July 2007 Issue: XelaWho Spreads Its Wings
And thus the San Pedro section was born.
Putting a San Pedro section in a Xela magazine makes a lot of sense to us, and it’s not just all about our insatiable greed for the almighty Quetzal or our lust for global dominance.
San Pedro and Xela share a common story. Both are favorite tourist destinations – especially for foreigners, but according to Guatemala’s Tourism department, INGUAT, they barely exist.
In the face of this massive indifference, the two towns have learnt that if they want something, they just have to get out there and do it themselves. They’re both a world away from the glossy brochures of the Antigua/Tikal love connection, and many travelers dig them for just that reason.
There’s a natural affinity between the two towns as well – Xela-based students and volunteers most often head for the lake for a weekend break, more often than not to San Pedro. And when, for one reason or another, they need the big city vibe, Pedranos (permanent, temporary and everywhere in between) prefer Xela’s relative mellowness to the craziness of the Capital.
There was a time when San Pedro had such a reputation for depravity that the Peace Corps were banned from going there, even on their days off. But then, there was a time when people actually joined the Peace Corps under the impression that they were helping to save the world, not just involved in a cynical attempt at damage control aimed at steering people’s attention away from all the nasty stuff that the US does elsewhere in the world.
San Pedro’s come a long way in a short time. Not so long ago, there wasn’t even a road into town and the only access was by one of three boats a week.
These days, there are 5 daily buses to and from Xela and 8 to and from the Capital. It’s a good sized little town with nearly everything you could want – restaurants serving food from all over the world, excellent value hotels in all price ranges and some of the best nightlife on the lake, if not in the country.
To keep you busy, there are treks, hot pools, weaving courses, kayaks, horse rides, the inevitable Spanish classes and, of course, the ever-popular hammock+beer option. Viva, San Pedro. We’ll see you there.