Searching for Zen in San Marcos
Chicken buses, chicken buses an more chicken buses – that’s what it took to get from our Xela/Chimal adventure to Lake Atitlán. We left the Chimaltenango market and headed to Los Enquentros where we jumped off one and got on another to Sololá. It took one more bus change to get us to the ferry terminal – I think we had ridden 6 chicken buses in one day! Thankfully the last mode of transport for the day was a boat to the small town of San Marcos. For a small fee of 25Q we had loaded our bags and we were underway within minutes!
San Marcos is often described as a very, quiet hippie town on the edge of Lake Atitlán where masters of Zen go to chill out, meditate, smash some yoga and sometimes escape from their real lives. It’s is one of those places where you will go with the intention for staying a few days, pick up a volunteer position at a hostel and not be heard of by your family and friends for months and months. After moving from town to town every day or two for the past few weeks I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was to be able to stay in one place, even if it was just for 3 nights!
Penelope and I stayed at Hostel del Lago which was smack bang on the water and had amazing food at pretty cheap prices. There’s also a shame-free karaoke night which if anything, is extremely entertaining! I also indulged in a little morning meditation as the sun rose – not something I’m usually into but I must admit it was a really productive way to start the day.
After becoming one with the world, it was time to find the cliff jump that everyone was talking about. Despite a few wrong turns we found it and paid the 15Q fee to get in. It’s actually a timber platform built out from the cliff so you’re not going to be jumping on any rocks – unless you’re really, really special. It’s about 8-10m depending on the water level and attracts quite a crowd, you’ll be lucky if you catch a few of the locals doing flips and diving headfirst – or wimping out time after time!
I honestly could have stayed here for days and days. It was so relaxing and was a perfect place to catch up on the backlog of post writing, photo sorting and video editing I had accumulated throughout Honduras and El Salvador. The reason I didn’t stay any longer? I had a date with a big, fiery and steep volcano that I couldn’t put off any more – no more excuses of being sick, it was time to climb Volcano Acatenango!