Travelling from Mazunte Mexico to Lake Atitlan in Guatemala
For this year holiday I decided to travel a bit from Mexico to Guatemala to do a long Dark Retreat on lake Atitlan and afterwards discover the country. The trip was pretty easy as it is a backpacker well treaded trail, but here are some up to date information in case you want to travel easily from Mazunte Mexico to lake Atitlan Guatemala:
Mazunte to San Cristobal de las Casas:
First of all go to Pochutla bus terminal a few days in advance (10 pesos in collective from mazunte and 50min trip) and buy a overnight bus ticket to San Cristobal with OCC. The bus leaves every day at 8pm or 10pm, and arrive 7.30am or 9:30am.
Once in San Cristobal you have to spend the night as the shuttle bus to Pamajachel, the main town on lake Atitlan in Guatemala, leaves every day around 6.30am. You can book it in any travel agency on Real Guadalupe street in the center. I used Tierra Maya, and it costed 300 pesos. I used the time to visit the gorgeous colonial town of San Cristobal de las Casas. Full of churches and historical building, lots of modern looking cafe and restaurant, it was real pleasure to enjoy its cool weather (about 20 degrees during the day) after the sauna heat of Mazunte, and with its fast internet it’s definitely a better digital nomad spot.
I stayed at Snail Hostel in the center, a very cute and modern backpacker hotel where you can get a (tiny) single private room for 10$.
San Cristobal de las Casas to Panajachel on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala
The next morning the shuttle bus picked me up (late) at my hotel, and we drove to the border which we reached at around 12. You then pick up your luggage and walk about 300 meters to cross the border by foot (or get someone to carry your bag for 10 pesos). There I had the surprise to have to pay 330 pesos tax to leave Mexico, which is mandatory if you stayed more than 7 days there, so remember to keep some cash. To enter Guatemala the price was only 10 quetzal/20 pesos, and on the other side another shuttle bus from the same company was waiting for us. It’s apparently quite common to wait for a while for the connection at the border as the trip from San Cristobal to the border is shorter than from the border to Panajachel, and be sure to keep your ticket as the driver might need it to confirm who you are if the mexican driver left already.
The last part of the trip was very smooth. We stopped about an hour later in a shop on the road to let people use an ATM and eat something, and then arrives at Panajachel at sunset.
The public boats to go to the little lake towns stops at 5pm, so if you want to move directly you will have to take a private one, which works until 7pm and leaves when full. The trip to San Marco, a little hippie town, costs 20 quetzals, and for San Pedro (the bigger and more “party town) 30.