We travel through Antigua about twice a year. We host groups of engineers and students working on projects throughout the country. Usually our first night is in Antigua. It is about 45 minutes from the Guatemala City Airport and most in-country travel options are available.
Our student groups usually stay at the Black Cat Hostel which is just one block from the central plaza. The cost is about $8.00 per night to stay in a dorm style room with a shared bath. The water is hot and the place vibrates with energy. Fortunately they close the restaurant/bar at 10:00pm and the place calms down for the night.
The real treat at the Black Cat is that Breakfast is included in the price of your room - and it is a really great breakfast!
Check out: the Black Cat
We (The Appropriate Technology Collaborative) have been in Guatemala for 2 years now. We know our way around pretty well. We know which places really merit your attention, moreover we know great places to eat and sleep throughout the country.
We are starting a regular update of this site with special emphasis on:
Copan (technically in Honduras, but most folks get there from Guatemala)
Xela (also known as Quetzaltenango)
This arc through Guatemala, known to many as "La Ruta Maya" and also as "The Gringo Trail" has much to offer.
Our blog will deliver to your door our unfiltered knowledge of where to stay and where to eat - where we got food poisoning and where we ate our way through the entire market without so much as a burp.
Some of the places we have reviewed in the past have changed ownership. Some are no longer in business. One hostel where we stayed in Guatemala City has had a Disco move in next door and the walls are thumpin' till 4:00am.
Please check back. We have updates rolling into Guatemala Travel almost daily.
On the shores of Lake Atitlan are several small towns. Santa Cruz is one of the smaller of these towns. At water level there are a few hotels, restaurants and one large, active and very nice hostel. La Iguana Perdida ( the lost iguana) has much to offer. First I have to report that the Lonely Planet has this place all wrong. Local rumors (Guatemala has more rumors per capita than any other place on the planet) is that the writer for the Lonely Planet never actually visited the place due to some financial problems with the home office. The LP has reported through more than one issue that the Iguana has no hot water. I am pleased to give a personal report that the Iguana has hot showers and cold beer which fits my view of how life should be on the road.
The Iguana is almost a village itself. Dozens of room types to choose from - big dorms, small dorms, privates, cottages, etc. They have scuba lessons and gear + lots of hikes and other ways to interact with this beautiful place.
Also down at water level is the restaurant Jacaranda - great food on the water with a perfect ambience. The prices are very reasonable. Definitely worth your visit if you are on the lake.
However just visiting the Iguana and environs at lake level really isn't getting to see Santa Cruz. You should visit the church in the town square. It has dozens of carved figures that date back centuries. All lined up along one of the church walls makes you feel you are in an eternal procession.
The Amigos de Santa Cruz, a local non profit are building a new school that will have a commercial kitchen + local, historically accurate crafts store just off the square. I visited the place while still under construction and it will have the best view of the lake from any location. It is truely breath-taking. Check it out sometime in 2010.