María’s Cooking

IMG_20170727_112312When I think of traditional Guatemalan cooking, many flavors, colors, smells and textures come to my mind.  The mouth watering “recados” and the delicious “tortillas”.…mmm….I’m getting hungry already!!

María loves to cook, she lives in Santa Cruz la Laguna with her two daughters. She has been working in the Vacation Rental field for years now, she cooks for visitors from all over the world in the different vacation houses around Lake Atitlan.

I had heard nothing but good comments about her food, so I was ecstatic when she invited me to help her cook one day for guests staying at Villa Pamakanya in Jaibalito.

We met at Panajachel’s produce market, which is the market you want to go to if you want to get fresh and varied vegetables, fruits, grains, etc.

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After the market, we went to Pamakanyá. Pascual, the caretaker of the house, was there waiting for us to arrive and help us with the shopping bags. In the picture, you can see the Willards, a wonderful family of three children…two sweet and friendly girls and one very curious boy.  They were staying at the house at that time, they were the lucky ones having dinner made by María that night.


It was time to start cooking!! María is so skillful that first she cooked a delicious chicken broth (for us to have for lunch) and then she made dinner for the family that was staying at the house.

Pascual, the house caretaker, and I were María’s helpers, we were slicing and chopping away helping María do her magic in the kitchen; all this while our guests were enjoying the beach, the views and the sun in the private pier.


After about two hours of cooking, cleaning, joking….dinner was ready and guests were eager to taste what smelled so good in the kitchen.  María left everything prepared for them to eat when they were hungry.


It was a wonderful morning spent with María and Pascual, cooking and chatting with them helped me get to know them better, also get a first taste of the services we offer to the visitors that trust us to help them organize their vacations, and… I even picked up a few cooking tips!!

So when you are around Lake Atitlan, and want some delicious traditional Guatemalan food made right at the house you are staying, you know who to call!!

To contact María, leave your information here.



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María’s Cooking

Butterfly Sanctuary

Are you at Panajachel or planning to come, wondering what else is there to do here other than shopping and eating out?…..If so, you can’t miss this article!!!

BH welcome signNature Reserve Atitlan | Butterfly House

Panajachel, Sololá

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The Nature Reserve Atitlan is definitely an amazing option for children, teenagers and adults.  It’s located in Antigua Finca San Buenaventura, Panajachel (really close to the main entrance of downtown Panajachel).  

When I first moved to Panajachel, I started searching for fun things to do with my three children, this is how I knew about the Nature Reserve.  It is definitely an amazing park to spend the day!!

This is a great place to walk into nature, but not in the wild.  You can visit the butterfly house, eat at the restaurant, walk through hanging bridges, see spider monkeys, try the extreme and ultra extreme zip lines, and stay at the eco hotel situated inside the reserve and visit the private beach where you can take a swim.

Let’s take a tour into this amazing place!!

I first visited  with my children, my cousin and some friends. Right at the entrance, we saw signs announcing everything we were able to enjoy in the Reserve. 

BH entrance

We didn’t know where to start, there were so many options!!!  After a chat, we all decided to walk along the trails into the mountain. We found lots of picturesque spots where we filled our senses with textures, smells and sights that you don’t often see in an urban area.

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There were lots of signs letting us know where we were and others with general information about the place. 

BH signs

After a long walk into the mountain, and a couple of stops to rest…we finally reached the geodome. The butterflies were flying all around the visitors….seems they were greeting us…

There were so many butterflies !!  

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I got to wonder how they got so many butterflies…but my questions were answered soon enough.  First, of course, love in nature…

BH nature love

Then, we saw the laboratory that’s next to the geodome.  This is where they foster caterpillars to grow and reproduce.  The oversee the whole metamorphosis process. Visitors can adopt a chrysalid for Q75, it will be given to you in a container so you can take it to your garden and watch all the process of its metamorphosys. 

BH caterpillars

After hiking,  visiting the geodome and the laboratory, we were all pretty tired….but we weren’t ready to leave yet.  We went to a green area next to the parking lot where there are some swings made with recycled materials

BH swings

…And there were also ziplines with seats made of recycled tires, designed for any visitor to use free of charge.

BH line swings

What I loved about the visit was the opportunity to walk into nature, knowing that it’s safe for my children and visiting the butterfly house.  Walking among so many butterflies was an awesome experience!!

Next time we visit, we’re trying the zip lines for sure!!  

Have you visited this place before? How was your experience?  Please send us a picture!!

P.D:  This is too amazing not to post….these are photographs of butterfly wings!!!

BH nature ABC

If you would like to know more about the Nature Reserve, you can go to these links:

If you want to contact us, Send us a message!!


Healing through Massage

Massage therapy“How about a professional massage? Sound enjoyable doesn’t it?” 

This is what Alba said when she came into the office. She offered to give me a neuro-lumbar massage, with acupressure and reflexology therapy. I didn’t know what she was talking about, but she seemed like a very balanced cheerful and soothing person with a tender soul. I trusted her immediately, so of course her offer was accepted right away.

She has been a professional massage therapist is for over 12 years and started because she has always liked to help sick people recover, so she got help from her husband and decided to learn the neuro-lumbar or neurolymphatic techniques as well as acupressure and reflexology.

She also makes almond, macadamia and peanut butter as well as granola.  This is definitely a woman that takes health matters into her own hands….. literally.

The search for potential places to do the massage began.  I needed a place that was private, clean, quiet and somewhere that had a homelike sense because…you know…a massage is very personal and intimate.  So, after a long search in the Panajachel area,  I finally found the perfect spot.  Posada Los Encuentros, (a cozy, very interesting inn at Panajachel) where there is a very private, fresh and spacious massage room.

 When we got to Posada Los Encuentros, we found that Richard,  the owner of this amazing place, had prepared the room for us with water, towels, blankets and eucalyptus to scent and clean the air. He was very helpful and friendly, as always.  

To get to the massage room, you first go through the herbal garden and many works of local and foreign art.

Besides the massage room, there’s a soak hot tub where you can sit and let the warm water relax your body and disconnect from the outside world. As you can see from the picture below, it’s a secluded space, and even though it’s an open area, it’s protected from weather changes. Or…and….you can use the sauna…filled with eucalyptus and a comfortable space for you to enjoy and cleanse your body.  This sauna is located near the herbal garden at the Posada. 

Richard has been around Panajachel for more than 20 years, he and the people at the Posada are very friendly. You can find very interesting art all around,  on the walls, on common spaces, which makes this place even more interesting and difficult to leave!! Here’s an example:

You can find more information about them in this link: Posada Los Encuentros

It was time for the massage.  Yes, I was nervous, but at the same time just wanted to give myself in, enjoy and relax for the next hour and a half.

Acupressure is about pressing life energy spots that lie along meridians or channels in your body, and this can help with stress-related ailments. This fosters preventive health care by boosting your immune system.  When these points are pressed they release muscular tension, promote blood circulation, and help balance the energy in our body.

Reflexology is about applying pressure to specific points on feet, hands or ears that are connected to different body organs and systems giving a benefit to these areas.

Alba told me this massage was a cleansing one.  She even worked with my face and hair!! My body felt lighter and without the ache in my upper back that I’m so used to in my everyday life….it’s gone!!! 

back massage

A massage is also about letting go, just giving in and not trying to control, just allowing another person to come into a very personal and intimate space.  You become literally naked and let another person examine what parts of your body need to heal, and give you the treatment you need.  It’s incredibly relieving!!

I’ll be forever grateful to every human that has dedicated to study the human body and how to heal it through moving and cleaning its energy by
massages and healthy eating.  I’m particularly  grateful to Alba, that takes it as her duty to help people heal, to care for others’ wellness and to spread positivity and health all over.

If you want more information about massages, you can check out these links:

What is Reflexology?

What is Acupressure?

Benefits of getting a massage

Spiritual benefits of massages

If you want to contact Alba Send us a message!!



Hike from Santa Cruz to San Marcos

A walk at the shore of Lake Atitlan


Lake Atitlan has been called one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Once you are here, you’ll definitely know the reason why. There’s an atmosphere of wellness, love for nature and harmony.  Once you fill your lungs with fresh air, and feast your eyes with its stunning colorful sunsets, you’ll be in awe, and will never want to leave!!

I am one of those that never left…one of my goals in life is to enjoy every bit of the lake as much as I can.  Going hiking is one amazing way to do so.  Here’s some information about my hiking day at the shore of Lake Atitlan.

The day started with gorgeous weather and great company.  Flavio the tour guide and I, met Kevin, Maureen, Emmett, Owen and Anja Speers who were staying at Casa Pamakanya in Jaibalito, as guests.  We were all in our most comfortable sports clothes, comfortable shoes, prepared with sun block, water, fruit, dried nuts and a hunger for nature!! You can see all of them in the picture bellow ready to hit the trail.

We started by taking a boat ride to Santa Cruz.  As soon as we got off the boat, we took a rustic wooden trail which is built along the shore of Santa Cruz, walking with the town to the right, and the lake to the left.  The wooden trail has been built by the waterfront owners to allow the people to walk along the shore line when the lake rises.  The weather was cool, and our spirits were ready to be amazed…the hike had started!!

We passed by restaurants and hotels where we could see many people just enjoying delicious food, warm sun and the beautiful lake.  Immediately, I was charmed by the hidden picturesque places along the trail, just sitting there waiting to be discovered by adventurous souls.

Next to Santa Cruz, there’s Jaibalito. This town is a rare combination of ancestral mayan lifestyle and the cosmopolitan influence of the community of foreigners that now call Jaibalito their home. Every Wednesday, they hold a “Gringo market” where you can find very interesting deals.

Flavio, wisely recommended a break at Jaibalito.  He treated us to apples and nuts (light and energetic food, perfect!!) We still had halfway to go.

On our way to Tzununá, we found pathways that were somewhat challenging…steep, rocky, under the midday sun…it was time for some serious hiking.  The kids in our group loved them!!

In Tzununá, we ran into a mother and her child who were collecting firewood for cooking. They go up the mountain and cut the wood themselves, bundle it together and carry it back home, as many of the native families have been doing it for generations.

As we were getting closer to San Marcos, we started seeing displays of art on the street.  the influence of travelers can be seen in the designs

Within San Marcos, the type of art displayed on the walls shows the personality of the town.  There are many people from all over the world who come to this mystical place to settle down, participate in spiritual, holistic activities or just come to enjoy one of the most interesting towns around the lake.

This is where our hike ended,  San Marcos is the last town of the hiking tour.  We got there just in time for lunch!! we saw many colourful and eye-catching restaurants, mostly vegetarian.  We decided to have lunch at Il Giardino, we enjoyed vegetarian pizzas and a veggie burger, it was delicious!!

So this was my experience taking the Santa Cruz to San Marcos hike. I’m definitely grateful to have had the opportunity to see the lake from completely different angles than I had before.  Even though the visit to these amazing places was very short, it was enough to perceive the different personalities each town has.

Even though they are so close together, they are significant differences in the lifestyle of their inhabitants,  the design of the houses, etc.

What amazed me the most, is the variety of nationalities and cultures that blend in and create a harmonic atmosphere which you can come and be a part of even if you are only visiting for a few days, or if you are planning to make Lake Atitlan your home, you can be sure you’ll be welcomed.









If you would like to know more about the tours we can set up for you, send us your information!!