Festival Atitlán

The Festival Atitlán returns for its 9th year, once again celebrating springtime with music, dance, theatre, graphic art displays and workshops, plus a great kid section, and a promise of a beautiful day with family and friends outdoors on the shores of Lake Atitlán. As is the custom, the proceeds are donated to a local good works project. In the […]

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The Blooming of Lake Atitlán

Lake Atitlán by (photo by Harris & Goller)

Panajachel unites and digs with defiance In The Green Felt Jungle, the story is told of a dapper man in pinstripes who rides a Cadillac into Las Vegas one night, seeking the neonized excitement of that gilded city. But he finds little more than a dreary gas station. “Where is Las Vegas?” he asks the Navajo attendant. “Right here,” is […]

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Cloud Nine: The Tzantizotz Nature Reserve, Guatemala

The swirling mist dusts Volcán San Pedro in a muted dove gray, catching dawn’s sunrays and washing it in an ethereal glow. The steely-mirrored waters of Lake Atitlán are quiet, rippled only by the wake of a distant boat that slides across its surface. The air is still, cool and refreshing. This awe-inspiring view is the reason that Lake Atitlán is undisputedly one of the world’s most beautiful lakes. It is here, in the moment and in the quiet that one can touch the magnificence of God’s creation.

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Would the Real Independence Day Please Stand Up?

Guatemala, El Salvador and their sisters did not win independence on Sept. 15 At our house in Panajachel, July 4 is Independence Day for two reasons. As citizens of the United States, my sons and I observe it in some fashion. But July 4 is also the day that my youngest, Aaron Donald Coop, marks his birthday. This was not […]

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Requisition-less Water

(l-r) Nutritionist, María Esmeralda Arriaga; Atitlán Rotary President, Fredy Lara; medical chief, Dr. Irene Quiejú; administrator, Victor García

Highland hospital slakes its thirst and reduces its paperwork—a need, discovered by accident, is met General Jack Ripper, the villain in Dr. Strangelove, uttered a single true statement during his long paranoiac rant. To Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, his hapless audience, Ripper rhetorically asked, “Did you know that 70 percent of you is water, Mandrake?” Consequently, the “purity of our […]

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Robert Hinshaw

Given his age, 75, you’d think anthropologist Robert Hinshaw would want to settle back with one of those Scandanavian vodkas he occasionally enjoys and retire to his Colorado mountain retreat. Instead, he wants to make a difference in this world, as “payback” for all he’s received. He explains: “Gilbert White, the late geographer and a great mentor, laid this challenge […]

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6 Sky

6 Sky Art Exhibit

The Legacy of Mesoamerican Astronomical Knowledge Art Exhibit: July 22-28, The Galería, Panajachel, Lake Atitlán Astronomy, mythology, the calendar and the spirit world were all of extreme importance to the ancient Mesoamericans. Artist-scholar Dave Schaefer renders these themes in multiple sets of dimensions this month in Panajachel, Lake Atitlán. Some of his images are realized with acrylic on canvas; others […]

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Anonymous donor makes big pledge to support Hospitalito Atitlán

Since the devastating mudslides of 2005, a small hospital in Santiago Atitlán has been struggling to serve the community. In the four years since Hospitalito Atitlán opened, it has filled a great need with a 24-hour emergency room, X-ray, lab and clinics. The hospital board has been hard at work to build a new, permanent hospital, which is slowly taking […]

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My 101 First Cousins-in-law

Marrying into a large family brings unannounced house guests and some new vocabulary. Since my Guatemalan wife had 10 siblings, I have enough in-laws to populate a middle-sized Dallas suburb. I am forever meeting “new” members of the González-Boch clan for the first time. And I was not that good at recalling names even before ADD and premature senility made […]

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Ursula Baumann

Art Exhibit and Auction, Thurs., May 14, 7 pm. Theatre El Chapiteau, Panajachel, Lake Atitlán A host of Guatemalans, including four-footed ones, are glad that Ursula Baumann changed continents and careers in 1998. She had been an able but often bored hotel manager in her native Switzerland. For decades she dreamt of making her avocation, painting, into a career. After […]

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Semana Santa on the Lake: San Pedro La Laguna

Offerings of fruit adorn the gateways through which the processions pass. (photo: Victoria Stone)

written by Ana Flinder Semana Santa is undoubtedly the most festive week of the year in Guatemala, celebrated with the most pomp and grandeur in La Antigua, and with deeply traditional ceremonies and indigenous style in Santiago Atitlán. Both of these destinations require advanced bookings for lodging but are not the only places to experience a Guatemalan Semana Santa. San Pedro […]

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Semana Santa on the Lake: Santiago Atitlán

The men’s traje of Santiago features rows and rows  of hand-embroidered birds. (photo: Victoria Stone)

written by Ana Flinder Those of you who have your place to stay in La Antigua Guatemala for Semana Santa are sure to enjoy what is known as the second-biggest and most spectacular Semana Santa celebration in the world. (Second only to Sevilla, Spain, so they say.) And you know who you are. Because they also say that if you […]

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Nurse Pain is At Large in Panajachel

Scene from last year’s production, “Hippies, Housewives and Cactus” with actors Kathy Martin, Anna Omps and David Raney    (photo: Bryan King)

The Panajachel Players bring mirth, music, farce and Vaudeville to Lake Atitlán. If you are Dr. Willard Dillard, the sobriety-challenged President of the Herbaceous Succulent Society, it may be hard to cast someone to play you in a skit. After Dillard emerged from the recesses of Barbara Ramey’s gauche imagination, the man tapped to play him decided he was no […]

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The Festival of Consciousness 2009

Written by María Elisa Murray Presenting new solutions for a better world What does it mean to be conscious? How conscious are we in our lives? How can we become more conscious as individuals, as a community, as a planet? To answer these questions and more, the inaugural Festival of Consciousness will be held in San Marcos La Laguna on […]

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La Cambalacha Youth Art Initiative

Gabriela (Gabi to her students) leading a dance exercise

Text and photos by Jennifer Block Restoring creative expression through direct action, Gabriela Cordón aims to transform Guatemala’s educational system via her youth arts initiative. You’d be forgiven for thinking La Cambalacha is just another summer camp for kids. The place spills forth with color and laughter. On stage, a group of children practice a clown routine; another group makes […]

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Bruce Barclay

Bruce Barclay Portrait

Humanitarian, entrepreneur, and one of the founders of Modern Panajachel Bruce Barclay, founder of a worker’s paradise in Panajachel, has died. The New Yorker of Jewish heritage was 60. After arriving in Panajachel in 1978, Barclay had a vision for the east bank of the San Francisco River, which bisects Panajachel. He purchased the upper riverside and created a magnet […]

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Just call me Indio

Francisco Quiej calls himself “Indio” by DWC

One of Panajachel’s most colorful and asked-about personages, tourists and locals know him as a master craftsman who sells his own handiwork. Self-promoter, religious huckster, iconoclast, “loco”—Francisco Quiej has been called all these things; none is anywhere near the truth. “Indio” is what he calls himself, even though his fellow Mayas consider the term an insult. This renaming took place […]

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