During our week in San Marcos La Laguna, we had most afternoons and evenings free after volunteering at Konojel, and we used that time to explore the village. Our first 2 days overlapped with our friend Jenn, who happened to be there leading a woman’s retreat, so we hung out with their group. They took us to some fantastic local eateries, included us in the “Drum Night” at a local hostel, and we even got to celebrate one of their birthdays together, with a pinada and a colorful eggshell confetti toss!
On one of our free afternoons, we put on our bathing suits and walked down to Lake Atitlan. It was incredibly serene and beautiful, with a clear view of several volcanoes surrounding the lake! There is a platform that’s about 25′ high where you can jump into the lake, and ofcourse, Alan made that his entry point into the water!
As for Bridge and I, we opted out of the cliff jumping since the water was so cold. I ended up not going into the water at all, but Bridge did brave the cold and swam for a little bit.
The village itself has some wonderful cafes and restaurants, as well as a fruit stand, an ice cream parlor, and a few small markets. We especially enjoyed the restaurant name Vida, as it was situated right by the lake and offered a stunning view of the volcanoes. The food was fantastic too, but do not go if you’re in a hurry because service is on the slower side. There are also a few food stalls around the main square in the evening, and we LOVED the fried chicken stand as well as the taco stand managed by two very nice siblings.
One night, we stumbled upon an acrobatic group that was putting on a performance to raise money, and we had a fun time watching them juggle fire batons and do other crazy acrobatic movements.
There are several villages surrounding Lake Atitlan, and small boats are available to take you between them. We did a day trip to the village of Panajachel, which is the busiest town of all. It was filled with cafes and restaurants, as well as souvenir shops that pretty much sold similar things. We strolled around town for the afternoon, sat down for an afternoon break of coffee and crepes, and then headed back to San Marcos right around sunset.
We also got a tour of a local coffee farm in San Marcos, which was very interesting because we got to learn the whole process from coffee planting to the final step of coffee bean grinding. We took a tuk tuk to the coffee farm, which is higher up in the village, and then strolled back down so that we can see some of the living quarters of the indigenous people there.
Another noteworthy part of our time in San Marcos was getting to meet Imelda, a sweet, lovely Mayan women that has become “family” to our friend Jenn who spends much of her year in the village. Imelda and her daughter weaves beautiful fabric to sell, and Jenn has graciously taken up the efforts in helping them to market and sell their weavings to the US and Canada, at prices that are fair and sustainable. After hearing Imelda’s story, and having seen and touch her beautiful products, we purchased a few to bring home with us and these pieces are now integrated into Bridgette’s bedroom.
If you want to just chill and relax in San Marcos, you can also just sit on the dock all day and stare at the glistening water of the lake!
Overall, we really enjoyed the slowness of San Marcos, and our week there was one of our favorite parts of our Guatemala trip. We hope to be back to visit the children of Konojel soon!