Full truck going to Panajachel – pronounced pana-ah-chell. Pana is known for a few things. The first is the pushy street vendors. The second is gringo expatriates (expats). After the group splitting up the next morning, we met up with my friend Jon, who has lived there for many years now.
And what timing! Jon’s friends were having a party that night, and we were invited! Thanks to the hosts, Grant and Su, who were great and welcoming our weary trio.
What an eclectic mix. Unlike some of the expats we’d meet later, these people were laid back, interesting, wonderful people. There’s community in Panajachel. And community is nice.
San Pedro is another little town across Lake Atitlan from Pana. When you compare the two, Pana is the fun, but more relaxed and "normal", if one could say that about Pana. San Pedro is the up-all-night party town, catering to the young gringos that want to lose themselves for a while.
We went over to see what all the fuss was about.
The boat seats about 12 or 15, and costs 20 Q ($3) a person. We haggled for a great deal, and finally they accepted our offer of 15 Q, which is what they would've charged a local, anyway.
And what did we do with our windfall? Bought Gallo, of course!
The people on the boat were fun, Evelyn and her friend were from Guatemala city, some Euros, etc. We shared our Gallos freely, and saved plenty for the captain.
The town is tiny, and, yes, full of drop outs. We adopted Evelyn as our official interpreter, and scored a hotel room for 10 Q per person ($1.10!). Yes, we already had a hotel back in Pana, but this one had a jacuzzi, little mints on the pillows, free massages...
Yeah right! There wasn't even toilet paper, and there were about a billion coffee beans drying, which have an acrid stench.
The town was full of friendly people, all waiting for some full moon party that night. We moved around and had a great time. We set off two of the big ones and filled a street with smoke and paper, and probably scared the beejeezus out of everyone around.
In the morning, we woke up, went back to Pana, and slept most of the day. How anyone can stay in that town for more than a night and not hurt themselves royally is a testament to a strong liver.