After spending the weekend in Totonicapán for their annual fería, Lia and I made our way back to the Lake Atitlan area. Before going back to IMAP though, we made a day trip around the lake in order to talk to people about our upcoming Permaculture Design Certification course in December. We first stopped in Panajachel, where the locals were also getting ready for their yearly fería. As we walked down the main street we saw a float pulling out of a parking lot carrying a tiny, but fully adorned, 6-year-old queen. After putting up posters to advertise for the course we stopped to eat at a restaurant called Las Pitayas, or The Dragonfruit. Our selection was a bit biased after being at IMAP during the Pitaya season; we assumed that the food would be equally delicious. The colors of the walls were true to the fruit, fuschia and green. We enjoyed our breakfast while admiring the local watercolor paintings that hung on the walls and chit chatting with the owner.
After finishing putting up posters in Pana we took the public boat transportation to the nearby Santa Cruz. Once arriving in Santa Cruz we made our way from the docks to the secluded Hotel, La Isla Verde. This eco chic hotel is off the beaten path (literally… we trekked down a makeshift plank path, crossed a small stream, and passed by a farmer working in his milpa on the way there.) It is an impressive site and seems well worth the hike. They offer yoga classes and spa facilities, local/organic/“slow” food in their restaurant, as well as many other services.
From there we hopped another boat to San Marcos, which out of all of the places we visited certainly had the most unique flavor to it. There are many yoga and meditation locales, as well bakeries and cafes where you can find chocolate croissants or banana bread. A portion of the proceeds in one café went to a local school. While meandering we also passed by an impressive medicinal garden and found a center that sells tinctures and other natural remedies.
Our last stop was San Pedro where we put up posters in Spanish schools, a few non-profits, restaurants, hotels, and health food stores. San Pedro at some points seemed more like walking through an art gallery than a town. The walls of the buildings are covered in multi-colored murals as well as advertisements for the constantly changing activities and brightly colored traje material hangs from the vendors’ stands. In all of our stops we saw many promising initiatives taking place. Eco ladrillos were a common part of local construction, extranjeros were seen working alongside locals in garden projects, many locations advertised free water bottle refills, and waste management was being addressed in the form of art, accessible trash bins, and composts.
Not only did we get to see these great locations but we also got to talk to some great people, all while taking in the beautiful lake scenery. If you’re interested in seeing some of these unique communities and learning about how to implement your own designs look into our Permaculture Design Certification Course in December! There is an early bird special for those who sign up before October 31st.