Lazy bones.. - Thursday, March 27, 2003

So much for our plan! After overnighting at a complete dump in crowded Panajachel with people trying to sell us their wares at EVERY moment, we took a small boat over to Santa Cruz, the poorest, smallest town on the lake. Lago Atitlan is JUST BEAUTIFUL, like Lake Tahoe...We ended up staying for 3 days in Santa Cruz instead of tramping over to some of the other hippie towns around the lake filled with expats, meditation centers, yoga and mucho pot.

Hotel Arca de Noel is our new, favorite place on the planet. The hotel stretches along about 100 yards of lakefront with wood tables, chairs, cushions, and hammocks strewn throughout the lush garden. For a mere $15, we rented a room in a quaint stone structure with a REAL mattress (1st one in 2 weeks). With a hammock and several comfy chairs to relax on, we were sloths for 3 full days. Well, we did a little planning for the next leg of our journey to Mexico. We are not that excited about being around the busy city of Acapulco around Semana Santa (week before Easter). It is like Xmas time...very crowded. Perhaps we'll go to Nicaragua instead!!! No say...

Our favorite thing about this hotel was the family style dinners. At a long table filled with huge candles for light, we met a slew of interesting people every night and ate a 5 course meal for $5. The food was incredible!! It was all vegetarian and was actually good. Yes, I ate carrot soup, squash soup, chile rellenos, eggplant parmesan, veggie lasagna and survived without meat. I actually liked it. I'm shocked and happy to have found some new yummy foods to eat. It was fun chatting it up with like-minded travelers well into the night.

We reluctantly left our new favorite hotel (Arc de Noe) for another highly recommended place called Casa del Mundo. We packed up and hiked 30 minutes along Lago de Atitlan and were rewarded with a very unique hotel built into the side of the mountain. All the rooms had a view of the lake and/or volacanoes. Because the weather was rather rainy, we didn´t really move from the hammocks for much of our stay there. NO PROBLEMA! Again, we met some very interesting travelers over family-style dinners and even managed a swim in the deep, crystal clear blue waters before starting our journey to Mexico. Even though Casa del Mundo was a bit fancier than the rustic Arc de Noe, the staff just wasn't as personable. It REALLY makes all the difference in the world!!!.

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