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Introducing San Marcos La Laguna

Without doubt the prettiest of the lakeside villages, San Marcos La Laguna lives a double life. The mostly Maya community occupies the higher ground, while expats and visitors cover a flat jungly patch toward the shoreline with paths snaking through banana, coffee and avocado trees. The two converge under the spreading matapalo (strangler fig) tree of the delightful central plaza.

San Marcos has become a magnet for global seekers, who believe the place has a spiritual energy that's conducive to learning and practicing meditation, holistic therapies, massage, reiki and other spiritually oriented activities. Whatever you're into, it's a great spot to kick back and distance the everyday world for a spell. Lago de Atitlán is beautiful and clean here, and you can swim off the rocks. Boats put in at a central dock below Posada Schumann. The path leading from there to the village center, and a parallel one about 100m west, are the main axes for most visitors.

There's a community information board in front of the San Marcos Holistic Center with postings on events and housing options. Get online at Prolink, across from the Paco Real hotel.

Tikonem, an initiative to support the local Escuela Los Caracoles, has a few shelves of fiction in English, Spanish and other languages, plus muffins and cookies.