana Perdida is one of the best places to enjoy the beauty and serenity that Lake Atitlan has to offer. Start the day with a yoga class on the patio overlooking the lake with the volcanos framed in the distance then go for a kayak or follow shaded trails and paths along the shoreline for a dip in the magical waters of Atitlan. After a day of hiking or kayaking, fire up our traditional Mayan sauna or treat yourself to a massage with one of our experienced practitioners. There’s no reason to be bored even on a rainy day with our pool table, dartboard, book exchange and TV room at your disposal, and if you’d like to immerse yourself more in the local community we can organise backstrap weaving classes in a local home or one-on-one Spanish classes. We have a computer room available free of charge if you need to get online, but we don’t offer Wi-Fi (WHAT!?) as we like to keep the vibe more about great conversations, board games, acoustic guitars and sunsets rather than posting selfies and status updates. If water sports is your bag, we are home to ATI Divers, the only scuba operation on Lake Atitlan since 1996. Enjoy a fun dive or take the four-day PADI Open Water Course and become a certified diver. Atitlan is a collapsed volcanic caldera with massive volcanic rock formations, fish, crabs and even volcanic hot-spots you can plunge your hands into. One of the few spots in the world where you can get the high-altitude specialty certification without freezing! We’re open to travellers of all ages, and with over twenty years in business we hope we can find a way to make your visit to Lake Atilan a memorable one. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
La Iguana Perdida Hotel Guatemala/Lake Atitlan

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