I would contact Los Encuentros in Pana. We had "reservatius interuptus" during our stay there. They put us in the upper house out by the point--not recommended unless you want rustic but apparently the other place is nice (have not stayed there--can't vouch for it)
Our vortex House was nothing less than unusual. My blog has a mention of it. It was a great experience tho!!
Anyone get any updates from Guatemala? Not from the TV. Did anyone hear from someone actually living in Guatemala or recently returned from Guatemala?
I see that showard and omegaet have mentioned the locals they know and their recent contact
Yes, we've heard from friends living in the San Antonio Palopo area. They personally experienced a large mudslide near the house, but reported that they werre safe and sound inside. From news reports, at least one other mudslide occurred in that area, burying several villagers.
Other news from Omega indicates that there were road closures leading out from Pana.
I have also tried to communicate with others around the lake, but so far, no responses. Surely do hope the rescue efforts are underway and reaching the villagers.
If interested in the results of tropical storm Agatha's impactat the Lake Atitlan area,there is a news article, posted today, that you may want to check out.
It is entitled, "Retirees Help Rebuild Storm-Ravaged Guatemala." I believe it is on the website Efficient Farming, or maybe best to just Google the title. From the observances of this couple whoare livingin the Santa Catarina area, it appears that the devastation is widespread around the lake, and the villagers have been hard-hit. Wish we were there to help out.
I still haven't heard from friendson the other side ofthe lake. Worrisome situation, to be sure --
Here is a reprint of an emial we received from the manager of Casa Palopo this morning. She is the individual we telephoned last Saturday, 29 May. Since some of you have stayed at Casa Palopo, some of the details, such as "curves" and villages, she had provided, will make a little more sense. Also, the reference to the steps from their boat dock up to the property will also make sense.
We did attempt another telephone call this morning, but could not be connected. If we received additional direct updates, we will post them here. She did include several photos in a file (we didn't attempt to upload the photos), which does demonstrate some of the destruction and volume of mud and rocks displaced.
Thank-you to all for your words of encouragement...the update follows...will include info for those of you who have visited and know certain locations and local friends:
we have had no more rains since saturday, the past 2 days we have had sun. this is good both for the spirit, and to dry out the mud! the road from the city to solola was repaired a couple days agao, and the road out of pana ia passable (barely). our 4 guests left via boat to pana, and from there in vans to Guate YESTERDAY. the chef who is a wack job, and i think has low level autism, left as well. there are 3 vehicles stuck here indefinitely! all staff returned to work yesterday...via boat from Pana. the folks from the next village over have been tracking through the mudslides to work throughout. Santa Catarina, about 10 miin walk from here (when there is no mud), had 2 deaths, a 16 yo, carrying her 2 yo sister. the damages are numerous to many many houses and many families are living in the school and the community center. loss of homes, cloths, kitchen supplies, chickens, etc. on the other side of the hotel, notmally an hour walk, is San Antonio. 3 of my employees walked there yesterday and said there are at least 12 huge landslides between here and there. to the right (facing the village from the lake) of the san antonio church there was a whole neighbor lost, 42 deaths, including 2 entire families. phone service is out...though we have cell phones and internet, and...still electric!!
many lost shoes in the mud!! the mud smells rancid and awful.
there are some angencies pressuring me to reopen, so this was my response:
Though we can get supplies and transport guests, I would ask: would YOU want to arrive after 3 or more hours dodging road construction and/or holes, get on a boat from a dock surrounded by trash, then climb 200 stairs and not be able to walk outside of the hotel property, deal with the mud stench (its BAD), and visit already poor and now devastated villages (after going DOWN 200 stairs to get back on a boatknowing you will return to the same hike UP the stairs), and take your vacation photos of all the debris floating in the lake?
I do not think it is responsible nor ethical to push this faster than is possibleit will only create bad press, and angry guests.basically I feel the road to pana at least has to be passableour guests tend NOT to be the hard core adventure types!!!
so, the plan at this point is to open on the 13th of june. in the meantime we are cleaning up the bits of damage and mud, repairing tubes, and trying to dry out the hotel. we will be working to dig out employees homes, and for the larger picture working to clear the main road to Santa Catarina. the 1st 2 pictures i sent are of the 1st curve in the road as you head from the hotel towards san antonio. the 2nd 2 photos are the first curve in the road as you haed to anta Catarina.
the rest of the pictures are from the village of Santa Caterina, except for the photo of the dock...thats in Pana.
big slide near santos and blake in san pedro, they are ok, reopening their restaurant today.
casa del mundo i think is ok, though i havent been able to get through today...however, the village of jaibalito was completely fooded, all villages moved evacuated to santa cruz, talk of many NOT moving back.
villa sumaya had a mud slide come down directly on top of them...i have not heard of losses of live however.
panajacael river took out all bridges..again, exept the upper bridge, which was useless anyways because landslides on the other side blocked the road in both directions.
the house that mario and i are building had some flooding, but it is standing.
mario was maintenance mand, bartender, waiter, prep cook and more and was incredible help and support while dealing with the stranded guests, and is now helping with debris removal. truly dont know what i would have done without him.
lita and Pito are fine, lita is especially excited about all the sticks!!!
as far as help...again i know that everyone is stretched, but if there is interest, i have to say i can not recommend any relief fund group..but, if you want to, send $ to my account (HA!!)...really, i promise to use it wisely., need the staples: rice, beans, and sugar for the village..this is more immediate. shoes and blankets.. and longer term,. construction materials. however, if you DO make a deposit, send me a note how much so i separate the funds on this end!!!!!
ocean national bank
17 walker st
kittery, me 03904
account # 063021814
looks like i will try for august or september for my escape.....sigh.
i wouldnt be terribly opposed to any of the following: massage, pedicure, drink when i see you in a couple months!!!
hugs all around
Wonder how Luxury Link deals with a situation like this, in terms of notification of scheduledtravelers to the two Guatemala destinations?Do you suppose that is the responsibility of the property and the traveler?
I guess anyone with a scheduled trip to Guatemala would be aware of the problems and contact or at least attempt to contact the property for additional information.
Omegaet--thanks for sharing the notes from CP.
I finally got some news from Pana, from the owner of Posada Los Encuetros, Richard Morgan. I'm posting for informational purposes:
I haven't seen any of my San Marcos friends but I have heard there were no deaths there but some considerable mud & water damage.
Posada Los Encuentros & its people are doing OK, altho we're somewhat challenged by water supply problems & intermittent electrical & telephone outages. The new bridge built to downtown after Stan was also damaged & is not yet usable. All foot bridges were destroyed. Also major mudslides on the road between the new bridge & the old iron bridge.Which means a lot of inconvenience moving from our side of the river to downtown. Today, 2 provisional footbridges were put in place to ameliorate the inconvenience of getting downtown.
Thanks for thinking of us. Adversity can bring out great qualities. The Mayan people are admirable thru all of this. Visit - share the experience !
Abrazos - Richard
Los Encuentros has a nice small inn (and a larger "sister" property nearby) and an educational center for activities etc. We stayed there a few nights on the ends of our visit and it was a pleasant, inexpensive lodge. A sort of fun way to break the trip from Antigua and out to the Lake environs.
f.y.i...was speaking to AA reservations center this morning regarding some other destinations and asked them about GUA operations. The rep indicated AA and other commercial carriers are operating flights into and out of GUA.
Apparently, the ash residue from Pacaya has been cleared from the runways and no adverse conditions remain in the surrounding atmosphere toadversely affect the engines. I did ask the rep to check seat availabilty from MIA to GUA for the next couple of days and she indicated the flights were "wide open." Can't imagine too many casual tourists are heading down to Guatemala, if they have cancellation options.
Too bad, Guatemala is one of the Central American countries that really, really depends on tourism dollars and the volcanic eruption and the tropical storm will cause them a set back for sure.
Anyone receive any new first hand updates from Guatemala?