Join ESCAPE TO SHAPE on an exclusive & magical journey to the “Land of Eternal Spring”- Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Long considered one of “the most beautiful lakes in the world’” Lake Atitlan offers a unique combination of breathtaking natural beauty along with authentic, untouched Mayan culture. While with ESCAPE TO SHAPE guests will experience the beauty and culture of this magnificent region - a combination of luxurious accommodations in an exquisite private villa overlooking the lake and volcanoes; yoga and hiking for all levels; rich Maya traditions- from the authentic marketplaces to the traditional handicrafts, food and customs; breathtaking natural beauty- from the awe inspiring volcanoes to the deep blue of the lake and the tree lined hiking paths. Along with the cultural and natural beauty guests will enjoy relaxing massages and savor culinary delights while learning to make some Mayan treats at home with a healthy ESCAPE TO SHAPE twist.
While in Guatemala guests will stay in a beautiful private villa built on the hills surrounding the shores of Lake Atitlan providing unobstructed views of the lake and its three magnificent volcanoes. Each suite has a unique and luxurious feel- from fine Italian linens and hand selected art to private en suite bathrooms and terraces. Common areas are plentiful- whether guests choose to relish in the sunshine by one of the exquisite solar-heated pools, nestle in the shade of the terraces or cozy up by the fireplaces in the living room or library, there is space for everyone. Guests will enjoy gourmet meals with a healthy ESCAPE TO SHAPE twist all while soaking in the beauty of the lake and volcanoes and often by candlelight. A stay here is truly memorable, as the property is a slice of perfection splashed with a gracious staff, rich culture and an unparalleled sense of tranquility and beauty.
A BIT MORE ABOUT LAKE ATITLAN & ITS PEOPLE
The combination of Lake Atitlan’s natural beauty and Mayan culture provides stimulation, recreation and relaxation, depending upon your desires. Lake Atitlan is a beautiful, 1,000 foot deep lake nestled against three 10,000-foot volcanic peaks - Toliman, Atitlán and San Pedro. Along the shores of Lake Atitlán are a dozen Indian villages where life and customs have changed little over the centuries.
Though the lake area offers adequate transportation to and from all of the surrounding villages, it is quite possible that local inhabitants will spend most of their lives in the village of their birth and may never travel to other villages across the lake. As evidence of this relative isolation, there are three different native languages spoken around the lake, and each village has their own accent within their indigenous language. All of the villages are relatively small, and material comforts and healthcare are limited. Most of the villages are connected to the outside world only by boat. Nonetheless, each village offers a rich and varied tapestry of food, color, language and culture. Each village has its own traditional attire - brightly colored woven and embroidered clothes, belts, and hair bands, setting them apart from the neighboring villages.
A Bit About The Villages
Sololá, has long been a market town, even before the arrival of the Spaniards or the tourists. Twice per week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, they have an excellent market with traders coming from near and far to sell their wares to locals and tourists alike.
Panajachel, with an estimated population of 14,000, is the largest and most touristy of the villages.
Santa Cruz is a fairly lively village with local activity.
Jailbalito is a small village on accessible by boat, offering the most authentic peak at indigenous Guatemalan life.
Tzununa is set back in the ravine. It is another very quiet village, with very little tourism.
San Marcos la Laguna has become a center for meditation, holistic health, massage, Reiki, and other spiritual activities.
San Pablo is set high above the lake and connects easily to neighboring village, San Juan. From here you can take a jaw- dropping ride winding up and up to Santa Clara.
San Juan de Laguna is a very small village known for the use of natural dyes in their textiles. Winding through the streets you will also discover some terrific folk art murals on several of the village buildings.
San Pedro la Laguna is where climbs of San Pedro begin. The climb itself is steep and strenuous yet gorgeous. It begins in coffee and corn plants and at the top there is a stunning view of the crater and the lake. This hike is not for everyone and is not included in the ESCAPE TO SHAPE itinerary, although we can arrange it for you if interested.
Santiago Atitlán is one of the bigger villages on the lake. It is a shopper's haven. Winding your way up to the historic cathedral, shops and vendors are inescapable. Here you will be asked if you want to visit Maximón, a very ¨colorful¨ pagan saint.
San Lucas is tucked into the corner of Lake Atitlan. It is a quiet village surrounded by coffee plants and beautiful nature.
San Antonio Palopó has women’s weaving and pottery cooperatives.
Santa Caterina Palopó is a charming village with a women's cooperative that supports the local school. As in all villages, you are met at the dock with women and children selling their wares.
While with ESCAPE TO SHAPE you will experience many of the villages listed above. You will have the opportunity to take in the sights, sounds and smells of traditional Guatemalan markets - from the exotic fruits and vegetables to the warmth of freshly made tortillas; the calls of vendors selling their wares and the sounds of children’s laughter in the street; the brightly colored huipiles, delantalles, and cortes. Each of the villages offers unique handmade arts- from textiles, to pottery, to stylized paintings and each artisan can offer a rich history of his or her work. Visiting the villages offers many rich experiences for very personal and memorable cultural exchanges.
Priced at $3500 US per person based on 2 people per room. We can pair you with a roommate if traveling solo. Private rooms are available at the rate of $4800.00 per person. All rooms based on availability-please inquire Space is very limited.
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