San Carlos de Bariloche is the Argentine Lake District’s largest city and popular with both Argentinian and foreign tourist summer and winter.
It is located on the shore of the beautiful lake Lago Nahuel Huapi (the picture above) and surrounded by mountains. The city offers many shops (specially chocolate shops), hotels and restaurants. But the real attraction is outside the city: Park Nacional Nahuel Huapi. The park offers splendid hiking, rafting and skiing.
It’s a fun place to visit, but be prepared that its rather expensive (for Argentina).
This video shows the amazing views of Lake Atitlan from Panajachel, Guatemala. It gives you glimpses of the magic surrounding the lake and of the city of Panajachel itself.
Driving from Antigua to Panajachel was quite a hairy ride. You drive along steep cliffs at a far from safe speed, but the views are amazing. Also the higher you get up, the mistier it becomes and suddenly you are surrounded by maize fields and you start imagining yourself as part of the film “Children of the corn” 🙂 scary
Arriving at Panajachel in the late afternoon when it was raining didn’t leave the best first hand impression, but shortly after it cleared up and we went to have the first view of the lake impressive. However, not nearly as impressive as it looked the morning after when we got up at 6 and went down to the lake. The sun was rising over the volcanoes in the distance, the mist lifting up from the water and the green mountain sides melting your soul. It was so beautiful and I immediately understood why this place attracts so many people.
The following podcast takes the form of an informal discussion between Tina and I, recorded last week, during our first week studying Spanish at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. We discuss the school, prices, and dangerous wildlife.
A day or two after arriving in San Pedro La Laguna by Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, Tina and I began studying Spanish at The Co-operative of Guatemalan Spanish Teachers. For a month or two before our trip began we had extensively researched countries and locations to study Spanish in, and settled on The Cooperative Language School here in San Pedro due to its low prices, its amazing location on the shores of Lake Atitlan, its community orientated philosophy and the fact that Guatemalan Spanish is very easy to understand.
It costs about $82 for 20 hours one-on-one Spanish Language tuition a week (4 hours/day), although I have been told the prices may be increasing 10-15% shortly. You can choose to study more (up to 6 hours) or less should you wish to.
A homestay (living with a Guatemalan family) costs approximately an additional $85/week, and this includes three meals a day, but doesn’t include Sundays – which incidentally is the day in San Pedro that most restaurants seem to be closed.
Should you wish to stay in a guest house, you are looking at between $4/night (very basic indeed), $7/night (simple/mid-range), $10-$15 (private hot shower, & possibly other amenities). Restaurant meals in San Pedro range from about $2 to $7 depending on where and what you eat.
It’s about 15 years and two months since I left Lake Atitlan for the first time. In those years I’ve never forgotten it. Think Lord of the Rings combined with Nordic myth or Loch Ness and you may start to fathom the mystical atmosphere this volcano-fringed lake exudes.
There’s also a darker side, a side to which I think most travelers are oblivious. When I arrived here with three friends in 1993, we were dropped off in a small village to one side of the lake. The occupants seemed to retreat into doorways, staring at us from the shadows. Were we really so frightening a sight that people felt the need to hide from us? A year or so later, I discovered to my amazement that the village we had arrived in had shortly before been subjected to a brutal massacre at the hands of the Guatemalan government during a bout of civil war suppression.
Nowadays Lake Atitlan functions as a traveler Mecca on many levels – hippies, language students, party animals, or people attracted simply by its aesthetics – all congregate here and meditate, study, appreciate the view and frequently lose themselves in the freely available drugs.
We’ll be studying Spanish here (in San Pedro La Laguna) over the next few weeks during which time we’ll also be publishing regular updates about our experiences on Earthoria.com.
This video shows the wedding of my wonderful dad and his girlfriend Sanne on May 31st 2008. In the video you get a good idea about what a traditional Danish wedding entails in terms of customs and traditions.
With love, Tina
NB. To read more about Danish wedding traditions, please read here
We often head out to Huay Tung Thao lake, about 12km outside Chiang Mai, to escape the heat of the city, have a swim and relax in a hammock. The lake is set at the foot of a mountain, and has some beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
There are quite a few simple restaurants set around the lake, with huts on stilts in the water that you can sit in if you prefer some shade.
To get there, you head North along Canal road about 10KM, and take a left. After a further 2kms you will arrive at a ‘toll booth’ where you pay an entry fee of 20 Baht per person.
For those of you into more adventurous activities than swinging in a hammock or swimming, around the other side of the lake is a small painballing (that was not a deliberate spelling error but it seemed appropriate so I left it) range (why anyone would want to go paintballing in the Thai heat utterly escapes me), and some Kayaks for hire. There are also ‘cute’ little pedalo (pedal-powered) boats that look like swans if you like that kind of thing…
It is rumoured that there is some off-road back route up to Doi Suthep from here, but we haven’t explored this rumour further at this time!