“LAKE COMO, it seems to me, touches the limit of the permissibly picturesque, but Atitlan is Como with the additional embellishment of several immense volcanoes. It is really too much of a good thing.” So wrote Aldous Huxley in his travel journal Beyond the Mexique Bay–and that was way before he experimented with mescaline.
I have to agree with Huxley. I was already taken by Conceptión Volcano on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua and the three volcanoes at Lake Atitlán didn’t have a lesser effect. That combination with the serenity of Lake Atitlán is difficult to match.
I visited most of the towns around Lake Atitlán by one of the small and fast public boats which frequent the lake. I guess the rich like to come to Lake Atitlán too, as you can see a lot of beautiful villas along the shore, and our neighbors took off and arrived by helicopter. Each town has its own charm. I liked San Juan, San Marcos and Panajachel the most. If I’d come for a holiday, I’d have stayed in San Marcos and attended one of the yoga retreats there, while doing trips to the other towns.
Back in León, Nicaragua, someone had told me about paragliding at Lake Atitlán and got me interested in trying it. As a child I used to climb on the roof of our house and was basically fearless in regards to heights, but over the years I developed a bit of a phobia, which I noticed on occasions like when climbing a historic tower in Split, Croatia. Nomad life forces you to adapt to different situations and belief in yourself and that’s why I guess I got the courage to convince myself to do a tandem paragliding flight, which was an amazing experience. It made me think how fear often stops you from doing something and the only way of overcoming that fear is by actually doing it. I made a resolution after the flight to never stop challenging myself.
Read more about Lake Atitlán and our stay there in the post The downsides of nomad life.