Chrysalis Yoga Info

Lake Atitlán FAQ

A Note From Kim

Thank you for visiting our FAQ Page! If there’s information you’re seeking that cannot be found either here or on our retreat homepage, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our absolute best to get answers for you. Rest assured that your health, safety and comfort is our #1 priority. The following is some helpful information to get you started on your journey.

Is Lake Atitlán a safe place to visit?

Yes, it is! Villa Sumaya has been transporting their guests from the airport to the retreat center for 15 years without problems. In the village of  Santa Cruz la Laguna, where the villa is located, the local expats all feel safe. They walk around at night, leave their doors unlocked, etc., but they are also aware that Guatemala City, where the airport is located, has potential security risks in some areas. For this reason, Villa Sumaya prefers to pick their guests up at the airport in dependable private transport and whisk them to their highland resort. We are happy to assist in arranging all your transportation needs. Please see our Travel Info Page for details.

What about food and water safety?

All food, water and beverages served on site at Villa Sumaya are of the highest quality and are handled with the utmost care. You can rest assured that all meals, snacks and refreshments are very safe and nutritious. Generally speaking, the food and water in the surrounding area is safe for consumption. We do recommend brushing teeth with filtered water. Other common sense rules apply just as they would when traveling in any South or Central American country. For more specific information and recommendations, we suggest visiting the CDC website.

Do I need to get immunizations prior to traveling? What About Medical Insurance?

The short answer is no. We choose, instead, to build our immune systems naturally prior to traveling out of our home country. That said, the decision of whether or not to get vaccines is a highly personal one that should be made based on the individual’s preferences. More info about immunizations can be found on the CDC website. As for medical insurance, be advised that if your current health insurance does not cover you during travels abroad, it is highly recommended to acquire supplemental travel insurance in case of emergency.

What will the weather be like during the retreat?

Lake Atitlán is often referred to as “the land of eternal spring,” due to near perfect weather year round. Temperatures are typically a cool 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit (sweater weather) in the early mornings and evenings. During the day it’s usually between 70-90 Fahrenheit. Air conditioning and heat are not necessary. Dry season occurs during the months of  January, February, March, April, November and December. The rainy season months are May, June, September and October with rain typically falling in the afternoons and late at night.

Elevation

Due to Lake Atitlán’s high elevation (5,125’ above sea level), preparation is key for those sensitive to elevation changes. We recommend planning in advance so as to avoid symptoms that may arise and put a damper on your journey. Symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of energy and insomnia. You’ll want to be sure to stay very hydrated and eat potassium rich foods and/or take potassium supplements.

Do I need to speak Spanish in order to get around and enjoy my trip?

Spanish is one of the main languages spoken in Guatemala. Mayan dialects are also spoken by the majority of indigenous people. The Villa Sumaya managers speak English and Spanish and are happy to do translations for housekeeping and kitchen staff. We recommend Duolingo for learning new language skills if you wish to brush up and learn a few key words and phrases. You can also check out this article for translation app recommendations.

What is Lake Atitlán’s time zone?

Lake Atitlán is in the central standard time zone. To find out more, use this handy time zone converter.

What’s the best way to exchange currency?

If you have a chance to exchange money in a U.S. airport, we recommend getting $100 to start off. In the Guatemala City Airport, there is also a currency exchange stand. Many places in Guatemala do accept dollars. There are banks and ATMs in Panajachel where you can exchange USD or travelers checks. Villa Sumaya is unable to change large amounts of money.

How much should I budget for tips?

We recommend leaving a tip of between $7-10 per day. This dana (offering) goes to the entire staff; from the gardeners (who carry your bags) to kitchen staff and housekeeping to the local managers. There is no need for additional tipping of our staff. Please tip massage therapists and tour guides separately.

What about staying connected while I’m on retreat?

Villa Sumaya offers free internet service on 2 desktop computers in the meeting room next to our gift shop. For internet on your personal device, they charge $3/day or $20/week for wifi. If it is important for you to have internet in your room, let the reservation specialist know upon arrival. Please note: internet in Guatemala is not fast and there is very limited up and downloading permitted. Phone service fees are based on country code. Check with your cell phone provider for foreign coverage.

Will my electronic devices work in Guatemala?

Yes! If you are from the U.S. or Canada. Guatemala uses the same voltage as the United States/Canada (110 V). If you are coming from Europe, or any country that uses 220 volts, you will need the proper adapters.


Check out our Travel Info page for tips on how to get from point A to point B.


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