Guatemala has a spiritual and cultural richness that’s hard to explain. There’s something about the country’s landscape— its misty mountain peaks and lush jungles— that draws you in and captivates you from the moment you descend into Guatemala City. This enchantment is only furthered as you make your way into the highlands toward Guatemala’s crown jewel: the natural wonder that is Lake Atitlán. Three active volcanoes tower over this sapphireblue expanse of water, which is framed by charming Mayan villages and hillside hippie enclaves. It’s a place where people look to shamans for spiritual guidance and children grow up respecting the xocomil, a wind that blows in to churn up the lake each afternoon and, according to legend, takes with it the sins of the villagers.
Lake Atitlán is also home to one of the most beautiful boutique hotels in Central America, Casa Palopó. This Relais & Châteaux property (the only one of its kind in Guatemala), perched in the bucolic hills outside the tiny town of Santa Catarina Palopó, provides guests with incredible service, gourmet food, an on-site helipad, and a magnificent view of the lake and volcanoes. Whether you choose one of the seven rooms in the Casa’s main building or the property’s separate two-room villa, you’ll find the hotel is the perfect base from which to explore the area.
Spend your days boating, hiking or touring the coffee fields of nearby San Pedro on horseback, and your evenings watching the sun set from the terrace of 6.8 Palopó, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant. Casa Palopó can also arrange spa treatments, market tours and even traditional shamanic blessing ceremonies during your stay.
Learn more about Guatemala at weddingbells.ca/guatemala
—Jen O’Brien Clockwise from top left: