San Marcos La Laguna
San Marcos is a unique lake town in that it harbors a strangely esoteric vibe, aided by its prominence as Guatemala’s New Age center. It’s about a three-hour walk from Santa Cruz La Laguna and two hours from San Pedro La Laguna. Most visitors arrive at a boat dock beside Posada Schumann, though boats stop first at the main dock a few hundred meters east. A road runs beside the lodge into town, which together with a parallel street 100 meters west, form the main pedestrian arteries into town.
Among the spiritually inclined attractions is Las Pirámides (tel. 5205-7302 and tel. 5205-7151, www.laspiramidesdelka.com), offering a variety of New Age alternative psychology courses, including a one-month “moon course” beginning with the full moon and culminating in a full week of fasting and silence. With completion of the moon course there’s further study, including a three-month sun course, featuring elements of Kabbalah, tarot reading, and lucid dreaming. Nonstudents can join in on hatha yoga sessions at 7 a.m., classes on various spiritual topics at 10 a.m., and meditation techniques at 5 p.m. A session costs $4. To get here, follow the path up the hill past Posada Schumann and then turn left along the signed pathway. It’s about 200 meters on your left.
Back toward Posada Schumann is San Marcos Holistic Centre (www.sanmholisticcentre.com, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat.), offering a wide assortment of massages and holistic therapies. There are training courses in Reiki, shiatsu, massage, reflexology, and Bach flower remedies. English, Spanish, German, and French are spoken. A typical treatment costs somewhere around $15.
It’s not recommended, but you can hike from San Marcos east to Tzununá and Jaibalito. Check on the safety situation with local sources, as hiker robberies between here and Tzununá have been frequent in the past. Going west to Santa Clara La Laguna is a safer bet. If you do go, leave your valuables behind. Until recently, the waters here were excellent for swimming, when the lake was nice and clean. In the aftermath of Atitlán’s recent cyanobacteria algal blooms, you may be hard-pressed to find a decent place to swim.
Kayaks are available for rent next door to the Aaculaax hotel and cost $3 per hour. The owners of Tul y Sol restaurant (tel. 5293-7997) can arrange paragliding.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com