For those seeking a sanctuary to unwind and to immerse yourself in surreal beauty and mystical energy, Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort & Nature Reserve in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala will offer you this and more. The lodge is set lakeside and offers breathtaking views of Lake Atitlan and the surrounding volcanoes. Here you can watch the sun cast its morning glow over the area and watch it set, creating golden rimmed clouds that float around the volcanoes – you feel like you’re in another world. The design, sustainable focus and interior of Laguna Lodge adds to the experience. Mayan tradition and history blended with luxury also allows Laguna Lodge stand out as the place to stay to experience Lake Atitlan.
When I arrived at Laguna Lodge I had an induced feeling of contentment. I walked across the deck and up the stairs, which were strewn with delicate ivy with pale pink flowers. Different species of ivy and climbing plants covered the stone walls over the property and I felt like I was in a secret garden. My first impression of Laguna Lodge made me understand attention to detail was an integral part of making the lodge unique. Every corner and every wall had been considered to create this haven.
Mayan tradition is weaved throughout the entire property, giving you a feel of this ancient culture. The women staff are dressed in traditional attire, the walls are made from adobe blocks and clay produced at their Tsampoj organic gardens and lamp shades are made from locally produced corn paper.
I had the opportunity to stay in the Deluxe Suite, located directly behind the deck on the ground floor. Large sliding wooden doors opened out to a quaint garden filled with lounge chairs and tables for taking in the spectacular views. It was extremely private, with plants and a traditional fence made of kindling shielding the outside world, but still providing room to admire the scenery. Hand woven local wool blankets and cushions lay on the bed and Mayan artefacts dating back 1200A.D to 1000B.C adorn the wall. If you did not know a lot about Mayan culture and tradition, Laguna Lodge showcases carefully selected pieces and incorporates them into your stay perfectly.
Dining at Laguna Lodge is also an experience. Daytime offers grand views and at night ambience is created with light from the fireplace and small candles placed on the tables. A fixed vegetarian menu changes daily based on local produce sourced. Dishes are created using inspiration from traditional food from all over the world. I was totally in love with the grilled eggplant, squash and Swiss cheese tower with cilantro and garlic cream sauce and the delicately made Tiramisu. Laguna Lodge focuses on vegetarian cuisine due to the impact of livestock is having in climate change. This idea highlights the importance of sustainability at Laguna Lodge and is one of the many practices they have to support the environment and the local communities.
There are many ways to spend your time at the lodge. For the ultimate in relaxation, the Hummingbird Spa offers treatments and massages. The deck is perfect for sunbathing or taking a dip in the pools. The kayaks are a fantastic way to explore the lake or the Tzantizotz Nature Reserve has a hiking trail to enjoy the magnificent views. I did the hike and it is definitely steep and in the heat it can be strenuous, but the views are definitely worth it. You get views from all angles and there are hammocks and a viewing platform where you can relax and take it all in. I was so happy to arrive at the hammocks and spent a good half hour there taking pictures and chilling out.
My time at Laguna Lodge was divine. I can see why it has received many awards and why National Geographic Traveller has included it in the World’s 25 Best Lodges. Perfect for honeymooners, sustainable tourism adventurers or the luxury traveller, Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort and Nature Reserve is definitely a jewel on Lake Atitlan.
Mayah, the owner of Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort and Nature Reserve kindly answered some questions I had about the lodge…
Where is your (delicious) hot chocolate sourced from?
Hershey’s hot chocolate as we have not found that quality locally!
Is there a signature dish or ingredients in the restaurant?
We like to use a lot of native Chipilin leaf collected from the nature reserve and our own coffee which we grow at the organic gardens as well as produce that is delivered daily freshly picked from the garden.
Who designed the interior and the inspiration behind it?
We designed the interior and exterior building it along side the local Mayans. Nature, natural materials and the strength and loyalty of our Mayan employees was the inspiration.
What type of experience are you aiming to provide guests during their stay?
We hope guests feel totally immersed in an authentic lodge while experiencing sustainable luxury. We hope they feel inspired to have more meat free days and interest in sustainable living.
Sustainability is an integral part of the lodge – has this aspect had an effect within the local communities apart from your projects?
Apart from health and educational projects we have preserved and protected Tzantizotz Nature Reserve for over ten years and many bird species are flourishing in it. The Belted Fly catcher is a near endangered species that resides high up on the reserve that birders come to view. Many of the staff that built the lodge now work within it and now have professions learned within the lodge.
Disclaimer: Visit made possible by Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort & Nature Reserve.