San Pedro La Laguna at Lake Atitlan Guatemala Tropical Storm Agatha Landslide Update

Guatemala landslide Lake Atitlan caused by Agatha

You can see where the landslide came down the San Pedro volcano on the upper center right of this photograph. Photo courtesy of Mike Jones, The Buddha, San Pedro La Laguna

On the night of Saturday the 29th of March the rains from Tropical storm Agatha triggered a landslide in San Pedro La Laguna at Lake Atitlan. So far my friends there say only one person is reported missing, a 10 year old girl. Tragic enough in itself, adding to the tragedy is that many families lost their houses, belongings and beloved pets. There are worse stories around the lake, but I am friends with people directly affected by this one. The victims include ex-patriots who have lived in San Pedro for many years and local Tzutujil Maya families.
Mike Jones owner of The Buddha restaurant and bar posted these photos of the landslide and has kindly granted me permission to re-post them here. For people who know San Pedro La Laguna the damage starts just past Punto De Oro and continues down the road to the gas station. The Finca road has been basically obliterated on this stretch. There is no significant damage reported in the central part of town or in the lower sections where the tourist hotels and restaurants are located. If you can get there, San Pedro La Laguna is still open for business. It’s a good cheap place to cool your heels while waiting for travel on the roads and by air to open up again.

The finca road Guatemala landslide

The Finca road. Photo courtesy of Mike Jones, The Buddha, San Pedro La Laguna

landslide at lake atitlan from Agatha

Landslide looking down beach from Punto de Oro. Photo courtesy of Mike Jones, The Buddha, San Pedro La Laguna

Lake Atitlan Spanish school in mud

Lake Atitlan Spanish school in mud. Photo courtesy of Mike Jones, The Buddha, San Pedro La Laguna

landslide in San Pedro La Laguna

A 10 year old girl went missing near the house where this giant boulder landed. Photo courtesy of Mike Jones, The Buddha, San Pedro la Laguna

Debris field looking to lake Atitlan

Looking down to lake Atitlan from the landslide debris field. Photo Courtesy of Mike Jones, The Buddha, San Pedro

salvaged furniture from houses in San Pedro

Furniture salvaged from the homes destroyed in the landslide at San Pedro La Laguna from tropical storm Agatha.

This home is owned by a friend and being house sat by another friend who lost all his posessions.


San Pedro La Laguna at Lake Atitlan Guatemala Tropical Storm Agatha Landslide Update — 9 Comments

  1. To sue-anne solem:

    I am looking into going to one of the spanish school’s here. I would love to hear about your experience and any advice that you may have. I really want to learn Spanish.

    Thank you in advance

  2. I got the news of this devastating event from Bill Rickel. I visited San Pedro in December and January to study Spanish at the San Pedro Spanish school. I stayed with Antonio and Cecilia Gonzales, who run the Tzutujil Maya Tourist Agency near the Pana dock. I have tried to communicate with them, and with Bistro Dave, and Jen at the Buddha Bar, with no results. I want to know how everyone is doing. I am thinking of returning to study in July and August. What are the conditions now? Are the roads ok for driving in? How is the Finca Rd. now? Is there something I can do to help? I want to stay in contact with all the great people I met, but have only been able to stay in contact with Bill and his family. If you can help, let me know. I send prayers out for all the people, the animals and the land.

  3. This breaks my heart. San Pedro is my home away from home. I am hoping I can help when I return in June. I stay on the finca road. Devastating photos.

  4. I spent 3 mo in San Pedro last fall/winter retuning home for x mas. the photo are heartbreaking! i do not recognize any thing in the photos. i spent most of my time in Zona 2 i did go up the hill from time to time but only a few blocks past the church.

    Its real sad to here about the little girl but I am real glad it was not worse. when i was there things were bad already with the problem with the lake, lack of tourists and the lack of rain now this. i hope to be back again this winter it is truly a special place.

  5. What are the conditions in San Juan La Laguna? We planned on visiting an aquaintance there in three weeks. Her name is Mary Micikas and she runs a health clinic.
    Thanks, Peter

    • Conditions there are good, relatively speaking. By then the roads in should be clear, if not you can go to Panajachel and take a launcha (ferry boat) to the town. They have power now and the slide there has not affected the main part of town. I am not there, this is what I have been told. If I hear differently I will certainly post it.

    • the conditions in san juan are getting better the roads are know open. I live in the next town over la laguna san pedro .We are working hard to get it back the way it use to be. I would have no problem visiting in two weeks. every thing should be back to normal.

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