We came to Iguana Perdida after a few days at Casa del Mundo in Jaibalito. After reading reviews on TripAdvisor, we had chosen Casa del Mundo for a quiet, relaxing few days and had chosen Iguana Perdida as a more social, loose atmosphere. We found that to be true and much more. We arrived on a Saturday night in time for the BBQ and drag party. What a fun night! Dave, one of the owners, serenaded us on guitar with his friend on drums. That lead into a great dance party. My sister and I were a little concerned that it would feel too much like a college party (we're in our early 30s), but it was very sweet and there were people of all ages dancing and having fun.
Our room was amazing. We stayed in Room Atitlan, one of the more expensive private rooms ($40 for two people) and it was huge and beautifully decorated with a private balcony with gorgeous lake views and a comfortable king sized bed. Although it was close to the main building, we had no issues with noise or any other disturbances. We spent a lovely two nights.
Another thing that we really enjoyed was the Iguana's commitment to connecting their guests with the local culture. You can take Spanish lessons and we chose to take a backstrap weaving class with one of the women who works at the Iguana. We were invited to her house in the village and got to meet her family and learn how to weave on a backstrap loom. It was a great way to learn about the textiles that we were seeing in all of the markets as well as to have an opportunity to spend time in an indigenous village and talk with some indigenous women.
The staff were very helpful and interesting. It seems like there is a lot of turnover since they tend to hire travelers who want to settle down for a while (although they have a steady staff of local women in the kitchen). It made for a fun mix of staff and the managers, Annalise and Kevin, do a great job keeping the atmosphere fun while taking care of guest needs. Deadle and Dave, the owners of the Iguana, were around quite a bit and were very welcoming and accommodating. They have a real commitment to the community and to Lake Atitlan and you can tell by the feeling of the Iguana.
I would highly recommend Iguana Perdida. The fact that you can stay for $5 a night in the shared dorms or for $40 in a private room gives a really fun cross-section of travelers and the iguana does a great job of accommodating them all!
- 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
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- Also Known As:
- La Iguana Perdida Hotel Guatemala/Lake Atitlan