Since I’ve been here in Antigua I’ve made two short trips to Lake Atitlan. The first trip was only for an afternoon and included a 40 minute cruise around the lake. The second time I stayed for three nights and three days. The first two nights I stayed in the Mayan village of Santa Catarina with a friend and her Mayan family.
Now, when I say I stayed with her family that really is quite the understatement. The house I stayed in was where her parents live. Next to this house was her brother’s house. On another side was her uncle’s house. Another side, her father’s shop, Turn in another direction and there was another brother’s small shop. It was more of a surprise to turn a direction and not see a relative or a relative’s home. I guess that’s how they roll here.
It was a relaxing few days with the family. I tried two types of some breakfast concoction that I’d never had before. It reminded me of a licquified mush or something like cream of wheat. One variety had beans included. One afternoon I walked along the shoreline with two cute kids providing the tour. Later on that night the kids decided to entertain me with an impromptu game of tag in the dining area.
The village was constructed like a hillside maze adorned by concrete homes, some with corrugated metal roofs. The cemented walkways weavied their way through the homes up the hillside. Most of the hillside homes had a stunning view of the lake and its volcanoes. In fact, the brother’s home had a multi-million dollar view!
The last day and night I took a small boat taxi, or lancha, across the lake to the village of San Pedro. Along the shoreline were several tourist-oriented businesses. It seemed like a great place to party considering all of the hostels and bars in the area. I’ll go back sometime if I bring along some friends.
So, is Lake Atitlan the most picturesque lake in the world? I really don’t know, but nonetheless it’s quite striking and also an interesting place where a lot of the Mayan people live today.