Frequently Asked Questions

We thought you might have some questions.  Here are a few we have been asked frequently.  If you have any further question, do let us know!

There is ONE cash machine in San Marcos, although unreliable.  Best you get cash from a bank in Antigua, Panajachel or San Pedro (nearby lake town).  The most reliable way we recommend to get cash is by going inside the bank and asking for a cash advance on your credit or debit card.  ATM/Cash Machines are plentiful, but sometimes unreliable (there have been a number of cases when it does not disburse the cash, yet charges the account – leading to having to create a claim with your bank).  We accept US dollars, Guatemalan Quetzales (GTQ) and credit cards at Eagle’s Retreats, for paying for any services or extras you may purchase here.  San Marcos businesses generally only accept cash, although some do take credit cards.  Best you come with enough cash for your stay here (or take a trip to San Pedro, 10 minutes boat ride, for bank withdrawal).

In Guatemala in general, the water from the faucets is safe for showering and other necessities but is not safe to drink.  In our case, the water comes from a spring, and is, in principle safe.  Nonetheless, we recommend you drink only water that has passed through one of our water filters.  There is clean, fresh, purified water provided in the dining room – where a water filter is at your disposal to fill up your glass/bottles.  Ice (when used) is also made from clean, fresh, purified water.

You will need a CURRENT PASSPORT for your trip to Guatemala. No vaccinations are required to enter the country. Flight to Guatemala:  La Aurora (airport code: GUA).  Many nationalities do not require tourist visas and will be given a 90-day stay upon entry (although proof of travel OUT of the country may be necessary), though citizens of some countries do need visas.  For stays up to 180 days, individuals can apply for an extension as they approach their initial 90 days of stay at the immigration office in Guatemala City.

The climate consists of two main seasons: dry (November to May) and rainy (May to November).  In September/October the rain begins to lighten.  Rain generally falls in the afternoon for a couple of hours.  It is usually sunny most days of the year (including during rainy season, in the mornings).  Temperature ranges between 20-28 celsius during the day and 10-20 celsius at night.  During the months of December, January, February and March you will need warm clothing for the chilly evenings.  It never freezes.  Lake Atitlan is located at 1500m/5000ft above sea level.  Guatemala is considered to be in the tropics at a latitude of 14° North.

There are two main public (and 1 private) ways of arriving:

  1. By boat (called “lancha” in Spanish) from Panajachel (the main arrival hub for Lake Atitlan to which you would get a tourist shuttle from Antigua – multiple daily).
  2. By direct shuttle to San Marcos (Shared tourist shuttles available from Antigua twice daily 9am and 2pm departures).  
  3. We can arrange for shared pickups directly from Guatemala City Airport (Aeropuerto “La Aurora” – Guatemala City – GUA) – $30 per person, minimum 5 passengers – travel time 4hrs.  PLEASE REQUEST IN ADVANCE.

If you are flying into Guatemala, we recommend you allow a few days to visit Antigua Guatemala (we can offer very beautiful homely accommodation options there also), an awesome colonial city and UNESCO world heritage site – the operational headquarters for the Spanish Conquistadores during the times of the conquests.  Making Antigua your first stop will mean your travel time from the airport to Antigua ought to only be 1 hour (if the traffic is light).  You can then plan to travel on to San Marcos La Laguna from there with a direct shuttle operated by the travel agencies (USD10 one way, 2 departures per day 9am&2pm – travel time 3.5hrs), or by organising a private shuttle with us (USD25 per person, minimum 5 passengers).