Local ads

Error, no group ID set! Check your syntax!
Error, no Ad ID set! Check your syntax!

Talking to William

I was chatting with my friend Dennis and this “Gringo” came up to us to ask some questions. His name is William and he is from Tucson Arizona. He was in a caravan of vehicles headed to Costa Rica. He had just spent the night in Panajachel and was considering abandoning the caravan to stay in Pana.

He had the usual questions. One that led to most of the discussion was “did I know a cheap place to stay with a shared kitchen”. Dennis and I both suggested that it is cheaper to go out and eat in Pana than cook for one. I suggested he check out Villa Lupita as a cheap place to stay. It is a block from the public market, decent rooms, free WiFi and a deck that looks over the town and, as I remember, the lake. Last time I asked a room with a private bath was Q50.

Typical breakfast menu

Typical breakfast menu

Dennis then chimed in about food. While the Desayuno Tipico at Ricasoli’s or Lazaroni’s (same owner and same menu) for Q20 is my choice there are cheaper options near the market. About a year ago I went on a “find the cheapest breakfast” adventure. I was looking for the tipico or something close. That meant eggs, beans, cheese, tortillas and coffee. I found one for Q10 that was skimpy and uninteresting but there are decent choices in the Q12 to Q15 range. But, the Q20 one includes guacamole and fruit as well plus we get to chat with Rosita, possibly the shortest waitress in the area.

So, what about other meals? When I first stayed in Pana for a couple months my tipical dinner was an avocado (Q1 to Q3), four tortillas (Q1) and a beer (Q8 for good beer, Q5 for bad beer). I have since discovered tostadas (Q3) from a street vendor at night, pupusas (3 for Q15), chipilín tamales (Q3 from a lady who sells on the street) and other good street food. There are also food stalls in the public market with inexpensive meals.

So, let’s look at the bottom line:

  • Good breakfast and probably a chance to talk to people who know how things work: Q20.
  • Sit-down lunch in the public market: Q15
  • Make it yourself dinner: Q10

And, yes, you could spend a lot less and even improve the nutrition but even that is a total of Q45. How could you cut the cost?

Skip all restaurant food except possibly a Q12 breakfast. For lunch go to the market and buy fruit, veggies and/or possibly a tamale of two of chipilín. When you are in the market, get some tortillas (4 for Q1) and an avocado for dinner. Toss in something to drink and you are still likely to be under Q25 per day.

As for William, I think he will stay for a while. If he is looking for a permanent move, both Dennis and I feel he will make it. He is a good fit for the Lake Atitlan culture. Good luck.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>