After our (late) night out in Antigua, the journey to Atitlan wasn't particularly pleasant and we'd also opted for a cheaper local bus option. However we made it without major issues and surprisingly without breaking down, which a lot of the private shuttles had even done!
Lake Atitlan was a huge lake inside a series of old volcanoes and mountains. The actual crater lake was created by a historic mega volcanic explosion that left a huge crater in the earth, around 85 million years ago! A lot of random Mayan villages surrounded the lake, mostly just local towns but some now also occupied by travellers and expats. To get to our planned town we crossed the lake by boat and made our way to San Pedro...
The towns are tiny, some bars, restaurants, hostels, loads of hippies and locals just mooching about! The pace of life is slow and people are there to chill, visit the mountains and cross the lake but weirdly enough a lot of hippies even go in the hope of selling food or home made trinkets and 'finding themselves'...!
We spent 4 days in San Pedro, mooched around the town, visited a few of the local bars and went on a trek to the 'Indian Nose'. This was a view point high on one of the mountains that looks vaguely like the outline of an Indian's face when he's lying on his back. Not really sure where the Indian comparison comes from though!
One very strange group of people that are dotted around the lake, mainly in San Marco, are westerners, turned hippie who have come to 'find themselves'. Some stay in San Pedro but for those who find that is to tourist orientated there is a town we visited called San Marco.
The town is made up of places offering everything from massage and meditation courses, to holistic therapy and silence courses, where people sit in silence for weeks or months! Some of these courses even last 6 months! Each to their own but it was a very strange place with some very strange people so we hastily popped back to town.
Met a few funny people during this stint, one of which we will be travelling with again in some up coming places. Lake Atitlan was amazing to see and nice to chill, although not entirely sure why people would remain for so long!
Interestingly though we did meet a UK born and educated geologist who studies the volcanos around Guatemala. He subsequently told us of an exciting trip we could accompany him on, to the erupting Volcan Fuego!!