Burmese food makes a debut in San Pedro La Laguna

Burmese cuisine is an often forgotten fare, but residents of San Pedro La Laguna can now experience the magical cooking of Myanmar at the brand new restaurant, Burma Pop.

After visiting a restaurant in San Francisco called Burma Superstar, owners Tom Nelson and Sara Kolata were inspired to explore the unique cuisine themselves. Burmese cooking takes many influences from its surrounding countries; Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, and Thailand. However, Burmese cuisine has had limited exposure in the west and is very much a “hidden kitchen” as Nelson puts it.

Domed cathedral in Xela's central park

When I first arrived in Xela from Antigua, I was a bit surprised it had been so highly recommended. The second largest city in Guatemala, Xela immediately felt big, loud, and not nearly as picturesquely charming as many of the other tourist destinations in the country.

Traditional Salvadorian Streetfood in San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala

If you’re heading to San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlan, you’ll be happy to hear there’s a wide range of culinary delights available all around town. From sushi restaurants to pizza parlours, bakeries and Mexican joints, there’s something for everyone in this happening spot.

But if you’re looking for some late night bites, you can head down for some local street food in the center of lower San Pedro. Every night a handful of locals congregate and the roads turn from jewelry and macramé vendors into barbecue stalls and sandwich makers.

Chicabal, Xela: Fog on the lake

Why Choose Chicabal

The Tajumulco and Santa Maria volcanoes tend to steal most of the attention in Quetzaltenango (often referred to simply as Xela), but you shouldn’t overlook the equally spectacular hike to Lake Chicabal when planning your itinerary. Less physically intensive than the hikes to the top of other volcanoes in Guatemala, Lake Chicabal is a sacred Mam Mayan site. Not only does it provide the killer view you expect trekking around Guatemala’s highlands, it also offers a unique glimpse into living Mayan culture.  

Río Dulce: downtown in brief, public dock

Río Dulce is loud and bustling. Commercial truckers and vacationers headed west to Cobán or north into Petén and Mexico must pass through the center of Río Dulce. The heat can be sweltering. Traffic is often deadlocked along the narrow highway. And vendors are everywhere.

Finca Paraiso, Rio Dulce, Izabal: Waterfall

Finca Paraiso is a private property near Rio Dulce that’s well known as a local daytime hangout. The property boasts plenty of shaded and cool riverside areas, a few natural hot springs with water reaching about 40 ºC (100 ºF), and a sunny beach for those days that are cool enough to sunbathe.

Total roundtrip cost per person to Finca Paraiso from Rio Dulce is Q40. Transportation in total takes about one hour each way. The park generally closes at 5:00 pm.

Castillo San Felipe: The castle

Castillo San Felipe is a 17th century defensive fort in Rio Dulce, Izabal, Guatemala that was originally built to defend the port of San Antonio de las Bodegas on the southern shore of Lake Izabal. The castle’s land approach is protected by a moat and drawbridge. Its artillery fortifications overlook the narrowest portion of the river, which gave its gunners a strategic advantage over naval vessels entering the Guatemalan inland from the Caribbean Sea.

Anna Sondergaard, Antigua, Guatemala: Tortillas

Antigua, Guatemala: a brief journey in seven photos. People, foodstuffs & volcan de agua. Photographed in the Spring of 2014.

Spanish and Mayan accents. Another side of Central America.

A Quiché bound bus from Xela's terminal.

Nebaj, Quiché is a well known city for hikes & treks as well as textile production and markets. Nebaj is situated within hiking distance from several small mountain towns, including the agricultural aldea of Acul. The hiking paths that spider throughout the mountains in and around Nebaj are well documented and trafficked. Local guides can be hired to help plan daylong trips, or longer treks to further destinations such as Lake Atitlán.

Getting to Nebaj from Xela by way of public transit is not difficult. The trip takes about five hours and costs Q52.

Jaibalito river hike, a little waterfall

Jaibalito is a small village on the shore of Lake Atitlán, located between Santa Cruz La Laguna and San Marcos La Laguna. It’s most easily accessed via boat taxi, which could be said of most places around the lake. If you’re going towards Panajachel from San Marcos or San Pedro, Jaibalito is located just past Tzununa. If you’re headed in the opposite direction, then it’s just past Santa Cruz.


Meet The Writers

Elesha Piper
Aaron Owlex
Anna Sondergaard
Eric Toupin, blogger & web developer
Matt McGuire, blogger & photographer
Matt Wicks, traveler, writer, photographer