Lake Atitlan is a truly spectacular place. The blue/green water set against the lush slopes of the surrounding volcanos is a wonderful sight for sure.
There are many Mayan villages dotted around the lake, each with its own character. I chose to spend a week in the Yoga Forest, which is located on a mountain in the village of San Marcos de la Laguna.
San Marcos is a very pretty village and is known for its hippie-esque vibe. Yoga, meditation, permaculture, silence retreats, mushroom growing workshops, tarot reading, reiki….the list goes on of the variety of mystic offerings. The tiny main walkway from the lacha dock winds by cafes, jewellery, gem and stone stalls and tour operators.
A health food store along with some other tiendas provide grocery stables. All kinds of probiotic goodies like kombucha, kimchi, kefir and sauerkraut are widely available. Vegetarian and vegan cuisine is the norm. Needless to say, I was very happy with the situation here.
My home for the week was a little out of town, a steep climb up the limestone cliff.
The Yoga Forest was created by an Australian woman. It is a place for retreat, reflection, sharing, growth and harmony. I found all of these things here and more.
The environment is simply beautiful. I can’t think of any other way to describe it. The views are jaw dropping. The property is made up of several buildings, some in the traditional Mayan style.
The yoga shala has perhaps the best view of any yoga shala in the world. If there is a better one out there, I’d love to know about it!
Each day we followed pretty much the same schedule: meditation, yoga, breakfast, free time until lunch, free time until dinner. While I was there, the yoga teachers offered some extra activities. On my first night we did partner meditation and a heart dance by candlelight. On the night of the the new moon, we had a cacao ceremony’s uunder the cave by fire the fire. We let go of that which no longer serves us and created intentions for the next month.
One day I had a little day trip out to another village on the lake, San Pedro. This is a busier village with many people studying Spanish here. I thought it would be nice to check out quickly. The vibe of the village didn’t really captivate me. The little laneways between streets were cool, especially the ones with street art.
I had a walk around, did a little bit of shopping and had some lunch. It began pouring rain so I took that as a sign to head back to San Marcos.
The food served is all vegetarian and outrageously delicious! Some lovely local women prepared it all without refrigeration or electricity! There are many fruits and vegetables grown on site which are used in each meal. Goats provide milk and sometimes cheese. Other cute pets make up the community.
Perhaps what really made my time here so special, were the wonderful people. Both the yoga teachers, guests and other staff were kind, supportive and positive. While I was unwell, everyone was so caring, making sure I was okay. One woman even picked me some flowers to have by my bed.
My week at the Yoga Forest was definitely a highlight of this trip. An experience I will never forget!
Leaving the lake behind me, I’m now off to Xela for a few days in the mountains!