Another early bus ride, although slightly less adventurous, brought us from Chichicastanengo to the area of Lake Atitlan and Panajachel. I really only have one word to describe it…….GORGEOUS! Our first view of Lake Atitlan was at an overlook where we stopped for a few quick photo opportunities! The view was amazing! And talking about amazing, we stayed at a beautiful resort right on the lake with views of two magnificent volcanoes! And as you’ll be able to tell by looking at the photos, the grounds were gorgeous and I couldn’t help but to stop and “smell the roses” (oops, I mean photograph them). There wasn’t anything about Hotel Atitlan that wasn’t perfect. The grounds, the rooms, the views, the food at the restaurant, the pool & infinity hot tub. But, as much as we all wanted to take the afternoon off, we had to again board the bus down to the main dock to board a boat to cross Lake Atitlan. 1.5 hours later we were across the lake and unloading in Santiago to visit Hospitalito Atitlan. A large focus of our project in Guatemala was donating a substantial amount of medical equipment to two hospitals. Hopitalito Atitlan was one of the recipients of our medical gifts. We were able to meet members of the hospital staff, deliver some smaller items we brought along with us, take a tour of their facility and have a wonderful lunch with some of the Drs. and staff. The hospital now has the much needed equipment to meet the needs of the local people.
After a quick goodbye to our new Oklahoma City friends and exchange of the Rotary Flags, it was time to head out to a presentation put on by the local weaving cooperative. We had the opportunity to see how the traditional Mayan weaving is done and to view some of the beautiful textiles that the local women made. Again, we helped their economy by making a few purchases. After a quick dinner in Panajachel we headed back to the hotel.
The next day was relatively a free day, although we did head across the lake to visit two of the villages. We divided our team in half for the first stop, either San Juan where there were more textile demonstrations or San Pedro where we enjoyed a local coffee shop and learned of the coffee process. Yeah for a good latte!!! We also stopped at a Shaman’s home and learned of his altar and religious ways. Next we went to the “Mayors” home and let me tell you, this man was a character. You’ll know him when you see him in the photos. Many of us purchased some of his carvings and he sang for us. The next stop was with the entire group back in Santiago. We toured yet another church, a local market and did a little browsing (and shopping). I loved seeing the local markets!
We were able to enjoy a few hours back at the hotel before a wonderful dinner at the hotel. We also surprised Kirk with a birthday cheesecake! Happy Birthday Kirk, thank you for sharing your special day with all your new friends!
Enjoy part two of our trip!
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