Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Xela to Lago Atitlan: Part 3

The last day of our hike started at night.  Specifically at 4 am which, unbelievably, was 10 hours after I went to bed.  You do the math.

We wake up super early on Day 3 and start hiking under the stars. After about 40mins, we reach our mirador and get our first glimpse of the faintly-lit lake villages – 500m below us. The guides set about cooking breakfast and hot drinks and everyone gets comfortable for the approaching sunrise. The show kicks-off with the sun´s colorful rays creeping up from behind the distant Antigua volcanoes before illuminating the Atitlán volcanoes and finally the lake itself. If anything could make you forget your weary eyes and sore muscles, this sunrise is it!

Erruption #1 happened at this point:  Fuego, one of the active volcanos, was actively errupting in the distance so we could see red lava lit up atop the volcano against the dark sky.  Nunca he visto algo como ese.

The lake at sunrise with Fuego fuming to the right.

 My favorite picture of the morning.

Erruption #2 happened shortly before we began our final descent.  I'll leave out the details but I'll say that if I was naming a volcano, it would be called Entertoxigenic E. coli.

When the show is over, all that is left is a 2-3 hour descent down the famous ´Indian´s Nose´ trail. The steep trail offers impressive views of the blue lake all the way to the bottom at the lakeside village San Juan La Laguna. From there it is a short ride to San Pedro La Laguna for a delicious lakeside lunch and heartfelt farewells.


 The hostel/restaurant where we ended our hike was, of course, owned by Israelis, as if to tell us - get ready for your next big trip!  Their specialties are falafel, hamburgers, and thankfully for me, indoor plumbing.

 Tyler took a dip.  If he grows an extra arm, we'll know why.

 San Pedreo La Laguna

If you´ve opted to have your extra bags meet you at the lake, they´ll arrive at San Pedro just after lunch (about 1:30pm) and then you´re free to move on to San Marcos, Panajachel and beyond. Otherwise, those who want can return to Quetzaltenango with the guides in either the bus or the pickup truck.

Our bags met us at the lake and we proceded directly to our hotel, Casa Del Mundo, eager for a hot shower and more indoor plumbing.  Casa del Mundo is amazing, it's been built up (literally) over the years into the cliffs overlooking beautiful Lago Atitlan.  After a much-needed nap, we had a beer by the water, tested out the hammocks and the view, and then finished the evening with a delightful communal dinner.

 Our room


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