October 18, 2009

A Pleasant Sunday with the family in Lake Amatitlan

Nando and I took the kids to Lake Amatitlan this morning. It is a twenty minute bus ride from where we are staying in Villa Nueva, and a nice escape from the city. The buses, which leave from Guatemala City on a regular basis, drop you off right at the entrance to the lake.

Although it pales in comparison to Lake Atitlan, largely because of the fact that the water is very contaminated, I am glad we went. The water in Lake Atitlan is a funky, green color. To its merit, it does not have any foul odor. So, aside from the fact that swimming is not an option, it is not that bad. There are still a number of other things to do at the lake.

After walking along the lake and looking at all the handicrafts for sale, we took the kids to the mini-fair. The girls rode horses, and then got on one of the rides. The highlight of the day, however, was the teleferico – a lift like you would see at Swiss ski slopes, instead set in the bright green foliage of the mountains that encircle the lake.

The teleferico took us up to an overlook, from which you can see the lake and the surrounding mountains. There is also a park at the overlook, with a playground set, grills for cooking, a picnic area, football fields, and a small restaurant that has excellent pupusas.

Tatiana, Soraya, and Raymi played with the other kids while Nando and I relaxed and enjoyed the scenery and fresh air. It being a Sunday, there were plenty of families around, and the kids did not have any trouble finding other children with whom to play.

As far as I could tell, there were no foreign tourists at Lake Amatitlan – it is a prime destination for Guatemalans anxious to get away from the city and enjoy some of the natural wonders Guatemala has to offer. Foreign tourists likely prefer to go to some of the other more pristine parts of Guatemala. Admittedly, I would as well. However, being able to get to Lake Amatitlan in less than twenty minutes was a huge bonus for us.

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