Sunday, August 4, 2013

Antigua and Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

In May, a very good friend came to visit and we explored new and old parts of Antigua together as well as made my first trip to Lake Atitlan (about two hours from Antigua).

Cerro de la Cruz - a beautiful overlook of Antigua 

Cerro de la Cruz

Grateful for an amazing friendship!

Lunch at one of my favorite restaurants - amazing food and a fantastic garden!

Love this!

Lake Atitlan is one of the most peaceful and beautiful places I have ever visited.  There are several villages around the 15 mile wide lake that is also surrounded by several volcanos.  Needless to say, the views around the lake are stunning!

The view from the Panajachel dock - the best way to get around the lake is by boat.  Love that!

We rented a house for a couple nights - absolutely beautiful house and gorgeous setting with amazing hosts!

Our cozy bungalow with an amazing view...

View from our house!

View around Santa Cruz - little village our house was in

View around Santa Cruz 

View around Santa Cruz 

View around Santa Cruz 

View around Santa Cruz 

View around Santa Cruz 

A cool bed/lounge area as part of one bar we stopped at

Beauty is everywhere - even in recycled bottles :)

The view from Isla Verde - a beautiful hotel next to our house

Sunset/evening sky

In San Marcos (another village around the lake) - Lee (our amazing host and guide) showed us how the community reuses plastic bottles to build walls.  There's no recycling or garbage collection here, so they have to use everything.  Great idea!

Mayan symbols

Mayan symbols

Yes, Batman truly is everywhere!  My favorite mode of transportation - tuc tucs!

A tuc tuc stop

Mayan symbols

Mayan symbols

View from San Marcos dock.  We had such a beautiful, clear day!

In the village of San Juan - the artisan village.  This village welcomes tourists during the day but preserves its community by not allowing any outside development.  They are really working to sustain the traditions of art in this community.

This fantastic artist also teaches young children how to paint and their work was incredible!

The mountain in San Juan with the Mayan face.  Can you see the nose (second bump from the left)?

Beautiful artwork around the town - depicting coffee picking

Many weaving cooperatives in this town and we stopped for one demonstration

Getting the wool on the spool

Natural, organic cotton grown in the village

Preparing to weave


Intricate and beautiful artwork!

And we got dressed up in traditional Mayan clothes too - looking good if I do say so myself!
Then a stop at a family's house to see some traditional dancing by the kids

The dance illustrates a boy meeting a girl and courting her.  All the children are in traditional Mayan clothes.

Church in Santiago - our last village stop

Here both the men and women wear the traditional costumes - looks very comfortable

Our incredible host and guide, Lee, even dressed up!

Our last stop in Santiago was to see Maximon (said Maa-shee-Mon).  He is a folk saint and important to the Mayan people.  He hears the concerns that might not be right to share with Jesus.  Offerings of alcohol and cigars are given to him.  He is hosted by one family for a year who sit with him 24-7.  When we visited, a ceremony was taking place, so we could not take pictures.  This photo is from Wikipedia.