Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Beaches of Jucanya

One of the reasons I chose to move to Panajachel, Guatemala, is because of the beautiful Lake Atitlan. I grew up near water and love swimming and boating and canoeing and just hanging out by the lake. And Lake Atitlan sure is a beautiful lake to be near!

However, it can be a bit difficult to find a nice place to swim at the Lake. When we first arrived, we lived in a lovely place that had access to a semi-private beach. It was clean and had few weeds. I loved it! I went swimming all the time.

When we lived in Pana, I would often go for walks on the waterfront, but never dared to go swimming. There is a beach down at the end of Santander, but it's narrow and difficult to access. The shoreline is kinda rocky or gravelly, and not far out into the Lake are big floating rafts of weeds. I often see people wading or lying in the shallows, but not many folks swim out. There is also the added hazard of boats and fishing nets!

But now living in Jucanya, beach access is much easier. I just walk down Calle de Los Salpores and the beach is right there! This is the beach that Iva and Bert and I swam at on Christmas Day last year. I have spent many hours walking up and down this beach with Calvin. He loves it!

On Sundays, this beach is packed with locals. They come from outlying towns in dozens of chicken buses to hang out by the water. It's fun! Here's a bit of a video showing the people, the vendors, the boats, and the music. (It was more crowded in other places along the shore, but I always feel a bit weird taking videos of strangers, so I choose a quieter spot.)

So nice beach, lots of fun, good shallow swimming... but my friend and favourite tuk-tuk driver, Victor #88, told me there is a better place to swim further down the road. So the other day, I walked waaaay down there and took some photos along the way to show you.

To start with, get to the main beach in Jucanya. Then start walking down the gravel road with the lake on your right-hand side.
"Dirty the lake today and don't suffer when it is dead tomorrow."
There are a lot of signs at the beach in Jucanya talking about keeping it clean. Love that!
You will pass a little playground on your left-hand side. Keep walking.

You will get to see the Mayan Ceremonial Circle on your right. Keep walking.

Calvin leading the way, and two boys on one bike. Just ahead is the turn to the left to go up Cemetery Road. Keep walking straight.
You'll have to hop over a small stream, walk thru the boat repair area, and then pass through an area of trees and perhaps picnickers. This is as far as cars and tuk-tuks can go, and some may be parked here. But you're not gonna stop yet!
See the little path around the edge of the hedge in the picture above? Keep walking. :)
Next, walk underneath a big wooden overpass that says Private (it's referring only to the dock itself), and follow the path only a little further.
You've arrived! Look how lovely it is. :)
I was here rather late in the day, so the sun was setting behind me. I imagine in the daytime hours, this beach would be very hot and sunny. No bathrooms or anything else around, so be sure to bring what you need.
This is the view standing on the beach looking back at the private dock.
The water is beautifully clear and clean here. It is shallow but drops quickly off a few meters in. There are big patches of weeds at a certain middle depth, then you get out to deep, cool, clear water with no bottom in sight. AWESOME.

Have you been to this beach? Where are other great places to swim at the Lake? Leave some comments below!

No comments :

Post a Comment