Life On The Lake - Living on Lake Atitlan

Mornings in San Marcos are my favourite; the night-long eruptions of feral dogs (werewolves?!) barking is subdued to a distant rumble; the sun slowly creeps from behind the large volcanoes that play guard to the lake, bringing with it the warmth of the day as the soft sounds of nature begin to rise with you. If you strain your ear you can hear the gentle splash of the lake licking at the shores, birds departing their trees on hunt for their morning meal and indigenous Mayan community greeting you with a timid smile.

We having been living in San Marcos Lake Atitlan for just over a month now, and like many visitors who arrive on the dock for a week of relaxation, only to be hypnotised by the easy lifestyle, the beautiful people and the magic of the lake, we’re not sure who we’re going to pull ourselves away from this haven.

Lake Atitlan is a collection of small villages scattered around a magical lake that was formed by a volcano eruption close to a million years ago. It’s not uncommon to be woken in the early hours of the morning by an enormous grumble from the belly of one of the surrounding volcanoes.

Sometimes I feel as though we have stumbled back in time. As my feet land safely from another precarious boat ride, commuting from one village to another, docking at a half collapsed peer, surrounded by buildings now submerged almost completely in water, a result of the lake levels rising - part of a 25 year cycle according to the locals. I feel as though I’ve gone back to a time where everyone smiles and greets each other in the street, where a young boy takes the time to help an elderly lady carry her weavings up the steepest of hills and where in little-to-no-time you become part of a family - old values in modern Guatemala.

Whilst less fairytale-like themes float under the surface of the shoreline, sad stories of poverty, malnutrition and broken families, the amazing spirit and hearts of the San Marcos community refuse to be broken.