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Imagine a week in paradise, waking up every morning to the sounds of birds and the serenity of one of the world’s most beautiful lakes, learning to cook a variety of gourmet vegan specialties. Then this one-week vegan cooking workshop is for you!
Lake Villa Guatemala is truly private. It is located in a gated area, surrounded by trees, and have a private beach.
The Garden View room is on the 2nd floor, adjacent to the meditation and yoga space. This room is preferred by those who have difficulty with stairs, as it is the shortest distance to the common and dining areas.
This room is on the lowest floor, closest to the lake. It is two flights of stairs from the common and dining areas. The room has a private entrance and patio, with steps leading to the lake path.
In-room coffee and tea service is available.
You’ll explore local markets, visit picturesque villages, and see some of the spectacular sites of Guatemala.
If you are vegan, you know how challenging it can be to travel and maintain your vegan diet. Many who come to stay at Lake Villa Guatemala are not vegan or vegetarian, but appreciate the healthy whole food cuisine offered. Even the non-veg guests rave about their food. You will as well explore local markets, visit picturesque villages, and see some of the spectacular sites of Guatemala.
Guided lake tour
Walking tour of Santiago Atitlan
Traci has been cooking since age 10. She switched to a plant-based diet in 2007, and learned to cook all over again. In 2017, she completed the Plant-Based Professional course at Rouxbe.com online culinary school.
Guatemala is literally in the heart of the Americas. Bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean Sea to the east, Honduras to the southeast, and El Salvador and the Pacific Ocean to the south. It is the most populated country in Central America. Lake Atitlan is Guatemala's jewel: a place of spectacular beauty set in the highlands where the air is fresh and temperatures are comfortable year round. Lake Atitlan is home to several unique Mayan communities, each with its own traditions and personality.
Guatemala has amazing fresh fruits and vegetables with vibrant flavor. Produce is picked ripe here and sold the same day in local markets. Lake Villa Guatemala has a small garden, several fruit trees, and buy most of the produce in the local markets. All produce is disinfected with an ultrasonic washer. All meals are plant-based (vegan). Here are a few sample meals. With advance notice Lake Villa Guatemala can accommodate special dietary needs and food sensitivities (gluten, soy, nuts, and others). They can also support a raw foods diet.
These are just a few of the possibilities!
Go birding, hiking, zip lining, shopping, weaving workshops, and horseback riding in your free time. Lake Villa Guatemala offers daily tours of local villages and trips to local markets. Lake Villa Guatemala will help you find the best of Guatemala's amazing textiles, art, and woodworking. They also offer guided kayak tours.
On Tuesdays and Fridays, vendors come from around Guatemala and set out their fabric items in the parking lot of the fire department (bomberos). This is where tipico dealers come to shop, and you can find some wonderful pieces at great prices. Selection is best in the morning, and the market usually wraps up around 3-4pm (or earlier in the rainy season).
Cerro de Oro is a sweet village that doesn’t even make it on to most tourist maps. It has no hotels or restaurants. It’s the closest village to Lake Villa Guatemala, and our workers come from there. It is a Tzutujil village. Cerro de Oro (Hill of Gold) is named for the hill that is its distinguishing feature. Some geologists say that the hill is a parasitic lava dome from Atitlan volcano, but others say it is an ancient volcano in its own right. The locals call Cerro de Oro the Elefante Dormido (sleeping elephant) because of its shape. The hill’s shape inspired Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s “boa constrictor digesting an elephant” in his book The Little Prince.
Lake Villa Guatemala can arrange for a local guide to take you up the hill. You’ll stop at the ancient Mayan altar (where ceremonies are still performed) and the mirador, with beautiful views of the lake. You may make it to the carved rock at the top, which some guides say is an ancient map. Though it’s a short distance, this is a steep hike that can be slippery on the way down.
Lake Villa Guatemala arranges fire ceremonies with local Mayan priests and personalized tours to acquaint you with local culture and spiritual practices. A visit to Santiago Atitlan isn’t complete without a trip to the Catholic church, built by the Spanish in 1541 on the site of an ancient Mayan temple, or a stop to see Maximon.
Many guests enjoy ceremonies with the “chocolate shaman” in San Marcos la Laguna. We suggest combining your trip across the lake with a tour of the lovely village of San Juan la Laguna. San Juan is known for its art galleries, weaving cooperatives, and fabrics colored with all-natural dyes.
Lake Villa Guatemala works with local healers to arrange Mayan fire ceremonies in Santiago Atitlan. All ceremonies are tailored to the needs of the participants.
Fire ceremonies must be arranged in advance. The shaman selects the day based on the purpose of the ceremony (such as physical healing, business success, relationships) and the date on the Mayan calendar. You can combine a fire ceremony with a short walking tour of Santiago Atitlan, a trip to the Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers, a bit of shopping, and lunch in town.
Finca Xetuc is located in the back of Santiago bay. Owners Jim and Nancy have a beautiful property and many years of experience with leading horseback rides. They offer hourly rides, or longer rides that include a meal upon your return to the ranch (breakfast, lunch, or cocktail rides). They also offer organized hikes with beautiful views.
You can rent our boat to explore on your own, or have us guide you to our favorite spots. Our most popular tour takes you to San Juan La Laguna and San Pedro La Laguna. Tour leaves around 10:00 for a boat trip to San Juan. San Juan is one of the cleanest villages in Guatemala. A 20-year campaign has resulted in recycling and everyone picking up trash. But more than cleanliness, San Juan is known for its painters and for its weaving cooperatives that specialize in natural dyes.
In the art galleries, you can see the work of young children, who are taught to paint at an early age. You can also see styles that are sold in Antigua for twice the price and are copied throughout Guatemala. The weaving cooperatives have demonstrations of spinning raw cotton into thread, backstrap weaving, and the plants used to create natural dyes. After San Juan, you take the short boat ride to San Pedro, which is the “hippie” capital of the lake, and is home to most of the lake’s Spanish schools. They have a lovely park in front of their church, but the real draw here is lunch. San Pedro has a good selection of restaurants with plenty of vegan options. An alternative to San Pedro is San Marcos La Laguna, the “New Age” town. The paths wind through the wooded town where no cars or tuk-tuks are allowed, past massage and energy healing schools. They have a few of restaurants with good vegan options.
Are you an artist? Beautiful subjects surround you. Are you a writer? We have lots of private space for you to write. Musician? We have an electronic piano and acoustic guitar available. The acoustics in the upper common area are amazing. Lake Villa Guatemala is the perfect place to get away from distractions and practice your craft.
San Antonio is home to small factories that produce a distinctive style of ceramics. From mugs and plates to door pulls and flower vases, you’ll find beautiful pieces for your home or to give as gifts.
San Juan is one of our guests’ favorite destinations. Walk up from the boat dock past weaving and art co-ops, many run by women’s groups. San Juan is best known for weavings made from natural-dye fabrics. Several co-ops have demonstrations of traditional spinning, dying, and backstrap loom weaving. San Juan is also know for its painters, and you can purchase original paintings at a fraction of the price you’ll find them in Antigua.- San Pedro volcano hike
This is a strenuous hike. It goes up and up. The views at the top are spectacular if you have a clear day, and clouds can quickly move in around the top of the volcano. The trail is well-maintained, and there are great guides who will offer encouragement along the way.
Some say it takes three hours to go up and an hour and a half to come down. Those people must have really good knees. I hiked with two guests who are around my age, and it took us as long to get down as to get up… about six hours total.Though well-maintained, the trail can be slippery. Expect to be sore for a couple of days after this hike.
We are blessed to have Dolores Ratzán Pablo in Santiago. Dolores lived in the US for 10 years and speaks excellent English. She is active in a Santiago cofradía (spiritual brotherhood) and gives an excellent walking tour, including the church, Maximon, and if desired, another cofradía.
Cojolya Weaving Co-op and Museum: For over 30 years, the Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers has been helping to keep the tradition of backstrap weaving alive, while providing income to its members. Cojolya uses traditional methods with high quality materials and modern designs to create unique styles. They have a small store and museum in the heart of Santiago. Cojolya offers tours where you can meet the weavers in their homes and workshops, and see how the work is done. Current price for the tour is Q80. They also offer weaving classes for Q23 per hour plus a materials fee of Q150. A stop at the store and museum can be included in any trip to Santiago during the week (they’re closed on weekends). Tours and classes require a day’s notice to arrange.
Panajachel has some of the best shopping for Guatemalan weavings (“tipico”), wood carvings, beaded items, and jewelry. It also has cheap, not-so-great stuff. The main shopping street, Calle Santander, has vendors selling almost anything you might want to buy in Guatemala. If you go on a guided tour, we’ll show you our favorite shops and, if you want, help you bargain. Remember that vendors expect you to bargain and they usually start with a high price - often double the real price.
The nearest airport is La Aurora International Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City.