Guatemala: Lago Atitlan – fascinating people and countryside

Three volcanoes, no WiFi, an underwater hotel and three Christian missionaries as room mates – my days at Lago Atitlan were without any doubts something really special.

When I arrived by boat at the hostel la Iguana Perdida, I was a bit – let’s call it surprised – no WiFi. What shall I do fort he next three days at a lonely volcano lake without having WiFi??? Originally I wanted to plan my rough itinerary for South America. Without having a guidebook and WiFi I obviously quickly need to rethink my plans.

After a while I really like Guatemala
After a while I really like Guatemala

In the middle of my serious thinking process my new room mates arrived – two girls and a guy with long hair, mid twenties, tattoos and nose piecing. Well – normal travelers how I thought but when I asked them what they are doing is usual life the said: Christian missionaries. What? I always thought they look like JW??? Well, obviously thats the new generation.

Besides asking them a lot of questions about their organization I watched them over the next days restructuring their teams, discussing if McKenna will match with Sheila, if Shawn has the skills to be a team leader and so on – actually not very different to a team restructuring  in a big profit company 🙂

What to do here without WiFi?
What to do here without WiFi?

As I got a new travel buddy in Mexico I also spend some time with her – my a nice acoustic guitar which I was carrying around everywhere in the hostel during my „No WiFi-time“. As there always is someone who knows better how to play this lovely instrument than me, I obviously can learn something new at every destination. This time I get a little lesson and many great tips from Marcel – a „Work-for-Stay“ volunteer from Cologne in Germany. Thank you so much for your patience Marcel!

At my next WiFi-free day I was heading to my first dive in a fresh water lake at 1,500 meters altitude (divers know that fresh water and altitude change the feeling and buoyancy a lot). The dive was leading to the favorite dive site of my instructor – „Aguas clients (hot waters)“ – actually a former hotel, which was flooded by the rising water of the lake. How cool is this spot!!!

Diving in Lago Atitlan - Pictures all from google but still impressive (did not have a camera with me)
Diving in Lago Atitlan – Pictures all from google but still impressive (did not have a camera with me)

With our diving gear we were swimming in the pool, stood at the original hotel bar and made bottles „fly“ in the water. On our way back we were passing the hot volcano springs where my instructor placed an egg the day before which turned into a perfect breakfast egg over night – a very special diving experience.

Well, it was actually not this bad without having WiFi – I also finished two books in three days. Almost like normal holidays from work 🙂 I am already a bit sad to leave this great place. Let’s see what will wait for me in the former Spanish colonial town Antigua.

By the way – how do I actually like Guatemala?

Well, after almost 5 month in industrial countries the first days in the development country Guatemala were pretty shocking.

Public transport in Guatemala
Public transport in Guatemala

Damaged roads, exhaust fumes, rubbish everywhere, the air smells like burned plastic and the colorful old American school busses remind me at India and Nepal. I needed a few days to get used to the country.

School life
School life

After one week in Xela with Spanish allover the place (5 hours daily language and 1 hour guitar lesson, homestay in a host family, salsa dancing class, trips to Maya villages – and everything in Spanish) I am mentally and language wise prepared for my journey in Middle and South America.

Excursions to San Andre and the Volcano Santa Maria
Excursions to San Andre and the Volcano Santa Maria
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