Arriving in Lake Atitlán was bittersweet. We’d booked a hostel we were excited about and our first views of the lake were breathtaking, but it was also the last planned stop of my trip. I started to get sentimental, and couldn’t help but count down the hours.
Atitlán is an interesting place. There are nearly a dozen towns on it’s shores, and each offers something unique. San Pedro de la Laguna and one or two other tourist towns occupy the waterfront. The more savvy indigenous communities are further uphill. The locals know what tourists and foreign investors have learned the hard way: the lake is rising. There are countless abandoned structures in the shallows as testament, and the depths are spotted with ancient cities, which are now archaeological dive sites.
Jean and I spent two nights in San Pedro, which was in the doldrums of low season and abandoned, apart from periodic groups of Israeli backpackers. We spent one night in San Marcos, where chill cafes, yoga studios, meditation retreats, and plenty of hemp bracelets and Birkenstocks are the hallmarks of a bohemian community. Laid back was exactly what I needed; after close to 75 weeks without incident, I finally got food poisoning from a few bad ice cubes. The countdown slowed.