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While my friend and I shopped for ceramics our husbands strolled down the street and came upon a soccer game being played on a field beside the lake. The field was rough and unkept but the view of the lake was glorious. Much fun was had by all!
Written Jun 25, 2006
Address: San Antonio Palopo
You can hike around the lake and to the neighboring villages along trails that edge the lake. Keep in mind, however, that it will take some time. For example, to get to Santa Catarina Palopo, which is the closest village to the southeast of Pana, takes about 2 hours. Bring plenty of water and always hike with a partner or a group.
You can also climb three volcanoes from here: San Lucas, Atitlán and San Pedro. We had had enough climbing after doing Volcan Pacaya (which is between Guatemala City and Antigua), so we didn't do it, but we heard that only Atitlán and San Pedro are worth the effort. Just remember that it requires at least a one day trip to climb each one.
Updated Jun 28, 2005
We asked a few people about paragliding over the lake and before long, we ran into someone who gave us a phone number. I called and ended up speaking to a French Canadian guy from Quebec City named Roger. Roger is quite a character and he's been living in Pana for years where he now has a wife and kids. We met him near the beach and caught a small taxi called a torita which took us to the edge of town where we jumped in the back of a pickup that took us high up the mountain above the town of Santa Catarina. The conditions were a bit hazy because of the burning of sugarcane fields near the Pacific coast, but after a few minutes of setting up, I was flying!! Paragliding is basically just standing at the top of a mountain strapped to a modified parachute sail and waiting for a good gust of wind. At that point, you just start running toward the edge and before you get there, the wind should lift you up. From there, you just play with the thermals and ride the wind. It was a little unnerving when Roger started saying in his heavy French accent, "Oh, sh*t, sh*t, sh*t. Dis is not good." Apparently, the conditions weren't ideal, but it was cool flying over the tree-covered hills among the clouds and then heading out over the lake a bit before landing on the beach. Ryan's ride was even dodgier and he ended up having to land a half a mile up the beach because the wind wasn't sufficient for a longer ride.
I believe we paid around $60 each (I think it was around 450 Q).
Updated Jun 28, 2005