Guatemala's premier New Age centre, the small village of SAN MARCOS LA LAGUNA, is about a two-hour walk from San Pedro La Laguna, or a twenty-minute ride in one of the regular pick-ups that bump along the road between the villages. The land close to the lakeshore – densely wooded with banana, mango, jocote and avocado trees – is where San Marcos's bohemian hotels and guesthouses have been sensitively established, while the Maya village is centred on higher ground away from the shore. Apart from a huge stone church, built to replace a colonial original destroyed in the 1976 earthquake, there are no real sights in the Maya village. If you continue uphill from the village following the river bed it's a short walk to Cambalacha, an arts project that teaches dance, music and theatre to local children; volunteers are always welcome and shows are also performed.
San Marcos has a decidedly tranquil appeal – there's little in the way of partying and no bar scene at all. One of the main draws is the Las Pirámides yoga and meditation retreat, and there's a surplus of yoga teachers and masseurs, plus the requisite organic bakery and a healing centre (San Marcos Holistic Center and the Jazmin Flower House), which offers acupuncture, reflexology, massages, crystal therapy and natural remedies.
The village has a mesmerizing view of Atitlán's three volcanoes, including a perspective of the double-coned summit of Tolimán, plus glimpses of the grey 3975m peak of Acatenango, more than 50km to the east. There's excellent swimming from a number of wooden jetties by the lakeshore, kayaks can be rented from a cabin close to Aaculaax, and paragliding can be organized for US$65 a flight: contact Guy (Tel:5854 5365) at the Tul y Sol.