The situation with Casa Colonial in San Antonio Palopó is very tranquil. The town itself is small and we are very near the lake but a bit beyond the town. I have included a Google Earth view because there really is nothing on Google Maps. Like in the other map, a red X marks the location.
If it looks far away from the beach, you need to appreciate the scale. The building is about 20 meters wide. Because of the elevation drop to get to the lake it might be 150 meters away.
While sometimes we can pick you up in Panajachel or drop you off there, there are other options. One is to ride in the back of a pickup (the traditional way locals travel this route) which costs Q5 per person (About $.65). The other is to hire a TukTuk which can hold three people which costs about Q50 but confirm the price when you get into the TukTuk.
While it is construction of the 21st century, it was built to look “colonial” while taking advantage of both old knowledge and new technology. For example, the building is of adobe but combines guanacaste wood beams and a serious concrete base. This ensures long-term stability but offering the old-time advantages of adobe. The most important is that with adobe’s huge thermal mass, the inside temperate of the rooms remains comfortable day and night without any need to heat or air conditioning. The woodwork, kitchen counters and such are also made of guanacaste. It was brought from the packfic coast and the carpentry was done by a carpenter in San Lucas Toliman.
All the work was done with local labor including the rock walls that are used to terrace the property. For example, Juan, who assisted in construction lives about 100 meters away. His son Pablo, is an albañil (mason) and was in charge of much of the construction.
The pickups from Panajachel take you to the center of town (in front of the Catholic Church). Here are the options to get to Casa Colonial Atitlan from the center of town.
- Walking from the center of town — http://casasderocio.com/the-area/san-antonio/between-the-center-and-casa-colonial/
- You can usually find a TukTuk within a few minutes that can take you here. The cost is Q3/person.
- You could walk down to the shoreline road (or get out of the pickup before it starts up the hill and walk. It is about one km with parts which are pretty steep. This is also the information you would need to get here by car. See http://casasderocio.com/the-area/san-antonio/san-antonio-shoreline-road/ for details with photos.
- When you arrive, ring the bell (bottom left button on the keypad). We will head down and let you in.
- Normal check-in is after 2PM, checkout is noon. We are flexible but please arrange in advance.
- Yes, you can flush toilet paper. It is the one exception to the “don’t put in the toilet anything you didn’t eat first” rule.
- We ask for pre-payment for the first night’s rent during busy times. The easiest way to do that is for you to pay “firstname.lastname@example.org” at PayPal.
- Like all Guatemala business, we are non-smoking.
- Breakfast is included with all short-term (that means non-discounted) rental rates.
- Pets may be accepted. Ask.
- There is a parking space in the garage for a small car. If you are coming in a car, let’s discuss size and available parking. Parking on the street seems safe.
- The “additional cost” of the amazing view is walking up about 45 rustic steps for the lower-level rooms and 56 for the studio apartment. I assure you it is worth it.
- You will be given a key to the porton as well as your unit so you can return late. It is “electronic”. Just pass it along the bottom edge of the keypad to activate the lock.
The Ambiance of San Antonio
San Antonio is not a tourist town. Rather, it is an indigenous community with a small assortment of places to stay. You can walk to everything and, for some things, walking is the only way to get there. If you are looking for tranquility with an amazing view, we’re the place you are looking for. We are beyond the town proper and the pavement on the road ends at our B&B. More boats than cars go by.
Virtually all the women and many of the men dress in indigenous dress. You won’t easily blend in but people tend to be really friendly and helpful. For example, one of our guests arrived in the last pickup from Pana and had little Spanish knowledge. The driver phoned us and then waited with her until we got there to show her the way.
If you want to meet real people and learn how an indigenous community functions, this is an ideal place. On the other hand, if you are just traveling for inexpensive restaurants and popular bars, San Antonio is not the destination you are looking for.
The property is about 27 meters wide but about 150 meters deep. It goes up a hill and, I admit, I have yet to walk to the end. (The previous owner said it was six years before he made that walk.)
Much of the property is above the irrigation water which has limited what has been planted but we are addressing that. We have a solar-powered pump which pumps the irrigation water up the hill to a tank to specifically use for irrigation. That makes it possible to grow the vegetables we use in our breakfasts.
Today, the following plants are on the property (The Spanish is there in case you ask Dino, our “utility man” about the plants or just want to improve your Spanish):
Aloe Vera (aloe with a strong e)
Basil, mint and other herbs (basil, mint)
Citrus including lemon, orange and mandarin orange (limon, naranja, mandarina)
and probably something I have forgotten.
Our plan is to use these in preparation of breakfasts as much as possible. That’s about as local as you can get.
This might help a TukTuk driver understand where it is. Note that if the TukTuk driver is from here and named Santos, he lives across the street.
Casa Colonial Atitlan, Barrio Tzan Quiché, km 1, Carreterra to Agua Escondida, San Antonio Palopo, 07012, Guatemala. This is rural Guatemala. There is no such thing as a house number or even a street sign.
What’s for Breakfast?
Breakfast is included with room rentals and for short-term stays in the studio apartment. There is no set menu but, in general, you can expect eggs, fresh fruit, bread or tortillas and coffee or tea. If in season (they usually are) expect to see some avocado in there and, sometimes, the bread will be our homemade oatmeal bread. Other items that appear regularly are a fresh cheese (sometimes from goat milk) and gallo pinto, a mix of beans and rice traditional to Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
We recognize that some people are Vegan (no animal-derived products) and can easily accommodate your needs. Just let us know in advance.
San Antonio is a little indigenous community and we are close to 1km from the center of town. You shouldn’t expect to find a restaurant next door and actually there are few eating options nearby. Let us know what you are looking for and we can help with suggestions.
While we aren’t a restaurant, we sometimes make dinners available to guests who ask in advance. The choices are generally fish, something vegetarian or vegan or possibly chicken. They are moderately priced (typically Q50) and both healthier and more creative than the typical food served in this area.