It’s 730 at night here and dark as can be. Did you know the sun sets at 6 pm every single night here in guatemala? No matter the day or season, there will never be sunshine at 7pm. This was something I worried about when we first considered moving here. It makes the days so much shorter. Even if you rise an hour or two earlier (with the sun), its hard (for me at least) to stay motivated once the sun sets and the air chills. But regardless, now, we are so very happy we made this move to Guatemala.
We have now been in Guatemala for almost two weeks. And we are so happy here. Gosh I don’t even know what to say or write. There is just so much to tell. I plan on doing a post answering all the questions we’ve gotten recently. I think that’s the best place to start, right? Feel free to comment or message with any more questions you have!
You guys know that we were planning on originally driving. And then last-minute decided to fly. We don’t regret this, but we do wish we had a car here. Not for transport around town (it’s extremely walkable), but for possible road trip adventures in the future. With our last-minute change of plans, came a unknowing of how we would spend our first few weeks here in Guatemala. Originally we planned to drive into Antigua where we would make a home base, leave all our belongings, and adventure while settling.
We packed our luggage with “use now” items and “things we won’t need to unload until later” items. But even after minimizing our items, we still had a lot to carry (in my opinion). One idea had been to head straight to the lake before heading into Antigua. On one hand, this was completely and totally stupid because it’s not easy to navigate around the lake with more than one or two suitcases. On the other hand, this was brilliant, because the lake is absolutely stunning and we had never been and this pushed us right there off the plane.
It’s hard to describe the lake– even through photos. From the landscape, to the flora and fauna, to the mayan communities around it, there is so much magic. In a way, I feel like going to the lake first might have spoiled our Antigua experience a bit. The reality is that Antigua will always grow and become more international as the world gets smaller through technology, but Antigua feels so easy to us now. Exploring the lake (or the outside towns of the lake) gave us new experiences. I never imagined that we should show up at the lake and hear more Mayan language than Spanish. Actually, it felt almost exclusively mayan outside of our hotel. I loved it.
The lake was easy. It rained the first two or three days after we arrived but then the sun came through and stayed the rest of the trip for us. One of the reasons I wanted to move to Antigua was because almost every single building is open air and there are close to zero bugs. This was farrrrr from the case with the lake. I saw the biggest bugs I’ve ever seen in Guatemala (outside from a science show). We lived in a room with the biggest spiders I ever met (outside of the tarantulas in Culebra Puerto Rico). And I even saw a real life stick bug too! Hands down the coolest bug ever. And we saw a lot of other bugs that I’ve never seen or even heard of before. We told ourselves that we were camping and made the best out of all our new friends. Even Marlowe got used to showering with spiders and was fine with the experience.
The weather at the lake was/is almost identical to Antigua. Cold in the mornings and night, and hot hot hot in the midday sun. It’s hard to navigate the best choice of clothing when you start your day, but I’m loving and taking in every single second of not needing AC here in Guatemala.
There are tons (no idea how many) of private and public docks around the lake. There are also a few different paths you can explore in certain areas, near the dock trail and higher up into the mountains too. They are mostly uphill (until you come back downhill) and the landscape changes from one path to another. Tucked between all the wildlife there are the most gorgeous and often fairytale-like properties.
The pathways often looked like this.
But sometimes they looked like this.
Gosh I wish I knew what was behind that door….
We stayed at Villa Sumaya our first week. Not only were we spoiled by the lake, but also the food here. And they had a cat that we all agreed was the best cat ever. We totally wanted to steal her… but we also all agreed that stealing is no bueno, haha.
A friend recently told us that a bunch of the members from The Farm (a midwife hippie commune in the 70’s) had resettled in Guatemala as some point and that’s why there was so much yoga and spirituality sessions on the lake. My mind was blown by this. And you better believe that as soon as I have a free minute to waste on the internet I’m diving into a giant crunchy click hole to learn more about this info.
That being said, I had a private yoga session with Eran at the hotel. He was amazing and super kind and offered to do a mini class with Marlowe when he found out she was into yoga. I was sore for two days after, but he was awesome. He’s actually hosting an ayurvedic yoga retreat this December if you guys are interested in joining!
So many beautiful little details.
I wish I slept easy like her. Oh to be a blissful kid, right?
We worked for our meals at the hotel. Literally. We worked hard, played hard, explored hard, we did everything intensely before the sun set at 6pm everyday.
People ask me over and over, “why Guatemala?” and this is why. You can walk half a mile and be tucked between endless banana trees, another half a mile and find yourself in a pine forest, another half a mile and find yourself in small a mayan village, and another half a mile and be between hundreds of amazing and talented Guatemalan artisans. There is so much richness here. There is so much to discover and find. I’m grateful to be exploring it.
She hated the boats at the beginning of the trip. But she was loving it by the end. Well, mostly. She never loved it when it got super bumpy at the end of the day. (But neither did I). She broke down once during our stay on Lake Atitlan. One late night, after an exhausting day, she broke down crying about Jerry. By the morning she was fine. We will be seeing him in almost exactly one month. And we are all grateful to see our old man pup again. Outside of that, Marlowe has been eating well and she’s almost exclusively in a good mood. We are all more active than ever. And I’m grateful to expose her to so much more than she would ever experience in the states.
I have so much more to show you guys. I have so much more I want to tell you, but I’m having a hard time picking a place to start. After a little more than a week, we left the lake. We decided to head back east towards Antigua. There are things that I enjoy more about the lake and there are things that I enjoy more about Antigua (no bugs and no boat required to live here). But I’m happy we decided to make our way back to Antigua (for now). We can now drop our luggage and not have to worry about packing up for at least a little while.
Overall, I find myself thinking, how will I ever settle after this? Honestly, I have a constant fear of death in my everyday life. I’ve always had it, but especially after getting sick. Everyday I’m grasping for more. I want to see it all, hear it all, learn it all, and enjoy it all. I want to fully live every bit of this life. I have this feeling that all of this beauty and all of this joy might just leave me asking for more. Whether that a good or bad thing, I’m not sure.
Either way, I’m happy— really happy.