For budget accommodations, your best bet in San Pedro is Yo Mama’s Casa (El Otro Lado, tel. 5755-4540, yomamas.sanpedro [at] gmail [dot] com, $3.75 dorms, $8 d private room). All rooms have shared bath and there is a movie room, pool table, and hammock lounge to enjoy. Guests have free use of the kitchen. The dorm rooms all have footlockers to secure valuables.
Another decent budget choice is Hotel Pinocchio (tel. 5845-7018) where spartan but clean rooms built around a garden run $4.50 for dorms or $6.50 per person with a private bathroom. There’s a hammock on the patio fronting each room. To get here, take 7th Avenue and follow the signs heading towards El Otro Lado.
A popular favorite with travelers of all sorts is Casa Elena (tel. 5310-9243, $10–25 d), found by turning left at the first corner as you come up the street from the Panajachel boat dock. Housed in a large peach-and-white building, it has clean rooms with shared or private bathroom. Two larger rooms on the top floor face the lake and have nice patios with hammocks, tables, and chairs.
The hippest place in town is the friendly, Israeli-owned Zoola (tel. 5534-3111, zoolapeople [at] gmail [dot] com, $4 dorms, $13 d with private bath), found along the trail heading into El Otro Lado. It has eight rooms, half with private bathroom, and dorm beds. There is a movie lounge, book exchange, purified water from its own well, and a massage room, but the crowning achievement is the beautiful canvas-roof hammock lounge with comfortable pillows on woven floor mats.
Around the corner is Jarachik ($4 p/p with shared bath, $10 d with private bath), an acceptable budget choice with clean but spartanly decorated rooms. In the small private bathrooms, the shower is practically on top of the toilet and lacks a shower curtain.
Hotelito El Amanecer Sak'cari (7a Avenida 2-12 Zona 2, tel. 7721-8096, www.hotelsakcari.com, $26 d) feels a bit like a motel, though the rooms on the second floor have nice lake views with hammocks out front. All rooms have a private bathroom. The owners had added a small snack bar during my last visit.
Just up the street from the Panajachel boat dock, Hotel Mansión del Lago (near the Santiago dock, tel. 7721-8041, www.hotelmansiondellago.com, $10–20 d) has clean, pleasantly painted rooms in shades of blue, most with balconies where you can take in the lake views from a rocking chair.
The nicest place in San Pedro is Mikaso Hotel (tel. 5973-3129, www.mikasohotel.com, $8 p/p in dorm, $25–45 d) with 11 rooms and a dormitory housed in an attractive Spanish neocolonial-style building fronting the lakeshore. Rooms have tile bathrooms, ceiling fans, tile floors, and tasteful decor. The rooftop restaurant here is also quite smart, serving Mediterranean Spanish food, including delicious bocadillos (sandwiches), and open 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Movies are shown three times a week on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday nights.
Just outside of town on the road to Santiago Atitlán, Casa San Pedro (tel. 5963-6910 or 7736-8101, www.hotelcasasanpedrosa.com, $40 d) is a comfortable lodge housed in a large stone villa with Spanish tile roof. Rooms are well furnished and have lake views. The hotel has its own boat dock with kayaks and bikes for rent. Amenities include a sauna, whirlpool tub, video library, and pool table.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com