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San Marcos La Laguna vs. Santa Cruz La Laguna

Portland, OR
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San Marcos La Laguna vs. Santa Cruz La Laguna

We are a couple in our upper 30's that is looking for a tranquil and somewhat secluded vacation around Lake Atitlan to round out a three week trip to Guatemala & Belize over Christmas/New Years. Currently San Marcos & Santa Cruz look appealing. We are willing to splurge for the end of our trip and are definitely looking for a quieter setting with beautiful grounds and views over the lake and volcanoes (probably for a 4 night stay). We prefer to find smaller off-the-beaten-path accommodations. We enjoy exploring, hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, and diving. We are independent travelers who often keep to ourselves. We do not consider ourselves "New Age" however that environment would not bother us. Nor are we "partiers" but often enjoy having a drink or two. We are not looking for "workshops" or "retreats" but again would not mind this setting as long as it were not overbearing.

Can anyone give us some insight on the differences between San Marcos La Laguna and Santa Cruz La Laguna? We understand that there is no road access to Santa Cruz but I'm not sure if that necessarily means it's more secluded as it seems a short boat ride from Panajachel? Also we'd love to hear if there are other locations (or specific accommodations) around the lake that you feel may be a good fit.

Much thanks!

USA
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1. Re: San Marcos La Laguna vs. Santa Cruz La Laguna

Santa Cruz has long had the reputation for being what you are seeking. Not high end. But then the few highend places around the lake are way too snooty. SC is the kind of place where you can sit around and relax, doing just enough activity to keep you happy.

Not to say you can't do the same at San Marcos, but it does have the reputation of attracting the flaky New Age crystal wavers. How many if any of the people that run the places there actually believe that garbage I don't know. But it is a good marketing gimick. You have to determine if you want to hang with those flakes. I like the deal one place was running as part of their "New Moon" program. They had a fasting program. In other words.. you paid them to not feed you. From a business plan standpoint it was brilliant. I tried to find a property there to open my own ashram. My particular specialties are channeling and aura reading. Very similar to the other program. But my ashram was also going to have a deep pit BBQ to attract the fasters who slacked.

Panajachel...
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2. Re: San Marcos La Laguna vs. Santa Cruz La Laguna

Have you thought about Jaibalito and Casa del Mundo?

http://www.lacasadelmundo.com/

Panajachel...
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3. Re: San Marcos La Laguna vs. Santa Cruz La Laguna

Have you considered Hotel Villa Sumaya near San Marcos. Very secluded, comfortable and relaxing. The food is more interesting than in some of the other places on the lake.

Lake Atitlan
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for Lake Atitlan
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4. Re: San Marcos La Laguna vs. Santa Cruz La Laguna

Beyond the previous recommendations, take a look at www.vrbo.com for private home rentals. These are a nice alternative to a hotel as they will offer more space, the luxury of your own kitchen, and a wide range of pricing. There are selections in either village.

Lake Atitlan
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5. Re: San Marcos La Laguna vs. Santa Cruz La Laguna

You may also consider renting a private home as an alternative to a hotel. Look at www.vrbo.com for selections in either village.

USA
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6. Re: San Marcos La Laguna vs. Santa Cruz La Laguna

One thing you don't mention is money. Do you have a budget and if so what is it? In dollars, not adjectives. Nice thing about the lake is that with the exception of a few new rip off spots, it is one of the best vacation buys around. My ultra favorite hotel is $12 a night. I've known folks to get by on that figure for everything. No rats, no bugs and they got to stay for 6 months. The worst way to visit the lake is having a fixed date when you have to leave.

Portland, OR
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7. Re: San Marcos La Laguna vs. Santa Cruz La Laguna

Thanks all for your posts! We don't really have a set budget but would prefer to stay under $150/night which seems to be more than enough for this area. We're also very excited about the possibility of renting a house/property! Thanks for passing along that website.

GTBob - you crack me up! I thought the same thing when I read about the place in San Marcos that does the fasting ... what a brilliant business model!

USA
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8. Re: San Marcos La Laguna vs. Santa Cruz La Laguna

$150 a night.... For that you could get an excellent hotel, fantastic meals, a trip over to San Pedro for pizza and drugs and buy enough handicrafts to take care of all your Christmas shopping needs. I go to the lake a couple times a year. It's business so I stay in Pana but any spot is minutes away.Serious about $12 a night for the hotel. Met a couple staying a tad down the street at $60 but they moved the second night to my hotel as the rooms were nicer. There is a relatively new fancy place in Pana but I watched them build it and no way could you pay me to go in the place. I'm thinking of all the restaurants around the lake. Unless you drink like lushes a tab of maybe $25 is top end. l tend to flip flop between two places.. one for fillete mignon, the other for great Malayasian food. $15 stuffs me if I've skipped lunch. You don't have to pay a gob of money to have a great time at the Lake. Guat. has always been one of the cheapest places to vacation in the western hemisphere. The lake is one of the best buys in Guat. Think Mexico 25 years ago before the drug money built the Yucatan and Pacific time share resorts.

Portland, OR
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9. Re: San Marcos La Laguna vs. Santa Cruz La Laguna

GTBob, what is the place you refer to that is $12 a night and in which village?

Bethesda, MD
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10. Re: San Marcos La Laguna vs. Santa Cruz La Laguna

I presume Bob is referring to Mario's Rooms in Panajachel.

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