We arrived in San Pedro on December 19th, a mere two days before the end of the world (aka the end of the 13th baktun of the Mayan calendar) and only five days before Christmas.
We rolled out of bed the next morning with one simple goal in mind, to find a house with secure parking large enough for two trucks. Our plan was to rent a home in San Pedro for the next month with our faithful travel companies, Patagoniaorbust, and settle down for some serious language lessons and truck maintenance. After five hours of trudging the streets, the task seemed more daunting.
Despite asking every travel agent, hotel, hostel, posada, and guesthouse we could find, we still did not even have the slimmest lead. Everyone shook their head, “no, no su posible causa de 21 de Diciembre, Navidad, Año Nuevo, San Pedro se llena de turistas. As we wandered around aimlessly hoping to stumble upon a magnificent mansion, a scruffy Mayan clad in filthy jeans, a once white t-shirt, and sandals came running towards us babbling about a house on the hill that was for rent. Out of desperation, Ken and the Mayan hopped in Suzie and headed up the hill to check out this house, leaving us wondering if we would ever see him again. An hour later he was back, limbs and truck intact.
The house was perfect and brand new; unfortunately he did not remember the Mayan’s name nor how to contact him. Through a serious of random and strange events, that we have come to accept as an everyday part of overlanding, we were able to track down our Mayan, Clementine, who hooked us up with the owner of the home, Byron, and by the next day we were ready to move in.
Driving through the tight, vertical streets of San Pedro to our new home, I was seriously questioning the ability of our truck and camper to fit through the gate into the secure yard in front of the house. Confident as always, Ken had no doubts. An hour and half later, Suzie was stuck.
It turns out a 6 ½ foot wide camper, does not fit very well through a 6 ½ foot wide gate, especially when said gate is abutted by concrete pillars and off a typical narrow, steep Guatemalan road with no maneuvering room. Over the next hour and half, despite numerous though miniscule attempts to turn and squeeze her through, she was still stuck.
Byron had called for Guatemalan reinforcements, and was planning on demolishing the existing gate in order to get the truck in. The prospect of possibly inebriated (it was 12/21, a grande fiesta in San Pedro) Guatemalan’s swinging sledgehammers around Suzie was not acceptable. With some muscle power, a bit of rocking, and the sound of screeching metal, ‘POP’ she was in. A quick assessment of the damage revealed torn tin on the back right corner of the camper and a broken roof clip.
The rest of our afternoon was spent unloading the truck while being serenaded by the sound of sledgehammers against concrete and tin.
We were amazed and gratified that not only was Byron destroying part of his new home to accommodate a few gringoes with too big of a truck, his friends were gladly abandoning whatever festivities that they had planned for the rest of the day and quickly rebuilt a wider gate to accommodate us.
Over the next few days we took full advantage of our new home and large kitchen, whipping up a Christmas feast and taking in the Christmas and New Year fireworks from our roof.
Hi 30forthirty, I’ve been following your blog for a bit as we are on the same sort of travel plan (albeit a little slower). We are definitely hoping to stay in San Pedro and take some spanish lessons. We will stay for at least 2 weeks, possibly a month. I would love an update from you about where you took classes and if you have any recommendations for us as far as parking/camping. Enjoy and I hope to hear from you soon! -Heather
Heather – We are loving San Pedro. It is a perfect mix of gringo amenities (we even found a bar that has real IPA) and local culture. I am taking Spanish classes at Escuala Mayab, mostly because I had read that they could hook me up with some nursing volunteer work. The volunteer work did not pan out, but my maestro is excellent and if you do check out that school I would recommend Juan Marco. As for parking, we have been traveling with fellow overlanders patagoniaorbust for a few weeks so we decided to find a house together. We found one with secure parking and with four people it is very affordable. We arrived in San Pedro during a very busy time of year so there weren’t many options, but at any other time I feel like there is a lot of housing available. I know past overlanders have taken classes and lived at Corazon Maya, also highly recommended. How far behind us are you! Cheers!
Happy New Year! Glad you got to beautiful Lake Atitlan! It holds some wonderful memories. When you are in Guatemala City maybe you can find out whether my friend Paul Stixrud is still around. Enjoy!
Much love, Grandpa
Thanks Grandpa! It is very beautiful here, we are thoroughly enjoying it. I don’t know if we are going to brave the crazy streets of Guatemala, but if we do we’ll look around.
I would love some information on the house. Where it is, who might I contact to rent it etc.
You can email me here email@example.com I hope you can help, I will be staying in SP for about two years. Thank Dylan
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Unfortunately, we found the house through word of mouth and did not save the contact info. It was my understanding that the owner was planning on moving in shortly after we vacated as well.
Do you have the contact info for the person you rented the house from? I’m searching for possible rentals in San Pedro. Thanks!
Sorry, we didn’t save the contact info for the home. Good luck!