Panajachel is a fairly tourist-oriented city of about 15,000 people (and roughly the same size as Sturgis, SD as far as layout) that lies on the shores of Lago Atitlan.
Across the lake you can see volcanoes in the haze in the distance.
This part of Guatemala is known as the highlands and we have come up from sea level at Rio Dulce to about 5100 feet at Panajachel. It’s much cooler here, thank goodness and I actually need a blanket on my bed at night which is such a treat for me.
Most of the areas population is made up of Mayan communities. Women and men both wear traditional clothes when they can afford them and women carry their infants on their backs and heavy loads on their heads when needed.
The area attracted a lot of hippies in the 60s and there are lots of ex-pats around. And who can blame them? It’s a gorgeous place. I wander down Calle de Santander one day to look at the local shops. It’s a busy little place with lots of souvenir shops and cafes and bars for the gringos. The women here weave fabrics to use to make clothes for their families and lots of the fabric is used to make clothing to sell to tourists, quilts, bags and more.
A friend of ours from Canada, Tammy the wonderful woman who took us in after I broke my leg, is living on Lago Atitlan for a while and we are happy to see her again and get a chance to catch up with her.
She invites us to stay with her in a small village, Jaibalito, which is about a 25-minute boat ride from Panajachel.
So we find a safe place to park the bikes for a few days and motor on over to her place…beautiful scenery, good friends…life is good.
PS – Stayed in a posada (inn) the night we got into town and saw my first “suicide shower” but didn’t give it a try. It’s an instant electric heater that heats the water as it comes out of the shower head. They aren’t always wired very well and since electricity and water don’t mix very well…you can imagine why it’s gotten that name.