I’ve seen so many comments and messages with questions like, “How far is the island?” Or “Will you need to buy a boat to get to your island?” Or statements about our “island” in general. No one has specifically asked if we are on an island, but it seems a lot of people assume that we are. Given that the property is more or less only accessible by boat (depending on how adventurous you might want to get on a jungle/forest hike), it’s not totally surprising to hear this. So, is Paloma Sol an island? Or on an island?

No, not at all! Not even close 🙂

We are connected to mainland Guatemala. We’re located about three hours north of the pacific coast. And about 5,500 feet up into the highlands. The front part of the property is on water. This is the accessible part. This is more or less how we will get to and from our property on a regular basis. We’ll need a boat to get to the main town across the bay or a boat to get us to any of the other small Mayan towns and villages along the lake. 

So if we’re not on an island, then why is our property only accessible by boat? I mean—there is a walking trail if you want to hike from our property to the road. But this hike is through cornfields and other farm plots and up and down hills and woods. It would take maybe an hour or so to hike on a small trail to a small road and village. And much longer to get to a town with a store, grocery, bank, anything.

And directly behind our property? Opposite of the lake? Well, Paloma Sol is nestled at the base of a volcano. A mighty big volcano. We do share the volcano with another bigger town—- but the volcano stands between us and this town. So this town too— would only be accessible by boat for us. We’d have to get in a boat and drive it, following the water’s edge, to get to the other town. 

As Lake Atitlan becomes more developed, there have been more roads built to some of the more secluded and not easily reached town, but for the most part, these roads are pretty rough, steep, curvy, dirty, and often times were known for not being the safest place to be. Because of the roughness of these roads— it’s actually much quicker to get in a boat/lancha to get across the lake. The lake isn’t even that big, but even still, it would take about 30-40 minutes end to end by boat— and maybe a two-hour drive by car. Crazy right? 

Is this all confusing? Or can you picture it? Haha. I had such a tough time visualizing the lake until I saw it in person for myself. Our property has water on the front end and a massive volcano behind the back. No roads. There is zero way to get a car there. Just a small, and fun walking path to access other locations, properties, whatever 😉
If you find Santiago on the map— and the one lonely volcano across the bay from it– we’re over there 🙂 As you can see the road goes along the backside of the volcano but not on the other side. We’re between the volcano and the water 🙂 (image source)

Have you guys seen the show Alone? Where they dump people out in some wild terrain and they have to survive as long as they can? The contestants talk about the moment where they get dropped off and the boat leaves them there for an indefinite amount of time. They all have this, “oh sh*t” moment knowing they have to figure out the rest alone. We’re certainly anticipating that when we arrive and are left there with all our things and limited access out (we don’t have our own boat yet). But hey, what is life if you’re not living it right? 

Us and our non-island island. Adventure here we come.

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