Lake Atitilan – A little piece of Eden.

Lake Atitilan is a ridiculously beautiful volcanic lake in the Guatemalan Highlands. Still blue water sits at the foot of lush green mountains and volcanos while dotted around the edges of the lake are colourful towns and villages, each with their own unique vibe. Mayan culture remains strong here with people speaking Mayan languages and dressing in traditional  clothing.

I'm no photographer and no photos I took did this place justice. Do yourself a favour and Google' Lake Atitilan images'. this place really is spectacular.

View of the lake from San Pedro. I’m not much of a photographer, but if you Google ‘Lake Atitilan images’ you will get a glimpse at how spectacular this place is.

Ladies in traditional Mayan clothing selling fruit.

Ladies in traditional Mayan clothing selling fruit.

I spent a week at Lake Atitilan, mostly in the village of San Pedro. San Pedro is the backpacker party town of the lake and it is a magnet for gap-year kids and wandering hippies. I took some Spanish classes here and my school arranged  a home-stay with a local family for me.  Unusually for me, I stayed out of the party scene this week. The family I stayed with lived away from the main strip and I didn’t really fancy stumbling home at all hours and waking everyone up. I was content to spend my days exploring and going to classes and nights hanging with my host family. Sometimes after dinner I would read the little girl stories and my pronunciation must be ok because she seemed to understand and enjoy the stories even if I had no idea what I was saying.

During the day I visited a couple of other nearby villages. San Marcos is a very pretty, chill little village where people go to do yoga, meditate and refresh their chakras. It is also home to the gorgeous Cerro Tzankujil nature reserve where I spent a beautiful morning bushwalking.

Quick rest before I head up the path.

Quick rest before I head up the path.

In San Marcos I also got involved with a bamboo building workshop. The plan is to build a shelter for local ladies who have been trained in Chinese massage where they can see clients and run classes. The shelter is made from bamboo held together with old bike inner tubes. We didn’t it finish but we did make a good start on the frame. It wasn’t that hard and if/when the apocalypse comes I reckon I’ll be able to knock myself up a bamboo hut without a drama – as long as I have some bike inner-tubes.


I rode a tuk-tuk to visit the village of San Juan. San Juan is one of the smaller of the villages and is home to a number of co-operatives that produce and sell traditional arts and textiles. It is also home to some beautiful street art and is a bit less touristy than the other places I visited.

Tuk-tuks or boats are the way to get from village to village.

Tuk-tuks or boats are the way to get from village to village.


San Juan.

San Juan.

My next stop is Semuc Champey and I will be staying in a hostel this time. I loved my home-stay but now I am looking forward to having a few beers some other travellers.


I am always curious about who visits this blog and I love when people leave a comment, even if it is just to say hi. So please do.

29 thoughts on “Lake Atitilan – A little piece of Eden.

  1. as you know I never miss your blogs but this one is a little different to your normal adventures. Sounds like you’re finally maturing. Ha! I loved it you make me feel like I’m walking with you. Can’t wait to hear about Semuc Champay. It looks even more beautiful than Lake Atitilan. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Carls! Love hearing your stories! I’m so jealous right now… I would love to see these woman do some handicrafts and watch some weaving… Next time I’m coming with you! Xxx danyal


  3. Hi Carl, this is so interesting and colorful blog. Felt so good reading about the natives and their life. Especially I loved the photos which carry the street art paintings in the place. Enjoy and keep posting us nice blogs.

    Good to connect with you. And thanks for visiting my travel and photography blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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