Adventure / Central America / Guatemala

Shuttle drivers, how we love them!

Room with a view!

Jaynie’s journal excerpt from San Pedro, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala


Uggh.  This trip I have woken up at 6:00 a.m. every single day.  This morning was no different.  I was up with the sun shining across Lake Atitlan and in through my window.  Scott and I had our breakfast in the jungle at this cute, little, outside patio restaurant called the Idea Connection.  They had delicious food and coffee.  Our eggs and French toast were so fresh.

San-Pedro-Lake- Atitlan
San Pedro docks

We made our way to the boat dock around 8:00 and then took the 45 minute Panga boat across the lake to Panajachel.  This was the main mode of transportation around the lake.  Being such a deep lake of 1,100 feet, we were surprised it was such a peaceful and smooth ride.

We knew in Panajachel we would find a chicken bus or a shuttle van.  They tended to be congregated in the market area. We needed to get to the airport in Guatemala City to see if we could find a flight to the other side of Guatemala.  Our destination was the Munda Maya airport near Flores and then onto the Mayan ruins of Tikal.

I knew there was an evening flight.  Getting on it was the question!

After walking around Panajachel for a bit we found a shuttle stall and a helpful woman said the next van would be leaving in ten minutes.  Perfect timing!  After we loaded up we discovered we were the only customers on the shuttle.  That was a rare occurrence, usually we were smashed like sardines shoulder to shoulder.

This allowed us to really talk with our shuttle driver.  We spoke some Spanish and he spoke some English.  He wanted to know our plan for the day and our flight at the airport.  We told him we had no plan and hoped to catch a flight.  He made some calls, as we were winding our way through the mountains, and found that the 5:30 p.m. flight was open and only $127.00 per person.  That was better than I expected!

The tire shop

We chatted the rest of the way of the two hour drive.  As we entered the city, our driver wanted to make a stop at a tire shop.  He pulled into the garage bay and asked us to wait outside.  We stood at the end of the tire bay ten yards from the high way and watched our driver discuss tires with the work crew.  They then jacked up our van, and put new tires on!  When we saw the tires they removed we were so happy to be getting new ones.  Those tires were bald!  These guys were quick workers, it only took about ten minutes and off we went again.

Chicken Bus passing the tires shop

We were getting even closer to the airport.  Then, our driver said he needed to stop again.  We then pull into the Walmart parking lot!  He left us sitting in the van for ten minutes.  We thought he was shopping.  He returned and asked Scott to go with him and bring our passports and money.  We still weren’t sure exactly what was going on.  Twenty minutes later, they returned with our plane tickets!  We didn’t know that Walmart had a private travel agent kiosk in front of the store.

Off to the airport we went. Yea!

Our driver was so sweet, he really hooked us up and went out of his way to be helpful!

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