Isla Verde Hotel

Trip Start Jun 10, 2012
Trip End Aug 17, 2013

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Where I stayed
Hotel IslaVerde Santa Cruz La Laguna
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Guatemala  , Western Highlands,
Saturday, November 17, 2012

After our last week of Spanish school, we stayed in the Isla Verde hotel for 5 days. It is very close to the town of Santa Cruz, but is actually all by itself & you can only get there by boat. I liked it because it is so quiet and peaceful. This hotel is right on Lake Atitlan, and has a beautiful view of it. It is a very organic-type hotel. Most of their food and tea is grown in their gardens, and they have trails to hike on in the forest. It is widely known for their dinners. People come from Santa Cruz just to eat there. It is really good! We mostly just relaxed there. There was a circular yoga room with tons of bean bags and most of the wall was glass. It had a beautiful view of the lake. This yoga room had two ropes hung on either side. These were the really stretchy ropes that are actually the type used in circuses. Me and Soph had tons of fun playing on those every day. There was another one of those ropes in the woods too, along with a large wooden canoe made into a swing. I really liked this hotel, except for the fact that there was no hot water. And all of the bugs. We had 4 'wall-spiders' in our room, the biggest being about 3 inches. They just sat on the wall until a poor bug flew by, and they they leaped on the bug and grabbed it with their fangs. They they would eat it just like that. It was fascinating to watch. On the first night in the hotel, we saw a scorpion. It was just a little black one. The people there said there are many scorpions, but they don't cause harm; it's similar to a bee sting. Then we researched those scorpions later, and learned that a small sting can cause some sort of dangerous 'shock' and even paralyze you for a short time. We also had another scorpion in our room, but I got it out with a cup and paper even though my Mom told me to stay away from it. 
On the second day staying there, we went to the famous market in Chichicastenango. It is a town a couple of hours from Santa Cruz. This town has a market every Thursday and Sunday, and it is the third biggest market in Latin America! It was huge. I got lots of things there, most of them being beaded rings that I will probably never wear but are really cool. If you go to that market, you really have to be able to bargain. Most people will offer a really high price at first, but you can get them down to about a third of their price. The key is acting like your not that interested. If you still think their price is too high, just start to walk away and they will probably say "wait! Okay you can have it for..." Probably my best bargain was when someone offered a necklace for about 140 quetzales (about 17 USD). I said "No! Too expensive. How about 25 quetzales?" (a little over 3 USD). That was the price I bought a similar necklace back in Antigua. When she said no, I said "okay" and walked away even though I really wanted it. About 30 seconds later, she was chasing after me, saying "okay! 25 quetzales is okay!" Going to this market really helped me practice my bargaining skills. 
All of the other days, we just relaxed and did school. We had a yoga class in the room overlooking the lake. Me and Soph also took a drumming class. On the second-to-last day in the hotel, we went kayaking in the lake. The mountains around the lake were absolutely gorgeous. On November 21, we said goodbye to Guatemala. I felt kind of sad leaving after staying for almost two months. It was an amazing time that I spent in that country. There is so much to see, and every part of it is beautiful or interesting.
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