There are countless benefits to living and working on Lake Atitlán and one of our favorites are the weekend escapes. After a week of work in the Panajachel office, we took a retreat to the tranquil and small neighboring town of Santa Cruz La Laguna. The commute? A short local lancha (small boat) ride, which locals and tourists alike use to travel between the eight surrounding villages of Lake Atitlán.

In Santa Cruz La Laguna the sun shines and the breeze is refreshing. We rented a beautiful house with a panoramic view of all three majestic volcanoes, which tower over shimmering Lake Atitlán. The property boasted a collection of festive art, a diverse array of cactus, greenery, and succulents, and several nooks to curl up with a book. What better way to take in the serene views of the lake than relaxing on the porch, snacking on fresh guacamole and sipping homemade pineapple infused sangria.

Lake Atitlán is a very sacred place; in Mayan tradition it is believed to be the belly button of the universe. The lake serves as the center of Mayan culture in Guatemala, and several ceremonies are held on its shores. Lake Atitlán is often referred to as, “the place where the rainbow gets its colors.” Admiring the lake from up in the hills of San Cruz La Laguna, it is impossible not to feel this exuberant, magical energy that attracts travelers from all corners of the world. To add to its enchantment, Lake Atitlán is the deepest lake in Central America. The depth of the lake has led to a variety of local myths about mysterious floating lights and mythical creatures. Some even say Lake Atitlán possess a special magnetic energy, which keeps its visitors coming back for more of its charm.

Visiting the lake’s surrounding villages, like Santa Cruz de La Laguna, gives you an exciting taste of the vibrant Mayan culture and history that is still very much alive. Streets are adorned with colorful intricately weaved handicrafts and exotic flowers, and each smile is more welcoming and friendly than the last.

Aside from a relaxing weekend recharge, one can find a variety of activities to indulge in including kayaking, hiking, swimming, yoga, meditation, and aerial silks at eco-lodges and activity centers around the lake.

With its alluring ambiance and breathtaking views, Santa Cruz La Laguna is a perfect destination for a dose of weekend rest and relaxation. If you are considering exploring Guatemala, we highly recommend checking out the magic Lake Atitlán has to offer for yourself.