Wanted to warn everyone of a recent event that happened while me and two friends where staying in San Pedro la Laguna. It was a friday and we thought that it would be a good idea to take a shuttle service to Antigua on Saturday morning so we went into a small travel agency called "Maya Tzutujil" its up and to the left 15 meters from the Panajachel dock, . They gave us the info time and price and charged us for the 3 shuttle tickets, Q75 each. Unfortunatelly we went kayaking afterwards and accidentally the tickets which were in my backpocket got soaked wet and fell apart.
Because of this reason we decided to go back to the Maya Tzutujil travel agency and ask if they could give us new ones, this is where the problem began. When we arrived back to the shop a woman in the front desk told us that we would be charged half of the price for the new shuttle tickets, we understood this and had no objections but she strangely continued explaining why she had to charge us half price , and telling us the Rules, etc etc, we were not even asking her or objecting we were actually quiet as far as i recall. This is where things started getting weird....suddenly a guy came out from a back room and asked what was going on, and when we explained that our tickets had gotten wet torn apart, and we needed new ones, he told us we would have to pay full price for 3 new tickets.... The funny thing at this point is that we were not even complaining or anything we had already agreed to pay half price for the new tickets but with this guy coming into the picture saying that we had to pay full price, we told him that the woman had already told us it was half price to print new tickets. The guy instead of realizing his mistake of trying to overcharge us, took out the tickets and started arguing about some small text in the back explaining some rules or policies on tickets and telling us that we had to pay the full price. We calmly told him that the woman who had attended to us had already told us it was half price to pay for the tickets and we were going to pay that amount. To our surprise the man started to freak out on us, he slammed a book on the desk counter and yelled at us that we should leave and he really got into my friends face we thought he was going to hit her or something for a moment, he screamed that this was not our home and we had to respect the rules, he also took out his phone and pretended like he was going to call someone. Fortunatelly for us, a Tourism police passed by and asked what was going on, after explaining to him what had happend he went and talked to the people in "Maya Tzutujil Travel Agency" and was able to get our money back or at least we got back half of the amount paid by our tickets. Before leaving the guy came out with a camera and took a picture of us which was really freaky??? To this moment we cannot understand what happened since we were at all times very calm and were agreeing to pay the half price to get new tickets. It seems that the people in "Maya Tzutujil Travel Agency" were simply trying to make an easy buck on our unfortunate loss of the tickets. We do not wish this situation on any travelers to be quite honest getting screamed at in spanish and not knowing what is happening is not a good feeling we warn other travelers to avoid them at all costs, as they prove to be quite disrespectful and seem to lack any ethics in their line of business.
When I tried to get a public ferry this morning in Panajachel to San Pedro, a guy approached me and asked where I was going. When I told him, he said "no boats today" - ostensibly because of the poor weather (it was pouring rain). Since I come from a sailing background, and since there was hardly a breath of wind, I figured this was BS and headed off anyway to the dock despite his insistence that I would need to get a private charter - at over 60 bucks US - rather than the $3 US public ferry that, of course, was still running.
I had heard about the drugs in San Pedro, but being comfortable in that type of environment, I decided to spend New Years there. Complete disappointment. During the day, you will see walking zombies. You will feel a very negative energy there. The location is amazing and beautiful, and i highly recommend visiting during the day to eat at local restaurants etc. But be aware of this villages night life. It really amounts to nothing more than a bunch of people looking for drugs, and rounding up enough people to join them at a rave in a "secret spot" next to San Pedro.
Beware of the drug dealers, street alcoholics, and scammers that hang out on the street. When you get off the dock they offer to show you the way to your hotel, even if you decline they will follow you to your hotel and try to get a tip from you, even though haven't done anything. They can be very intimidating and demand a large tip, considering the average honest person in San Pedro earns $2 a day.
AT THE PLACE WE STAYED AT, WE DID NOT BOTHER USING THE ELECTRIC SHOWER AS IT HAD LOOSE EXPOSED WIRES STRETCHING ACROSS THE CEILING. I WASN'T GONNA HAVE AN ELECTRIC SHOCK!
APPARENTLY, ALOT OF ELECTRIC SHOWERS AROUND THE LAKE ATITLAN AREA ARE LIKE THIS.
When you arrive from Panajachel, you'll be dropped off at one of two main docks in San Pedro de la Laguna. Immediately, you'll notice a steep hill that takes you up toward the center of town. Be prepared for a hilly town and lots of inclines to navigate as you explore. The hills aren't as bad as some cities I've been to like San Francisco, California or Lisbon, Portugal, but then again, there's no public transportation to whisk you up the hills here in San Pedro, so be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes.
If you visit the San Pedro or any of the other villages around the Atitlan Lake, NEVER go walking without a local inhabitant from one village to another. Many tourists have been threatened with a machete and robbed on the streets! Make sure that you go walking or biking with a local guide.