Lake Atitlan has always been on my radar. For many years now, I have been seeing images of this beautiful lake surrounded by volcanos with crooked docks built into the mist of the mountains. When I researched where to go and which town to stay in, looking at both popular hotels and hostels, I was met with a little confusion. This is not really a place to party. There is no BIG tourist attraction. Lake Atitlan seemed to be more of a place to enjoy the view and chill. So the new question became, where to chill? Hostel? Hotel? Rental? Town? There are 15 towns, each special in its own way, but which one was best? My heart led me to a place called San Marcos la Laguna, and I have no regrets with my choice.
Why San Marcos la Laguna…
San Marcos is a town built into the shore and mountain side of Lake Atitlan, about a 40 minute boat ride from Panajachel. There are very few drivable roads in San Marcos. The majority of the town is traversed via small dirt paths .The little paths have their own street signs pointing in the direction of a variety of establishments in town. I cannot stress enough how eco-friendly this particular location is. Talk about sustainable tourism. San Marco’s is also one of the most new age places I have ever been, so when you visit be prepared for hippies. The town is stocked with yoga studios and meditation centers preaching new age ideals. The town also has a few fabulous restaurants, coffee shops and an amazing karaoke bar. Just bring a flash light and proceed with caution. Petty crime is a thing here, and there are limited lights on your way home.
Once I decided to stay in San Marco’s for its chilled vibe, I had to find the perfect place to stay. When I first saw Lush Atitlan Hotel, I knew for sure that this was my place. It was just too unique to pass up. Offering stunning rooms, amazing views, and cloud like beds…plus who doesn’t want to shower in a cave.
The best and most common method used to travel to Lush Atitlan is via boat from Panajachel. Most of the tourist shuttles run by INGUAT (the tourist board) arrive at Lake Atitlan via Panajachel. This community is very well accustomed to helping tourists navigate their way to the different cities around the lake. What I am trying to say is, as soon as your shuttle arrives in Panajachel you will be directed to a ferry boat which will drop you off at your desired location.
To get to Lush Atitlan which is situated in the town of San Marcos la Laguna, all you need to do is tell your ferry boat driver that you are going to San Marcos and he will let you know when you arrive. Upon arrival in San Marcos, Lush is simply a two minute walk down a small dirt path. Dirt paths are the way of the world here in San Marcos. These small little walking paths are the main method of navigation between streets, stores, and hotels. The signs for Lush are easy to see. As soon as you walk off the dock you will see the signs and be pointed in the direction of the hotel only 2 minutes away.
If you have a bigger budget, Lush Atitlan will arrange a private taxi from the town of San Marcos to the airport and vice versa. For around $100USD a driver will pick you up at any hour, walk you to your car in the middle of town (the only road) where he will drive you to your desired destination. This can take a little longer because the roads are not great, but if you have a morning flight, it works!
They are beautiful, just beautiful. Lush Atitlan (link) houses some of the most unique rooms I have seen in my traveling days. Each apartment is distinctive and different from the rest. The rooms at Lush are nothing short of desirable. They provide remarkable views of Lake Atitlan and its surrounding volcanos. They are filled with exclusive, specially designed Guatemalan furniture and art. Utilizing the enviroment some of them are even built into the actual side of the mountain.
Pescado was the name of the room I stayed in. After climbing 30 steps to reach the apartment, I opened the door to see what looked like the most comfortable cloud-like bed facing a floor to ceiling window generating the perfect view of Volcano Fuego in the distance. What a treat. There were 2 wooden chairs facing the windows which opened up fully…making it the perfect place to chill. The bathroom was literally built into the side of the mountain, using the mountain rock to make the far wall and seat of the shower. How cool.
Following our own private stair case upwards I was treated to a fabulous surprise. A full kitchen in the open air equipped with everything I could possibly need. I can see why this place is available for long term rentals. There was a fireplace, a couch, blankets, and a little table with once again, an amazing view available to enjoy.
At Lush, every room is so special with each providing an exceptional view, crazy cool furniture, and truly comfortable beds. Lush is luxury at Lake Atitlan…and also highly instagrammable.
My time at Lush was nothing short of outstanding and relaxing. The hotel gives off a very spa like atmosphere due to the impeccable decor and style of the rooms, the patio, and the outdoor gardens. The paths that connect the apartments to all other areas of the hotel felt like something of a magical secret garden, with bright flowers and greenery throughout. The staff were extremely welcoming and helpful, giving wonderful recommendations for food and drink in town. The rooms, as I have said before were absolutely phenomenal and unique. Many of them boasted their own kitchen and coffee maker, because occasionally a home cooked meal can be the best thing in the world. The hotel offered a continental breakfast of bread, jam (made by the owner), fresh fruits, and coffee and tea. If I were to head back to Lake Atitlan, I would not hesitate a return trip to Lush. In fact, I hope to arrange one in the near future!
Lush was kind enough to host me in exchange for an honest review.