In yogis‘ world, plant-based food is setting the pace. Meanwhile I have also turned into a part-time vegetarian. Less motivated by the belief in a so achieved AHA experience. In San Marcos la Laguna in the heart of Guatemala, the selection of a plant-based food is simply gigantic. My curiosity was piqued …
Magical San Marcos
The pueblo on the shores of volcanic Lake Atitlan in Guatemala is a special place. Two full moon phases, I have been spellbound by the village, which is populated by hippies, expats and yoga enthusiasts from all over the world. The nearly 4,000 inhabitants, many direct descendants of the Maya, welcome each and everyone very friendly. Plus: The pandemic hardly plays a role out there.
Only flat rate tourists were rarely seen on the car-free alleys that stretch through San Marcos like a labyrinth. Even on the „main street“ people greet each other. After a few days, I knew most of the merchants by name.
But watch out! If the goods in the mini-markets are not priced out, some windy sellers can call up (absurd) tourist price. If you want to have fund saving some money, take a trip to one of the neighboring villages and visit the markets there. Already the journey with a lancha (ferry) across the lake or the tuk-tuk is an experience.
Anyway, I didn’t leave San Marcos too often …
The offer of excellent yoga classes, spiritual coaching and other esoteric hocus-pocus can keep you busy for months. But I would claim that the variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free food is even bigger! Stores, cafes and restaurants have fully adapted to the „healthy food“ palates of their guests.
My Food Favorites
Inspired by the abundance of fruits and vegetables, I stood at the stove myself pretty often. However, there were opportunities to explore the local restaurants too.
At Samsara´s Garden, the food is exclusively vegan. This does not compromise on taste in any way. Every dish is a feast of flavors and creativity. TeaTip: The chai latte is one of the best in town and also chilled a delight.
The only (small) minus: Although the outdoor seating is super nice and the food excellent, I would describe the offered seating as rather uncomfortable.
Vida Cocina Creativa
Located directly on the lake, Vida not only offers a fantastic view. After my morning yoga classes at the lake and swimming in the lake (early mornings are the best for a swim, because the water is smooth and crystal clear), I loved to have breakfast at Vida. Usually I had papaya with lime, sometimes accompanied by a scrambled egg, and always a strong Guatemalan coffee on the table. Every now and then, however, I treated myself to a fluffy pancake. Hmmmm, pure soul food!
And also in the evenings your taste buds can dance at Vida. My favorite dish: Portobello mushrooms stuffed with in red wine sauteed onions and some avocado, accompanied by rice and fresh spinach. Put some sesame seeds on top and have a glass of red wine – that’s all you need to be happy!
Tul y Sol
I liked visiting Tul y Sol in the evenings. By this time I had the terrace with a wide lake view to myself. Practically my balcony! In addition, their house wine tastes absolutely fabulous.
As far as meatless dishes are concerned, the selection is a bit slim. But the omelet is tasty and the cheese sandwich with eggs can even be classified as soul food, so yummy. And the homemade chocolate truffles are a stunner! it´s also said that they have the best steaks in San Marcos. As a part-time vegetarian thought, I can’t judge this at the moment.
Craving for a Burger?
In spite of all the delicious meatless food, my desire for cheeseburgers has remained. At the Dragon, I got the best in San Marcos. By far! If you are craving for veggie between the buns, head to El Búho! Unfortunately, the vegetarian burger isn’t always on the daily menu. But when it is, it’s a feast.
Meet the Flower Child Market
On most Saturdays there is a sweet little hippie market taking place in San Marcos. Tarot cards are laid there, micro-designers offer their threads and local food specialties as well as home-made goods are offered. One of these Saturdays I met Youlia at the market. The long-term traveler from Freiburg (Germany) sells #homemade natural cosmetics like tinctures. And she bakes delicious gluten-free bread. Accompany it with one of her spicy fruit jams – and enlightenment is within reach!
Not in San Marcos? Youlia’s Instagram account is wonderfully inspiring and a little substitute for those who can’t have a try right now.
Best Places for Yoga
With all that food, daily yoga is of course mandatory. Fortunately, there are MANY options in San Marcos. And no matter where I rolled out my mat, there was always a highly motivated coach sharing the class. No wonder that this place is a big deal in the world of yogis.
Three favorites I would like to introduce to you briefly:
Las Piramides del Ka
Las Piramides del Ka has become a second home for me: I have spent almost seven weeks at this magical spot living in a little pyramid and attending the Moon Course.
This was a unique experience: we started with yoga right after sunrise and had intensive meditations in the afternoon. In addition, the teachers introduce you to the mysteries of metaphysics.
The specialties of the house are astral travel and lucid dreaming. These classes are given by Las Piramides founder Chaty herself. Even if you don’t have faith or access to these out-of-body experiences yourself – it´s all well worth it. Chaty is a highly charismatic personality and a fantastic storyteller.
The best: All classes, meditations and courses can also be booked spontaneously. So you don’t have to take the whole course of four weeks (including fasting and silence) …
The Yoga Forest
For the last days at Lago Atitlán, I’ve been retreating to The Yoga Forest, high in the mountains of San Marcos. It’s a beautiful spot that – despite its simplicity – can be described as an upper-range lodging. At first glance, the price per night may seem a little steep. But excellent food and two yoga classes daily are included.
Other bonuses: Only in the lounge has electricity and internet. The wooden cabins are wifi-free and shine in the dark with candlelight
In addition, breathtaking views of the lake open up from everywhere, even from the (eco) restrooms. And: The yoga teachers are absolutely excellent. Plus: the two decks are some of the most beautiful I’ve been privileged to practice at. And about the food? Yes, the food eats well (vegetarian, of course), extremely well!
Lago de Atitlán
But the most beautiful yoga studio is the lake itself! Just unroll your mat on one of San Marcos‘ docks and welcome the sun with a Surya Namaskar.
Do you have questions about San Marcos? You know the place and have more tips? Always happy with your feedback!