Our home base in Guatemala was an Airbnb just outside San Marcos La Laguna. You can get there from Panajachel (and other towns around Lake Atitlan) using the public boats.
San Marcos is a bizarre and beautiful place – an eclectic mix of local Mayan families, white hippies and other “spiritual” folks. You are almost as likely to see someone in a traditionally woven Mayan outfit as you are someone in topless in tie-dyed, flowing cotton pants.
From the dock, much of the town is built on the steep hills of the surrounding mountains. Interestingly, there is a proliferation of tuktuks, and you can easily grab one to shuttle you up and down the hill. San Marcos is charming and entirely strange.
There is a really laid-back, relaxing vibe to parts of the area, but then there are obvious signs of deprivation experienced by some of the local families makes it a challenging place to visit. While you can consume your body weight in vegan green smoothies or attend yoga classes at any hour of the day, it is hard to ignore the reality of life for many local people, who rely on labour-intensive hand picked coffee, corn, or weaving to support their families. We stopped at Circles Hostel to check out live music and drink iced coffees. San Marcos has an abundance of beautiful murals. Even Cat facts embraced the yogic, alternative, and instagram-worthy corners of San Marcos (mostly because I forced him to pose for an OOTD pic because black-on-black-on black is *literally* so hot right now!). Directly beside San Marcos is a beautiful nature reserve – Cerro Tzankujil. We could walk through the nature reserve to get to our cottage, and particularly on the weekends, there would be dozens of people lazing on the rocks, swimming in the water, or leaping off the 9 meter platform into the lake.
It took me my entire stay to build up the courage to make the leap. Lisa kayaked over with me to go-pro my inglorious jump.
As you can see, my form was not optimal. Apparently, you aren’t supposed to take a seat on the water. The slap from the water reverberated in my thighs for days and days.
Important additional detail: Lisa had heroically dragged her parasite-infested body into the kayak in order to film this major feat of “athleticism.” She has been violently pooing for days, and yet she rolled into the kayak to take this glorious video, like a gawd-damn champ. She is the real hero.
San Marcos was really an ideal base for our Lake Atitlan adventures. If we were feeling like exploring, we could go on an adventure, but we also could just sit and watch the sun paint beautiful scenes over the fishermen as night fell. And that is a pretty great way to pass the hours.