The Village of Santiago de Atitlan

Santiago ChurchVisit the village of Santiago de Atitlan and get a glimpse of how the Tzutujil Maya live, almost oblivious to the fact that the Conquistadors arrived five centuries ago. Holidays and Saint's days are celebrated with processions accompanied by drums, incense, ancient rites, and costumes.

The Catholic Church, founded over four centuries ago, is not to be missed, and no trip to Santiago is complete without a visit to Maxi Mon (ma-shee-món), the smoking-and-drinking Mayan-Catholic deity. A local English-speaking guide offers an unforgettable cultural tour of the village, focusing on shamanism, explaining religion and customs along the way.

A tour of a nearby "beneficio de cafe," with an explanation of coffee growing and processing is available (Dec-Feb). Spanish classes can be scheduled and a bilingual instructor teaches weaving. Walk through the market or down Gallery Row where the many galleries specialize in primitive paintings, sculptured woodcarvings, and excellent local weavings produced on back-strap looms.

Smiling GirlSwimming, canoeing, hiking, diving, and bicycling are available. We rent mountain bikes and a canoe. Arrangements can be made for a guided horse back excursion to a nearby cloud forest. Guides can always be found for hikes up the volcanoes or to the bird reserve. For recreation, I personally recommend our lending library, the hammock in front of each room, and a drink. Don't forget your camera!

The Posada de Santiago is located 1.5 km from the municipal dock in Santiago Atitlan, where you will most likely be greeted by some of the most charming, yet rustic hawkers of weavings and sellers of peanuts in the country. We're on the lakeshore on the road to San Pedro.