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Viva San Pedro !

May 29th 2012, Tuesday’s Edition

Viva San Pedro

Welcome to San Pedro La Laguna Friendly local people, delicious cuisine and a host of activities both day and night make San Pedro one of the most visited towns on Lake Atitlan. If you are visiting this special place you will need to take more than just a couple of days to unmask the many charms it has to offer. Surrounded by the dramatic slopes of Toliman, Atitlan and San Pedro volcanoes, the lake itself is a stunning sight. There are many ways to enjoy nature’s bounty whilst in San Pedro: take a kayak out on the lake; hike up San Pedro volcano or The Nose; get a guided tour to one of the many nearby attractions such as the zipline; take a mountain bike ride to feel the adrenaline pumping but above all take the time to gaze upon the calm beauty of the lake. No digital image will ever do justice to what your eyes will see. Getting a feel for the local culture couldn’t be easier or more fun. The Mayan people are

very polite and friendly, expect to be greeted by pretty much everyone you see! The best time to see the hustle of local life is early in the morning at the market where you can buy fresh local produce and sample some cheap and tasty street food. Try the everything sandwich for only Q2.50! With your bag full of local produce, take a walk around the rustic streets of San Pedro and see how the Maya people live. San Pedro is also home to a large community of English speaking people. Visit the tourist area or ‘Gringotenango’ and sample a wide range of reasonably priced, fresh and tasty menus. There are many bars within this area, all of which offer a variety of entertainment from poolside boccie ball to darts or pub quizzes and just good oldfashioned socialising. This little piece of paradise really does exist and it’s just waiting for you to grab your camera and explore every inch of it!

La PiscinaSan Pedro Bar & Restaurant Swimming pool Billiard Boccie balls

The Best n Afternoo Hangout

Atitlan, a lake on the rise... I won’t lie to you. I was told the lake could rise. I was told there was a 30 year cycle. I was told there was a 50 year cycle. I smiled. I nodded. I thought about crystal balls and stories told by grand-fathers. I bought some land 150 metres away from the lake, 8 vertical metres from the waterline with 6 neighbours between me and the water. I thought I was safe. No one spoke about the lake rising. No one really thought about it. For a couple of years the lake even went down. In 2005 Hurrican Stan paid us a visit and in one week the lake rose one vertical metre. That was a lot of rain. Fortunately, it happened at the end of the rainy season, the local ‘lancha’ operators raised their docks and business and life continued as usual. The following years, with or without special storms, the lake continued to rise a little each year. It wasn’t anything to be alarmed about; nobody had houses that close to the shore anyway. Sure, the local farmers lost a couple of corn plants to the erosion but life was good. At this point it is important to understand that the lake has no exit point. Only evaporation can reduce the quantity of water it holds, that or a change in the magma chamber or an earthquake. In 1976, after a particularly strong earthquake, the lake lost 2 vertical metres in 3 months and then another 8 vertical metres in the years following immediately afterwards. This created new land, new beaches and new farming fields.

Bored of your travel clothes?


Second-hand clothes, hip and unique pieces


Viva San Pedro

We also do alterations & repairs

As time passed, people forgot about how the lake once owned these lands. Local people built houses on the new land, tourists who loved the lifestyle of the lake bought the new land and built houses on it. After 2006, a new natural phenomenon began to affect the lake. It rained more every rainy season than what can be evaporated in the dry season. The result being that each year the lake rose a little more. Until in 2010, hurricane Agatha poured another vertical meter in the lake in 5 days. A first business was lost to the lake. Our friend Nick closed the doors of “La Playa”. Some houses were also affected but most lakeside owners were safe, this time. Then came the nightmare of 2011: rain, rain and more rain. By the end of October we heaved a sigh of relief and though to have avoided the crisis. We were wrong. A tropical depression, not even an hurricane, called E-12, stagnated for 10 days over Central America and gave us rain as bad as the biblical great flood. At some points, the lake was rising 1 centimetre per hour! Lots of our friends lost their houses, and some businesses had to close or move. Now, of the 150 meters that used to separate my business from the lake, none are left. The lake has quite literally stopped at my fence. I have had to build another septic system and a new toilet. I’ll still in business this year but next year, who knows.



# 11 on the map

Saturday Brunch All you can eat for 40Q 10 am to 2 pm. -- Open every night at 5 pm --

San Pedro, a day, a week or a lifetime? Every day boats dock in San Pedro carrying tourists eager to sample another Mayan village. They take a quick walk around, maybe buy a souvenir or sample some local food then leave with no particularly outstanding impression. Then there are travellers who maybe come to San Pedro to relax or take part in one of the many activities on offer in the town. They doubtless enjoy their stay and leave with a positive impression of the friendly Mayan and foreign peoples who live there. They may even visit again or recommend the town to fellow travellers. Then there are those who stay a little longer. They fall in love with the Mayan people, with the relaxed atmosphere of the gringo bars and start to see what makes this town magical. They realise it is more than just a place to recharge your batteries but perhaps a little slice of paradise and they stay another week.

when you find it is hard to leave. A lot of the foreigners who live in San Pedro came for a couple of days but now call this funky little town home. In order to survive some of us have set up businesses but don’t be fooled, it’s not easy to eek out a living in a place like San Pedro. Yet those of us who have chosen to live here know that despite our complaints about limited profit margins we would never give up our piece of paradise to return to the rat race. The lifestyle here is amazing, the people are friendly and the sun shines most of the year. Those of you with a tendency towards a laidback lifestyle and a dislike of the daily 9-5 grind beware. Maybe even take the next boat out of town before the vortex sucks you in...

After a couple of weeks in San Pedro, you find you know all the bar and restaurants owners by name moreover the staff know what you drink and they call you by your name. You can almost feel you are amongst family. That’s

Tacos : 3 x 12 q Quesadillas : 13 Q Tortas : 17 Q Open until 1 am every night


Abierto hasta la una de la mañana todo los dias

Viva San Pedro

Good, cheap, fast

Some tips on taking pictures in Guate Your Lonely Planet guide has warned you about taking pictures of children in Guatemala. You’ve heard what happened to that Japanese tourist in 2000 but still your finger hovers over the lens cover on your camera whenever something photograph-worthy catches your eye. Taking photographs in Guatemala requires the same amount of common sense that you would use taking photographs anywhere. Ask yourself, would you like to have a stranger shove their camera in your face without your permission as you go about your daily life? If the answer is no, then the chances are the people you wish you to photograph feel the same way!

The problem of course with asking permission is that if people know you are taking their picture the results can be artificial and lose that special quality that you saw in the first place. What follows is some advice on how to capture the moment without upsetting your subjects. 1. Try to use a small digital camera, huge Canon or Nikon cameras are not discret. Of course, if you have one of these with a huge zoom range, you could just take your picture from far away. I am a trained professional photographer and my weapon of choice is a simple Lumix, 10x optical zoom; it’s small so it fits in your pocket but still takes excellent photographs. 2. Do not look directly at your subject. Put the camera at an angle facing the subject but look in front of you as you take the picture. Don’t forget to make sure the flash is off!!! 3. If you are with another person, you can get them to help you by posing next to the subject you actually wish to photograph and then cropping the friend out later. Alternatively you can pretend you are showing your friend the back screen of your camera and take a picture of your subject at the same time.

YoMama’s Casa

%PSNT1SJWBUFSPPNT * Fire Pit / Hammocks * Kitchen / Pool Table * Free Coffee and Tea

# 26 on the Map


Viva San Pedro


Health Care Center “Los Volcanes” San Pedro La Laguna at 100 metres of the Panajachel Dock, next to Hotel Mansion Del Lago.

We offer the services of :

Medical Laboratory Dentist and Health Care Doctor 24 hours Emergency

7823-7656 — 4951-7330 — 4013-1967

4. If you are able to engage in conversation with people or wish to take photographs of people you are friends with you can of course ask their permission. Ensure that the first photograph is bad as they generally tend to be, show it to the subject to make them laugh and this will usually encourage them to want more photographs taken

with a print of the photograph. They will invariably be excited by this and may even offer you money which you will of course decline and instead give them the print as a gift. Doubtless the same people will be more than willing to let you take photographs again. 6. Something else worth knowing is that when someone dies in Guatemala a photograph of the deceased person is placed upon their coffin. If you take a photograph of an elderly person and offer them a print of it this could not only please them but ending up being their final portrait used by their family.

to improve upon the first one. Keep going with the photographs until your subject gets bored of posing and you can then take more subtle, natural shots of the person(s) in their natural environment.

In a place like San Pedro, taking photographs of people in a public place is in no way dangerous. They are used to tourists and their cameras. However, when you visit more secluded villages it is worth being cautious. Like the infamous story of the unfortunate Japanese tourist in 2000, local people could well believe that you are taking photographs of their children to arrange a kidnapping. You must keep in mind that such villagers will not be used to camera-wielding tourists and may therefore, be hostile towards you.

5. Another good idea is to return to the people you have taken photographs of

Wherever you take a photograph in a foreign country be sure to use your

Hotel Sak’cari El Amanecer Beautiful Lakefront Eco-Hotel

San Pedro La Laguna

(Photos : D. Bazinet)

RESTAURANTE 15 years of experience in serving you the best food Happy Hour 5-8 pm Great daily specials Friday : Fish Night

Viva San Pedro

E-Mail : (502) 7721-8096

common sense. Be considerate towards the people you are photographing. Remember they are just going about their daily lives and did not request to be the subject of traveller’s curiosity. They are merely living, you are passing by…

5 book page. Most business in San Pedro still don’t have a Web site but will probably be thinking about it now that there is a portal that will be advertised every day in the Viva San Pedro Magazine. A new business, SPWebStudio is now taking on the mandate of help ing local business to be visible on the net by producing Web sites at low cost that are accessible directly or via the portals.

# 5 on the Map

I do miss the time when somewhere popularity was mostly base on other people’s stories. But we have to be of our time and admit that the tourist of today relies more on trip advisor and Wikipedia than the opinion of his fellow travellers. Therefor, San Pedro has to be of it’s time and be available on the net. San Pedro La Laguna has now two portals, .net and .org. The magazine Viva San Pedro also has a Web site, and a Face-

Jenny’s Closet Slightly Used Clothes, Amazing Prices

The Best Burger in San Pedro

Viva San Pedro

Speciality : Big Sandwich

Trust us to organize your activities and all your transportation needs.


Agencia Maya Tzutujil (Also Postal Services)

# 27 on the Map

Flor del cafe

Profile of a New Age Traveller Camera, towel, Lonely Planet guide to the local area, phrasebook, hiking boots and a backpack of books you’ve always meant to read but never found the time. That’s surely what every traveller needs right? Well it would appear that the missing piece of traveller’s heaven is free wi-fi and a bottomless cup of coffee. At the risk of sounding cynical it’s these additions to the travel essentials that are killing the once unquenchable thirst to share your experiences with another human being. Picture if you will, a sunny afternoon in the lakeside town of San Pedro, there are a host of activities available to you and if you don’t feel up to any of them there’s always the pleasure of an ice cold beer and a friendly chat. Sadly this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. While you will definitely still find a number of tourists taking advantage of the many adventures Guatemala has to offer it’s sad to see the

greater number of younger tourists sat in internet cafes. Of course you want to share your adventures with those back home but wouldn’t you have more to tell them if you were out there grabbing the bull by its horns so to speak?! With so much to do and see it seems a waste to spend time uploading pictures instead of taking more. Skype certainly helps you to keep in touch with those back home but nothing compares to face to face conversation with fellow travellers; exchanging stories over a beer and being told about that ‘secret spot’ doesn’t come close to paging through an online travel blog does it? Remember why you left home in the first place I say and experience everything available to you whilst you are away. A Chinese proverb says it best - ‘No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.’

Certified Legal Translator Traductora Jurada English - Spanish / Spanish - English inglés - español / español - inglés


Home Cooking, Homemade Pasta or Take Away

All forms of translation available. Se hacen traducciones Legales y Libres

(Police Records, Birth Certificates, etc... all Documents related to Residency) (Documentos relacionados con el trámite de Residencia) Cel: (502) 5487-7010

Open from may 23rd to may 30th Closed may 31, june 1st to 4th Open june 5th to 9th 12:00 - 17:00

Pub Quiz

with Great Prizes

Viva San Pedro

Wednesday night, 7 pm -- Open every night at 5 pm --


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La Piscina San Pedro Mikaso Hotel & Resto el Barrio The Buddha Jenny’s Closet / Le jardin The Clover Ventana Blue Jarachik Coco’s Tacomex (#10 & #27) Jakuu’ Zoola Humus Ya Lole’s / Health Food store Gypsy’s / Los Volcanes / Pollo Pedrito Allegre Pub D’noz Chilies One Shanti shanti Burrito Factory La Clau Agencia nMaya Tzutujil Hotel Sak’cari Hostel Yo’ Mamas Flor del Cafe Comedor Elena Casa Blanca

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Legend : Restaurants Hotel Bank or ATM Museum Internet

Boat to Panajachel


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Road to San Juan

Road to Santiago (Unsafe)



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La piscina San Pedro


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Boat to Santiago


Viva San Pedro

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Info : Production : Daniel Bazinet Collaborators : Trish Van Veen, Ilda Resch Photo : Daniel Bazinet Distribution : Adrian Information : 5304 7357

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Viva San Pedro ! Quality Food At Affordable Prices

Monday-Saturday : 8am-10pm. Sunday : 4pm-10pm

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Viva San Pedro  

May 29th 2012 of Viva San Pedro Magazine