Posada Schumann (tel. 5202-2216, www.posadaschumann.com, $15–50 d) is the first place you’ll come across if, like most people, you arrive into town at its dock. Most of the comfortable, well-furnished, and tastefully decorated rooms are housed in quaint stone-and-mortar cottages. An excellent value, room number 12 is a deluxe second-floor wooden bungalow ($25–36 d, depending on season) with its own deck. Numbers 8 and 10 have awesome volcano and lake views. The restaurant overlooking the well-tended gardens serves sandwiches, smoothies, and Guatemalan fare for breakfast and lunch, though the service can be slow.
West along the lakeshore past Las Pirámides is one of Guatemala’s most unique hotels. Aaculaax (tel. 5577-5072, www.aaculaax.com, $47–98 d) is a work of art constructed out of recycled building materials, including glass, carved pumice stones, and colorful papier-mâché. Each of the six rooms (two suites and four double rooms) is unique, though all have private bathrooms with composting toilets and lovely terraces. The rooms are literally built around the rocks of the surrounding hillsides, which are prominently displayed in the architecture of some of the rooms. The glasswork in evidence throughout the property is simply delicious, as is the food served in its Restaurants Las Mañanitas (8 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, $2–5). A gorgeous second-floor terrace lounge caps off the hotel’s atmosphere quite nicely.
The footpath continues farther west to Jinava Bay (tel. 5299-3311 or 5406-5986, www.hoteljinava.com, $20–38 d), on the edge of town right on the lake in a quiet bay with its own beach. The five rooms are housed in Spanish-style whitewashed, tiled-roof villas with private terraces and have private or shared bathroom and attractive decor with tile floors and colorful textiles. The restaurant serves decent meals, including Thai, Indian, Mexican, Greek, Italian, and Guatemalan dishes. There’s also a full bar.
Up the path into the main part of town is budget-friendly Hotel Restaurante El Quetzal (tel. 5350-0610, $10 d) with clean shared-bath rooms, good-value food, hot water, and a nice patio for lounging.
Further up the path is Hotel Unicornio (tel. 4289-4754, $7 pp with shared bath), an eclectic sort of place with firm beds housed in simple but brightly painted A-frame cottages. There’s a Guatemalan mail (El Correo) drop-off here.
Closer to town is pleasant Posada del Bosque Encantado (tel. 5208-5334, www.hotelposadaencantado.com, $20 d), with rooms housed in a charming adobe structure and surrounded by tranquil gardens. The rooms have Guatemalan furnishings and vaulted ceilings; some have an extra bed on a second floor loft.
Near the top of the path leading straight up the hill from the dock at Posada Schumann is Hotel y Restaurante Paco Real (tel. 4910-3855, www.hotelpacoreal.com, $17–25 d), with simple but comfortable rooms and shared or private bath. The wooden, thatched-roof cabanas include Guatemalan furnishings and woven reed floor mats in a peaceful garden setting. There’s a restaurant and bar on the premises where the highlights include Mexican dishes, seafood, and curried pineapple chicken.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com