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Quiet cabin, bungalow or apartment?

Beloit, Wisconsin
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45 posts
2 reviews
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Quiet cabin, bungalow or apartment?

We are an active retired couple looking to spend about five-six days on the lake beginning Feb. 18, but I'm having trouble finding a place to stay. We want someplace quiet, but still walkable. We'd like to be close to nature, culture, restaurants, but I'm also interested in just spending some time painting and relaxing, so I'd like something bigger than a standard hotel room. I'd also like private outdoor space (not a shared balcony), preferably with a view. Hotel Chi'Ya looked perfect, but they are not responding to my requests for reservations. I'm really interested in San Juan, but can't seem to find anything suitable. Our budget is $30-60. Can anyone recommend a place -- preferably private cabin or apartment -- that fulfills those needs? Thank you!

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San Juan
San Juan
Puerto Rico
8 replies to this topic
Seattle, Washington
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1,152 posts
27 reviews
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1. Re: Quiet cabin, bungalow or apartment?

Look on AirBnB and VRBO for places located between Sta. Cruz and San Marcos. The better ones tend to get booked well in advance, but there still are a few places listed that fall within your budget or a little more, and at times owners will negotiate if you're staying more than a few days. Be aware that San Marcos can be noisy, but a place away from the village towards Tzununa might be OK.

Beloit, Wisconsin
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45 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: Quiet cabin, bungalow or apartment?

Thanks. I've search AirBnB, etc., and found some that look like possibilities, but they seem too isolated. We enjoy going out to eat, and we're interested in exploring the villages, seeing the crafts and arts, etc. From what I’ve read, the towns of Santa Cruz or Jaibalito might be a little TOO sleepy. At the same time, I don't want to hear partying all night. And I want to feel safe walking the paths. Given all these criteria, do you think I should still focus my search on Jaibalito/Santa Cruz area? Would San Pedro or Panajachel be more appropriate?

Thanks for any info! I've been researching this to death, but there's nothing like talking to someone who really knows the area.

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Jaibalito
Jaibalito
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
San Pedro
San Pedro
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Panajachel
Panajachel
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Seattle, Washington
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1,152 posts
27 reviews
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3. Re: Quiet cabin, bungalow or apartment?

My own preference would be to stay in a quieter place and to go by lancha or on foot during the middle of the day to visit the busier palces with their restaurants and crafts. Some rentals offer the option of having a local woman come in to prepare breakfast and dinner for a reasonable fee, so having restaurants nearby may not be essential.

Beloit, Wisconsin
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45 posts
2 reviews
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4. Re: Quiet cabin, bungalow or apartment?

No, proximity to restaurants isn't essential, but it's fun. We're going to Guatemala because we want to immerse ourselves in the culture, however briefly, not stay holed up in a resort. At the same time, I have little interest in being surrounded by tourists, noise and partying. It's really a problem - peace and tranquility vs. getting a real feel for the community. San Juan la Laguna seems like a nice compromise? So maybe the Chi-ya?

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Guatemala
Guatemala
Central America
San Juan la Laguna
San Juan la Laguna
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Seattle, Washington
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1,152 posts
27 reviews
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5. Re: Quiet cabin, bungalow or apartment?

I like San Juan a lot, but a recent post complained that the noise from dogs and loud people by their rental was keeping them awake most of the night. If you can find lodging there, and the reviews don’t warn of noise, then it might be your best option.

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San Juan
San Juan
Puerto Rico
Paris, Canada
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6,755 posts
20 reviews
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6. Re: Quiet cabin, bungalow or apartment?

I would choose Jaibalito, Santa Cruz, Tzununa as well... You would be in/close to traditional villages and it would be quiet. Nature, lake views and culture are everywhere but you would have to give up to being close to (many) restaurants at night.

Having a quiet place where you can relax, enjoy the view, paint... is nice but no matter where you end up you will be taking boats to the different villages/markets. Whether you are in a quiet isolated village or in Pana/San Pedro most days you would really only be there during the evening as I am sure you will want to go exploring during the day.

You would not be holed up in a resort if you find an Airbnb you like in one the smaller villages.You can enjoy village life and, especially if you speak some Spanish, interact with the locals. It is easy in Guatemala to get immersed in the culture.

I like Pana but you would have to find a quiet place away from Calle Santander. San Pedro is touristy by the docks. When I read your original post I did not think of Pana or San Pedro.

It might not be important to you but I also like the view from Pana, Santa Catarina Palopo, Santa Cruz, Jaibalito... better than the one from San Pedro. The views are nice everywhere but from the former you can see the lake with the three volcanoes.

Maybe Santa Catarina Palopo. I like the village a lot, there is lots of weaving, there are restaurants. But there is no public boat going there so you have to take a pick-up truck or tuk tuk to Pana first to go exploring.

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Jaibalito
Jaibalito
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
San Pedro
San Pedro
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Guatemala
Guatemala
Central America
Santa Catarina Palopo
Santa Catarina Palopo
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
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13,215 posts
330 reviews
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7. Re: Quiet cabin, bungalow or apartment?

There are a few problems with the smaller villages for a trip like yours. Transportation is trickier which makes access to other towns and villages, some of the best hikes and markets, etc., a bit trickier. In a hotel you'd be pretty restricted to their dining room for dinner since the water taxis stop around 6pm when it gets dark. Some of the smaller villages won't have dinner out options. Waiting this late to book combined with a relatively low budget for a private terrace are likely making this more of a challenge. I hope you find what you're looking for!

Beloit, Wisconsin
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45 posts
2 reviews
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8. Re: Quiet cabin, bungalow or apartment?

Thank you to everyone for your thoughtful responses. This trip was sort of a last-minute to decision -- next time we'll plan earlier! I will be booking something this weekend... right now, I'm leaning toward the Hotel Arca de Noe in Santa Cruz for two nights and the 7 Volcanoes airbnb in San Marcos for two nights. (I understand that San Marcos can be noisy, but the apartment is supposedly away from the dock area and in a quieter part of town?) If

We think it sounds like a nice mix of quiet, nature, art and restaurants. If either of those raises a red flag, please let me know! Our plan is to spend some time in San Juan and San Pedro as well. Thanks again!

Mentioned in this post
San Juan
San Juan
Puerto Rico
San Pedro
San Pedro
Ambergris Caye, Belize
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