LAFTA (Latin American Fun, Travel, Adventure) & BUSINESS
Surrounded by mountains, volcanoes and indigenous villages,
Lake Atitlán is like entering another century. The natural beauty
is apparently still unspoiled. The mountains and the volcanoes seem to just
drop right into the lake.
The lake is the ideal place for tourists to see some of the highland villages
with people wearing their traditional clothing and carrying out their daily
routines. Panajachel is the center of
much of this activity because it has the closest access to the main highway
to Guatemala City and to the main market roads that are the economic center
of the country.
The pier in Panajachel this where the
boats leave every morning for the various villages on the shores of the
lake. Across the lake one can see three volcanoes, San Pedro, Toliman, and
This is a celebration of the feast day of San Pedro the patron saint of
San Pedro La Laguna, one of the indigenous villages on the lake. The ceremony
is known as the dance of the conquest and the red haired Spaniard center
stage represents Pedro de Alvarado, Cortez's man sent to conquer the lands
south of Mexico, which Alvarado did with a vengence. The dance represents
the last stand by the native peoples of what is now Guatemala to withstand
the Spaniards. This last stand was led by a chieftain named Tecun Uman,
who now is a symbol of Guatemalan nationalism and pride.
Juan Sican, a young man from San Antonio Palopo. He hitched a ride with
me this past summer
Vendors at the Santiago de Atitlán market
Santiago is the largest of the indigenous village on the lake and the market
is the most important in the area except for the one at Solola, just up
the road from Panajchel.