Guatemala San Marcos La Laguna

Staying at Pasaj.cap we are about a Kilometer from the nearest town of San Marcos La Laguna.  The owner of the property has given us the phone number of a local Tuk Tuk driver Luiz who will come and pick us up at the edge of the property and take us into town. San Marcos is one of the 862prettiest towns that are on Lake Atitlan and our ride from Pasaj.cap is down a dirt path filled with sharp turns and steep inclines with occasional breathtaking glimpses of the lake.

San Marcos was founded in the 16th century as a pueblo under the administration of Solola.  The main road runs through the center of San Marcos, in town there is a small square or central plaza under spreading Ceiba trees with a couple of shops, a few street vendors, a middle school with a basketball court that is usually filled with kids playing.  There is a small church made of local fieldstone just south of the road which was built after the 1902 earthquake.  The town is split into two

IMG_2432 communities, the Maya community occupies the high ground north of the main road while expats and visitors stay mainly along the U shaped path south of the road that leads to the shoreline. The eastern path to the lake leads to the docks where you can catch a boat, launcha to nearby villages.  The path has an assortment of restaurants, an elementary school, a veggie stand and a couple of hotels that offer meditation, holistic therapies, massage, reiki  yoga, dream analysis, astral projections and other new-age philosophies and activities.  The largest of these centers Les Pyramids is next to the dock on the lakeside part of the path leading to the western path.  This area has become a gathering placefor those who believe that the place has spiritual energy.

The indigenous Mayan people, called Marquenses are mainly Kaqchuels in San Marcos, live north of the main road up a steep hill where they have their houses, mainly one room concrete block or field stone structures with a tin roof and a

IMG_1890 cement patio.  It is also north of the road where they primarily farm banana, corn, coffee and avocados.  It seems that all available land is used to grow some sort of crop from the very top of the caldera to the shoreline along the lake.

In the central square many of the local women of the town, dressed in traditional Mayan clothing, sell their vegetables and other products.  The styles and patternsof the clothing particular the colors are unique to each of the villages along the lake.  These patterns and colors wereimposed originally by the Spanish colonists to distinguish one village from another.  Thebasic elements of the traditional dress are the tocoyal (head covering), huipil (blouse), corte (skirt),  paz (belt), caites (sandals) and calzones (pants) worn by the men. Most of the fabrics are hand woven by women using a backstrap loom.

When exploring the towns around the lake San Marcos is our first and last stop before taking a Tuk Tuk back to Pasaj.cap.IMG_18911091

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