Santa Cruz is a quaint and quiet town just 15 minutes by boat from Panajachel. It’s the perfect place to relax, enjoy uninhibited views of the volcanoes, and even immerse yourself in Mayan culture. While there are a few accommodation options in Santa Cruz, there’s only one backpacker’s hostel.
This hostel is La Iguana Perdida.
La Iguana Perdida hostel isn’t just the coolest because it’s the only one, but it’s pretty darn cool as far as hostels go.
The hostel is conveniently located right next to Santa Cruz’s main dock. The common area and restaurant is so close to the lake that you feel as though you could be on a boat. You can hear the sweet caress of waves kissing the shore and witness the volcanoes as they stretch towards the sky. There’s really no better setting to enjoy your breakfast to.
Unfortunately the majority of rooms and dorms don’t have views of the lake. Fortunately, they’re all pretty cheap and tucked away in a lush jungle garden.
Dorms go for just around 6$/night and are located in some pretty cool tree house style bungalows. They’re fairly minimal and exposed but that’s what makes them so cool. Next are the privates without bath for about 10 to 16$/night. Finally, you have a variety of high comfort bungalows for between 35 and 60$/night depending on the number of people. All the bungalows and rooms are unique and emanate a certain warmth.
Santa Cruz has few options in terms of eating out. Fortunately, the hostel’s restaurant offers an array of western and local dishes that are quite tasty and reasonably priced.
On most nights, the hostel restaurant fills up for some pretty fun family style dinners. And on Saturdays, they do an American style BBQ. The ingredients are local and fresh and the atmosphere is always merry.
Aside from hanging in Hammocks, sun bathing, playing pool, or exploring the town, the hostel offers a full diving program. They also organize kayaking, Mayan weaving classes, and Spanish classes.
American expats Dave and his wife Deedle founded the hostel. They’re very sweet, love Lake Atitlan, and want nothing more than to show you a good time.
The rest of the staff is made up of volunteer backpackers, which automatically makes them friendly, helpful and free spirited.
From its location perched on the shore of Atitlan, to its friendly staff, and delicious restaurant, it’s a great stay and an awesome experience. If you’re tired of the noise of San Pedro and want to experience something different and off the beaten path, La Iguana Perdida Hostel in Santa Cruz is the place.