My husband and I had a most restful, peaceful week at Rico's casa at the magnifico Lake Atitlán. The lake of course is awesome, the area is so quiet, since Santa Cruz is the quietest of the villages I have tried (now my third time staying in this village). The boat ride is only 15-20 minutes. The walk will take 10-15 minutes from the dock. Arriving at the casa, the surrounding gardens with flowers of every color and type greeted us. (Read: The Language of Flowers by Diffenbaugh!) There's a wonderful porch to sit outside (we had our coffee out here every morning), then the beautiful house with tile floors, wooden vaulted ceilings. The bathroom is downstairs and has a beautiful stone shower. One bedroom is downstairs, with twin beds. The master bedroom is upstairs with a beautiful view of the lake and volcanoes and small patio outside the sliding patio door. The other bedroom has a queen bed, is a beautiful room, with views of the gardens.
I used the kitchen a lot and it had everything I needed, except spices, so bring your spices as I had some difficulty finding everything I wanted, but I was able to improvise quite well. You can find garlic (ajo), onions (cebollas), and tomatoes, and sometimes different squashes uphill in the pueblo, though you may need to go to several tiendas, but that is part of the fun! . For the best choice take the lancha (boat) back to Pana, shop the mercado first, then the supermarket. There is also a small mercado near the dock, at the Iguana, on Saturday a.m., where you can also buy the best coffee, sold by Hans from Jaibalito. There's a little tienda upstairs near the tuktuks that has some staples like rice, black beans, avena (oatmeal),
Carlos, the gardener/caretaker, is precious and very helpful. I think he understands a little English, but since I speak Spanish I never had a problem. He was very responsive to our every need and I feel is very trustworthy. He also put me in contact with a tailor (sastre) who hemmed my pants for really cheap, so I took the other pair! The walk up to the pueblo is very steep but good exerercise. CECAP up there has a great little café, a good place to try typical Guatemalan food. Beautiful views. We also hiked over to Jaibalito, a hike I highly recommend. Somewhat difficult, but not nearly as strenuous as I was told. Weather was perfect. There is a lot more to do here, birding, climbing, kayaking, but relaxing & reading won out! Can't wait to go back