San Marcos La Laguna is a quiet town on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. The town has become a bit of a Mecca for all things spiritual, with several meditation, yoga, and massage centers. It's one of the most beautiful spots on the lake, and quite easy to lose a few days in.
Take a shuttle boat from the public dock at Panajachel (Q20, 45 minutes).
If flying from outside of the country, the most effective and practical way to get to San Marcos is by means of plane then either bus or car. I recomend flying into Guatemala City (known by the locals as 'Guate') then proceed to drive 3.5 hours. The major highways that are in route are mostly updated. When exiting, take caution to the windy, dirt road that leads to the small town of San Marcos.
There is also a shuttle from San Christobal, Mexico. The shuttle provides a traveler with a rich cultural experiance by traveling in what the locals refer to as a "chicken bus". The "chicken bus" will drop you off in Panajachel and from there you can take a luancha (small boat) to San Marcos.
If traveling from Antigua, a popular tourist destination in Guatemala, the only means of transportation is a six hour car ride between towns.
The most striking feature of this town is that it has practically no roads — everything is reached by thin foot paths through trees and between buildings. Handmade signs direct you to the most common destinations at any intersection.
- Rock Jumping - There are a series of rocks that can be accessed by foot via the shore of the lake. From there, its a long way down to the water. What fun! Swiping of wallets, cameras, and pants have been known to occur, so come with minimal items.
- Yoga - Many places run early morning yoga programs, that are of minimal cost or free. Hatha dominates here.
- Akab'al Spanish School, ☎ + 502-41 44 06 12 ([email protected]), . Study in a relaxed, peaceful atmosphere surrounded by nature. individual training $4-$5/hr for 10-30 hrs/week. Add $50/week for homestay.
- Moonfish- Excellent mostly vegi fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chai tea, the best, house-roasted coffee in the world, brownies made with their own cacao, sandwiches for 25-30Q (including grilled tofu or falafel), pizzas, salads from their garden, and more.
- Aaculaax- serves a good breafkast from 8AM-1PM daily, on a balcony overlooking the garden and the lake.
- Los Pyramides- The retreat has a great little veggie restaurant open to non-guests.
- On the way from the dock to the square, there is a small fruit shop on the left, with fruit on display near the curb. Inside, a a lady makes tasty sandwiches for 10Q, and sometimes other simple foods. It's one of the cheapest options in San Marcos. They don't always have food - you'll have to drop by and see.
- Hotel Aaculaax, (Get off at the dock, head up the paved path and follow signs to your left), . At this little ecolodge each room is unique, built into the steep hillside, and decorated with recycled glass and murals. Excellent restaurant for breakfast and dinner. Rooms $42, suites $82.
- Hotel The Retreat, ☎ +502 5857-6397, . Bed and breakfast in individual thatched huts, and a spiritual retreat centre. Set on its own mountain overlooking Lake Atitlan. Five minute walk to the village. $150/day including food.
- Hostal del Lago, (Check the map in the website.), ☎ +502 5898-9660 ([email protected]), . Ask for Mr. Lico. This place is like your home at Atitlan because you can cook your own food if you don't want to spend at restaurants. You have access from the street to the lake and you can park your car in the backyard of the hostel. There is a temascal (mayan version of sauna) 30 feet near the lake so you can take a bath and then jump to the lake from the private dock. Nowhere else you will be able to do this. Also it is very quiet, far enough from public noise. Bring your book and read alongside the lake or in one of the hammocks with lake view. US$20/day with brakefast.