Today yet again started before the sun was up, I walked the virtually empty streets to where the bus to the lake was leaving from and about 15 minutes later it turned up and we all got on, over an hour later it finally left after we had waited for some Guatemalan friends of the driver. The drive took about two hours and even though we got to Panajachel (the main town on the lake, known as Pana) at 0800 it was already very busy and it only got more packed as the day progressed. Everywhere you went there were women selling their handicrafts and more food stalls than you could count, all adding to an almost suffocatingly strong aroma in places.
Never one to be stuck in big crowds in touristy areas (both local and gringos) I decided I would head into the hills and walk to the next town round. About 4km of winding roads led from Pana to Santa Catriona, it also provided exceptional views right across the lake. Unlike Pana it was very untouristy, no boats go there (other than private hires) and the locals still wear the traditional colourful national dress. Booth the walk and the town were very pleasant. After a refreshing drink I decided I would explore some of the ‘coast’ and I ended up having to traverse through private property to get back onto the main road.
After returning to Pana I had lunch in an organic restaurant called Deli Llama (I found it amusing) then explored some of the warren like streets around the town and sat watching the tourist boats docking. Pana isn’t my favourite place I have ever visited but I can see why it is massively popular with Guatemalans escaping the capital at weekends.