As soon as we arrived at Baraka Atitlán, I felt as though we'd stumbled across something special. It was though my boyfriend and I had escaped to our own private treehouse on a lush green hillside overlooking Lake Atitlán. Each morning, we I sipped our fresh coffee on the balcony, watching the first lanchas of the day cruise across the still waters of the lake. It was the kind of place that made us switch our phones to airplane mode and forget about everything but the present.
When deciding where to stay at Lake Atitlan, we read about all the different villages surrounding the lake and ultimately settled on San Marcos La Laguna. It wasn't too far from Panajachel, the jumping off point of our explorations, and has a reputation for attracting hipsters and hippies. Rather than book a room at one of the local backpackers or lodges closer to town, Baraka ultimately gave us some flexibility with regards to cooking and eating out because of its location within walking distance to town.
Before we arrived, our host Greg introduced us to JB, the property manager and Gaspar, our on-site contact. Gaspar met us at the Hotel Silani dock when the ferry boat pulled up and showed us up the hill to the property. He also stays on the premises, but, we rarely saw him.
The biggest highlight of staying at Baraka was the jaw-dropping view. The whole place smelled of fresh cut wood and sawdust, which lended even more merit to my treehouse fantasy. The floor to ceiling windows opened fully, providing a stunning view of the lake.
The bedroom and bathroom were located behind colorful curtains and simply decorated and located towards the rear of the cottage.
Baraka would not the right choice for those with mobility issues or families with young children. We also saw spiders, mosquitos, and I (accidentally) touched my first scorpion. This is the forest of the Guatemalan Highlands, after all.
After visiting a small market and shop in town, we had enough materials to cook a few of our meals, taking full advantage of the well-equipped kitchen and the large dining nook and table. We also ate on the balcony.
It was an easy walk to town to dine (or shop for groceries) in the center of San Marcos La Laguna.
Further afield, the hills of the roadways were a bit more intense. Tuk-tuks passed frequently, offering their assistance.
If you walk down to the San Marcos La Laguna ferry dock, you can take a lancha to nearby towns like San Pedro La Laguna or go a little further afield to Santiago Atitlán.
You can also take a tuk tuk to smaller villages like San Juan La Laguna and Tzununa.
The path and garden area leading down to the shoreline at Baraka is currently under renovation, but we didn't let that stop us from enjoying the direct lake access. The neighbor's dock was the perfect jumping off point.
There were also some adorable cats living on the property, which provided some entertainment.
Couples and solo travelers
Baraka Atitlán is accessible by lancha (ferry) from Panajachel (approx. 20 Quetzales per person) and San Pedro La Laguna. Ask the captain to drop you off at the Hotel Silani dock ("muelle Hotel Silani") and they will know what you mean. San Marcos La Laguna is the stop after Silani if you're coming from Panajachel and the stop prior if you're coming from San Pedro La Laguna.