Hotel Atitlán and Casa Colibrí and so, so much rum

Two weekends ago, we visited the other side of the lake. The north side, the ‘tourist’ side. It was glorious. Eventually.

To be fair, if you have to spend time in the torrential rain anywhere, there are worse places than the beautiful Hotel Atitlán. There aren’t worse places than the middle of a windswept lake in a barely seaworthy dingy. There were five of us: me, G, A, my mother, and my 10-year-old cousin. For reasons unclear to me, I was the only one clinging to the side of the boat in sheer terror as it tossed around in the middle of a tsunamic swell.

The tarp was both ugly and completely ineffective.

There were smug jokes made by my fellow passengers as to whether one could call oneself an ‘adventure traveler’ (something one has never done) if one’s every hair follicle clenches shut in a little choppy water. To that, one says that, of all the adventure travelers one has known, I and I alone have endured traveler’s diarrhea on a sand dune in the pitch black night of the Western Sahara after a 2-hour, rain-soaked ride on a wet camel that kept trying to bite my ankle to get at the Oreo stash in my pack. So fuck off.

We arrived at the hotel sodden and bruised, but spirits were lifted by immaculate little gardens and several reviving rum drinks at the bar.

IMG_4362IMG_4379IMG_4384IMG_4451IMG_4458IMG_4463

Also, the view was nice despite the rain:

IMG_4422

IMG_4449

The bed was a revelation and I slept for 11 hours.

The next day the weather had cleared, so there was a better view.

IMG_4472

And we were ready to party.

IMG_4497

We took a little wander around the gardens for some abstract topiary and blanket ivy and to hear a bird say ‘hola’, and only ‘hola’. Nine hundred times.

IMG_4506

IMG_4510

IMG_4498

IMG_4502
One-trick pony

Then we headed down the street a ways to the nature reserve. They boast an interesting range of animals and activities.

IMG_4513

By that I mean they have several things that I hate. Like monkeys, or, Hell’s minions. Perhaps my aversion stems from The Wizard of Oz. Or the movie Congo. Or the movie Gorillas in the Mist. They are horrible, vicious hominid nightmare beasts that will tear the flesh off your body soon as look at you. As was recently confirmed by the movie Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

monkey

Look at this monster. Look at the tail. 

IMG_4520

They had a zipline, down which I did not zip. I also did not attempt these ‘steps’ over the creek.

IMG_4545

Highlight: The butterfly dome. The butterfly is one of the only acceptable insects in existence. (The others are fireflies and dead grasshoppers.) Inside their little biosphere, they converge on you in a crush of little fluttery bodies, which is surprisingly lovely. If walking through a cloud of butterflies is your thing, then you should visit. You can even take a cocoon home with you for about $10. (Please note that if you drop the plastic cocoon house multiple times, as my cousin did, your butterfly will emerge crumpled and deformed, but no less loving. My cousin’s butterfly, Nelson 2, imprinted on her like that baby raptor does to Richard Attenborough in Jurassic Park. My cousin carried Nelson 2 around on her shirt and placed him on flowers for frequent feedings, for the brief and hard-to-watch 48 hours he lived.)

IMG_4553IMG_4572

IMG_4563
Doin’ it.

Later that afternoon, we checked in to the beautiful Casa Colibrí in Santa Catarina Palopó, a brief 10-minute drive east. It’s an exceptional house designed to make the most of its breath-taking views. Soft beds, enormous tubs (ours had a view of the lake through a bay window), fresh tropical flowers, and the soothing sounds of a water feature out front:

IMG_4601

Here are some more pictures.

IMG_4669IMG_4611IMG_4596IMG_4598

The ones from their website are better.

But the best thing about Casa Colibrí is that it is reached via a staircase. While our current home, Ceiba House, is lovely, getting there is a challenge. Nothing ruins a relaxing dinner out like a return home in bad weather. Here’s how G and I navigate the tricky approach.

Anyway, we spent the next two days sitting around in Casa Colibrí, taking in the view, swinging in hammocks, drinking rum, soaking in the tub, and eating handmade ravioli from the kitchen of the magical Angela. It was a much-needed and much-appreciated getaway, and it helped this adventure traveler muster the strength to face another week in Mudslide Kingdom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s