Take the curving Pan-American highway north-west out of Antigua, Guatemala for about two hours, and you’ll reach Lake Atitlan. Renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world it is Central America’s deepest lake. Ringed with magnificent volcano peaks, the lake bed is an enormous, breathtaking caldera. The volcanoes skirt down to the water, where lush greens transform into verdant coffee and avocado orchards.
On the northern edge of the lake, you’ll find VILLAS B’ALAM YA (Mayan for water jaguar) a cluster of 6 luxurious Villas perched on the hillside. The Villas are operated by the same owners as MESON PANZA VERDE HOTEL and the PALO SANTO HOTEL in Antigua and offer a similar aesthetic. After enjoying the energy and colors of Antigua, spending time here at the Lake is a wonderful retreat.
Finely appointed with original art and local treasures like their sister properties in Antigua, the B’Alam Ya Villas have luscious names like Mirador, Soluna, Bambu and Jade. I stayed in the Mirador Villa, which means “lookout” in Spanish.
My room had large clear windows overlooking the lake, with a open air terrace that beckons to be enjoyed for morning coffee. I was fascinated watching the weather move across the lake, beginning with sunrise then clouds rolling in as the afternoon progressed.
The grounds at B’Alam Ya are beautifully groomed with blooming flora and fauna everywhere. Down the by the lake is a private dock when you can board the lancha ferries for excursions to other villages on the lake. The Balam Ya Villa has it’s own private yoga deck where you can practice while the sun rises over the Lake.
If you’re adventurous to can take a tuk tuk into the nearby village of Panajachel for dinner, or if you prefer to stay in, you can have private chef come and prepare a meal for you.
ARTIST’S INSPIRATION at LAKE ATITLAN
Zipping across the deep blue waters of Lake Atitlan, where you’re surrounded by incredible volcano views is wonderful inspiration on it’s own. I chose to take a private ferry over to the artisan community of San Juan la Laguna, where I spent the day browsing handmade textiles in all the colors of the rainbow.
I was taken through the process of how the artisans make the dyes and color the cotton for their weavings. Shoulder bags, scarves, coverlets for beds of all sizes, pillow cases, table runners, and coasters – every piece is exquisite.
MURALS IN SUNNY SAN JUAN la LAGUNA
If you haven’t guessed yet - San Juan is special. The artisans in this tranquil and sunny village take great pride in their weaving and paintings. As you wander through the streets, you’ll see many murals depicting aspects of Tz'utujil life and legend.
I found my twin sister at San Juan too - I call her my mariposa mermaid and I make a point of visiting her every time I come here.
I felt “at home” from the moment I arrived at VILLAS B’ALAM YA and I know you will too. You can view booking details for a 6 Villas by clicking on the button below.
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HELLO FRIEND! I’m JENNA ERICKSON
Founder & Lead Travel Ambassador for OPEN AIR PLACES.
I have always enjoyed being near the water, and staying in a Villa overlooking Lake Atitlan was an incredible experience. I hope you can add this place to your list too!