When you ask Guatemalan locals to describe the little lakeside village of San Marcos, they all stumble over their words – hippies, yoga, weirdos, etc. The tiny town – with a population of about 2,200 – strives for a feel that can only be called mystical. It is decorated with colorful murals along its short promenade up from the ferry dock, many with spiritual themes and you do pass wellness centers, health food stores, massage centers and vegetarian restaurants. She certainly exudes tranquility.
Lake Atitlan has several small villages and towns, and San Marcos is one of the “must see” destinations everyone points tourists to. I’m glad I took the ferry, $3.35 each way, across the magnificent Lake Atitlan, with its three volcanos looming over the crater lake, still puffing at times.
I enjoy being on the water and would just go down and ride around happily, but stopping for lunch and a quick tour of San Marcos added to the boat ride. We passengers were tightly packed on the way over but could stretch out a bit on the return trip, and about ½ were indigenous women dressed in their beautiful native clothing. The woven skirts sport every color imaginable and the blouses are decorated with intricate embroidery.
We made several stops to load and unload passengers at other small villages and private docks before we stopped at San Marcos, so when we finally arrived it was to an inviting dockside restaurant, so, of course, I had lunch looking out over the water.
Next, it was time for a stroll through the passage to town, with a few vendors along the way, so I browsed among the jewelry but got away without dropping any more money on souvenirs – quite a feat.
At the top of the gently sloping hill, you get to the actual town, which isn’t much to look at, so I hailed a tuk tuk and toured the local offerings – it took 5 minutes to get to the very top of the town and look down at the lake.
There honestly isn’t much to the village of San Marcos, but it is a pleasant couple of hours to trip over, eat and wander through town for a bit. Highly recommended for travelers with time to spend this way.