Church of St. Anthony of Padua
There are two main reasons to come to San Antonio. One is to see the pretty church, perched high above the village. The trucks will bring you to its door, but if you arrive by boat it’s a steep but rewarding climb up from the dock. The views from here are great (see photo 3), but don’t be so distracted by the view that you fail to pop inside. When we were there a group of local women were decorating the church for a festival. We decided that it must have been to mark the end of term as paper mortar boards hung from the rafters among the streamers and other decorations. There were blue balloons everywhere and a traditional woven cloth on the altar – a very colourful scene.
The church is dedicated to St Anthony of Padua – the San Antonio of the village’s name. A local woman once dreamt that he performed a miracle here, installing nets that saved the village from falling boulders during an earthquake, so the church was built in his honour and to ensure his continuing protection of the village.
Walk to the church
If your time is limited in San Antonio Palopó like mine was, I'd suggest heading up to the simle but beautiful white church up on the hill. They say in the restaurant business that location is everything and if the same applies to churches, then this place will not have any trouble packing in worshippers for services. The view from up here over the lake is amazing.
There are interesting Mayan images inside and there are some cool looking bells just to the left of the entrance. Check out my travelogue for my photos.
Along the way
Along the way to the church, you'll notice a very quiet and traditional village situated on a steep hillside on the edge of one of the world's most beautiful lakes. There's not much to see in terms of great architecture, but it's interesting to see a more traditional, no frills lifestyle in person. As we came closer to the church, we noticed the only really bustling spot other than the church itself. It was a small comedor where a number of locals were gathered to eat and socialize.
Boat to San Antonio.
It used to be buses to San Antonio, but after the Stan Hurricane the roads are in a very bad shape. The best way to reach the town is by boat (40 minutes). If you are adventorous you can also get local pick-ups cars to the town.
San Antonio´s church.
San Antonio used to be a catholic town, now much of the inhabitants are protestant. The white washed church worth a look.