As we walked about the tiny village of San Antonio Palopo, our friend gave my husband a bag of candy and suggested that he share it with the local children. He neglected to warn him of their enthusiasm!
The candy disappeared in a flash and left us all laughing!
As we arrived at Panajachel, we encountered a policeman standing in the middle of the road. He waved us over. He said that there was an entrance fee to get into town. It was 5 quezales or about $.60. We argued it at first but paid eventually. When we asked the clerk at the hotel, he told us that the policeman just needed some spending money!
Panajachel is a relatively safe village, but not as safe as Antigua Guatemala. Exercise caution when walking around. You might encounter some drug addicts and/or drug traffickers at the lakeside. Don't show any interest (I assume you are not a drug addict!).
I was surprised to see so much smoke, especially later in the day when the wind started to blow in. There was a lot of agricultural burning going on throughout the country when I visited and some of this smoke obscured the clear skies over the lake and made for a hazy view of the volcanoes surrounding the water.
If you don't get up early and catch a morning boat, you can expect a fairly choppy boat ride on the lake. Also, beware of paying the gringo price for a boat ride. Be sure to negotiate a little and don't just accept the first price you are quoted.
Many travel books indicate a lovely nature hike up to El Mirador from the village of Santiago. DO NOT attempt this on your own, but rather if you are interested, sign up with a travel agency that provides a tour guide and an armed security guard. I unfortunately saw posted the pictures of two travellers that went missing from this area. Just be aware that the possibility of robbery or worse exists there. Exercise the proper caution and you will have NO problems.
The local indigenous people call the storms "Xocomil." The winds come up without warning tossing the normally placid lake into whirlpool and cresting waves over 2 mitres in height. Many a boater has not returned because of these unpredictable storms.