In Guatemala we stopped for a rest. We spent two weeks in a cottage on the outskirts of San Pedro La Laguna, one of the Mayan villages on the shores of Lake Atitlan. San Pedro is a chaotic and dirty town, with narrow, winding lanes and tuk-tuks barrelling up and down the steep streets. It’s full of life and colour – and is a bit of a party town in backpacker circles. Most of the local Mayan people keep their customary ways, and the majority wear traditional dress every day. People are super friendly; many will greet you in the street, call you amigo and even the tuk-tuk drivers often take a rejection with a smile and a wave.
After a fairly hectic travelling schedule through South America we were ready to sit still and relax and our Airbnb, Hummingbird Heaven, with its garden setting and stupendous lake views, was the perfect spot. We spent many hours in the swings and hammocks or sitting with a drink on the patio watching the gathering twilight across the lake.
In the second week there we bestirred ourselves and visited some of the other lake villages, which all have their own distinct character.
San Juan is the home of numerous Mayan women’s cooperative weaving businesses, where Eliane and I learnt to use a back-loom and weaved our own scarves.
San Marcos is the ‘hippie’ town, attracting alternative types from around the world. It’s one of the best places for a swim and is probably the prettiest village, with many winding paths through a jungle-like background.
At Santa Cruz we visited a restaurant that must have one of the best views in the world – and also some of the best drinks. We were just sorry it was too early for lunch.
Finally, we walked from Santa Cruz to Jaibalito, via La Casa del Mundo, a gorgeous boutique hotel on the side of a cliff, where we swam from flooded balconies, meditated on the view and enjoyed delicious food.