Just recieved an FCO (UK govt website) warning for Lake Attilan area esp Panajachel about riots and disturbances. I am off to Guatemala on 21 Feb travelling on my own for the first time. Does anyone out there have first hand experience of what is going on in the Lake Attilan area?
My plans are to travel from Antigua on a tourist bus (thought it might be safer)and spend two nights in Panajachel visiting the 'Chichi' market on the Thursday and returning to Antigua on the Friday.
Advice and info would be much appreciated.
i am going to the area (santiago atitlan at least) in about a week. also a bit concerned about safety... will let you know my impression/experiences with it.
Would really appreciate that. Hope you have a great trip.
I lived in and around Lake Atitlan and know many of the colorful "ex pats" and the local indingenas there in the main stopping off point of Panajachel..The Bus from Antigua to "Pana" a big roomy Pullman "Rebuli"leaves Mon-Sat from Antigua 7AM sharp in front of the Gas Station/Backpacker's Hotel (upstairs) on 4a Calle Pte and 7a Ave. Norte one block east of Market/Main local Bus Terminal, Antigua be there at 6:30AM, fare is $4 USD one way or equiv. in Quetzales (about 8 to 1USD) about 2.5 hours, majestic view of Lake Atitlan enroute past Solola, I have viewed it 500 times and still astounding. A friend of mine hosts a website from Lake Atitlan and you may "talk" to him online via the site. E mail me for more info. email@example.com
Worth the trip...don't bring much luggage or an enormous backpack and you will have more freedom to move around. You can ship your tipico (souvenirs) back home from Panajachel if you buy a lot.
we recently passed by atitlan (planning to return at a later date) and witnessed burned out buses, cola and beer trucks and felled trees along the inter-american just at the turnoff for atitlan. the reason was the passage of a huge piece of mining equipment that a canadian company was moving thru the area. a large number of guatemalans protested this event and attempted to stop the piece from passing, unsuccessfully. as far as I know, that was the extent of the disturbance in that area.
by the way, we have travelled strictly by ´chicken bus´ all over guatemala, honduras, el salvador and nicaragua - with zero hassle or sense of danger. the tourist buses are the targets, not the tipica transportation.
just returned from guatemala. i liked it a lot. did not want to come back. as far as the lake atitlan area i had no bad experiences and felt quite safe. did not see or hear of any demonstrations or disturbances at the time i was there (doesnt mean they didnt happen i suppose). i would agree with what i've seen and heard from other travelers and people who live there - just be aware and sensible. no need to be paranoid. i did not walk alone at night on deserted roads and traveled by boat between the towns on the lake instead of walking, etc. i rode the public "chicken" bus from guatemala city to santiago atitlan, and again from panajachel to antigua with no problems. hope you have a great trip! feel free to write with any questions.
I am glad you enjpyed your trip.