I added an “Ask a Question Section” to the sidebar of this blog. MaryJo from Denver Colorado has asked two and here are some answers for you MaryJo.
1. “We are really interested in the school project at San Antonio. I even have a hair-brained idea about being able to raise money for it here in Denver. But we’re interested in living in San Pedro.
So how far is it from San Pedro to San Antonio—can you get there by road (once the road is opened from the mud slide) from San Pedro or only by going back to Pana? Does it make sense to live in San Pedro and my husband to do volunteer building work on the school in San Antonio?”
San Antonio Palopo is on the other side of Lake Atitlan from San Pedro La Laguna. There really isn’t a way to drive there for commuting purposes, going straight across Lake Atitlan to Panajachel on a launcha(ferry boat) then changing to one for San Antonio Palopo is most likely the best way to get there. The launchas run all over the lake from just after sunrise to about 5:30 or so, then usually one later at 7ish. All these times are subject to random and unpredictable change, or not, depende. The launchas cost about 25 Quetzales for the ride and leave every 12 people, more or less. No time schedule really, just depends on when the boat gets full and then you go. The ride from Panajachel on a direct launcha takes about half an hour. They also have ones that leave Panajachel and stop at all the little towns on the way to San Pedro, that can be fun if you have the time. The guys at the dock will try and offer you a private boat, “privado”, for about 200 Quetzales. Unless you have a lot of money to spend, there is no need for a privado, just ask for the “launcha publico” and they will point you in the right direction. I think the commute might be time consuming, but it is a beautiful ride on the boat if you can afford the fees and have the time.
2. “My next question is about housing in San Pedro La Laguna at Lake Atitlan. How easy is it to find an inexpensive, modest house to rent with a stove and fridge, and basic furniture, with indoor plumbing, hot water, and hopefully 2 bedrooms and definitely away from the docks so it’s quiet? How much can we expect to pay for such?”Ahhh….the million dollar question. There are very few houses in San Pedro that fit your description. Most houses for rent are very basic and have bathrooms that often require walking outside to get to. The majority of all hot showers are lovingly referred to as suicide showers because they are ungrounded 2-wire heaters mounted on the shower head. Homes with on demand hot water or a hot water heater at all, are very very few. I have a friend with a more modern style house for rent in San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlan with a website at http://www.atitlanvista.com. Might be worth checking out. I lived in several houses over the years there and only had an indoor shower at one of them. The rents for a nice house, by San Pedro standards, is about $200 – $600 per month. Less for more rustic. There is seldom a lease and many landlords don’t really understand the concept of privacy. They often like to come in and garden or check on things in the yard at their convenience. It’s much easier renting a place while staying there. That way you can meet the landlord and get the lowdown on the house from the local expats. Dave at Bistro Nuevo Sol, Daniel at La Piscina, Mike at Buddha and Dean or Monique at D’noz are all longtime residents with great info and very nice businesses. For the price of a drink or a meal they will be more than happy to give you some good tips. San Pedro is always changing and someone is always moving out or in, great rentals pop up, then disappear quickly there.