Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. The most beautiful lake in the world?

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Dawn on Lake Atitlan, elevation 5100'. I lived and worked here in the village of Panajachel. The 3 volcanoes are Atitlan, back left, at 12,500', Toliman in front, 11,500', and San Pedro, right, at 10,500'. In front of the twins at left is the smaller Cerro de Oro.

This is the view from the 900 foot bluff right behind the open air market. The Cathedral is at lower right. The Rio Panajachel floodplain crosses the photo diagonally. More from here later...

Early arrivals setting up at the market, with the bluff behind.

Where the Rio Panajachel enters Lake Atitlan at the public beach. Volcan San Pedro.

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Map of Lake Atitlan. Elevations in meters. The PanAmerican Highway, just off the map to the North, is the main connection to the lake, via the town of Solola, top. Good brakes are a must!

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These ceremonial participants are "Don Tata" and "Don Diablo"

A crowd of us assembled for most every sunset at the lake...

Just paddling these "cayucos" is real tricky. The fish are small in the cold water of one of the world's deepest lakes -up to 1600 feet or so.

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Funeral cortage

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I often did yoga at this lovely hotel, in the shade of the little trees behind my bicycle.

Peri-elaine Paschal, coming down from watching sunrise from the bluff.

Boats like at lower left -and larger ones- transport people and goods around the lake. The roads around were much slower.

Quarrying tufa. Nearby I not so much quarried as shoveled up pumice into bags to start building a house on Raul's land. I abandoned building the house after 3 other indigenous friends were killed by the Army.

Raul Barrios Vasquez. He won Guatemala's first prize for modern art 3 years running. He was a Judge for the town of San Pedro across the lake, where he also taught physical education.

Raul's original house. He built 2 more stories on it, and 2 art studio/galleries besides. But all were wiped out by mud and water during Hurrican Stan.

After the occassional dry-season rain.

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Girls from Santa Catarina, the next town clockwise on the lake from Panajachel. Every town in Guatemala has its own distinctive dress or "traje".

The evening swim

In Maya land, reliable tools were admired. I had one of the first mountain bikes in the area in 1986 in that VERY mountainous highlands area. Within 2 years there were fleets for rent. This is also where I taught yoga.

After living at the Hotel Panajachel next to the market, I moved a couple of blocks to a room with this lovely family, headed to my mind by Dona Chepe. I forget her husband's name.

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I couldn't have asked for a better family.

Birthday party.

Chepe's daughter Dora and her baby.

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Cristina who worked for the family was funny, wild and smart.

Dora serving a customer at their store, doubling as the neighborhood TV room.

The second year I lived there in this house. The neighborhood kids were serious rope-walking students, laughing off a few terrible falls which would put gringo kids out of action.

The name of this Dane was something like Mette, but I was never quite sure...

A few more from the bluff behind the market.

And the fabulous Peri.


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Two villages clockwise from Pana is San Antonio, famous for onions and hot springs.

A neighborhood "pila" stores water, which only ran in the morning.

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Political party names on the rocks.

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The Lake gets steadily lower since the 1980 earthquake, so the location of the various hot springs keeps changing. Here, the water comes from a deep crack in the rocks 2 people could get in.

The locals watched our every move.

Back in San Antonio after a day at the hot springs with the Danes.

My Boulder, Colorado buddy Micah True lived down there about the same winters as I.

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This Guatemalteca was a computer programmer in Guatemala City.

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That's 3 villages on the South side of the lake. Next, the other sides...

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