A charming, peaceful, safe, and simple three room adobe brick hotel called Posada del Bosque Encantado is nestled in a central location in San Marcos, easily accessible to Lake Atitlan and the village restaurants and hangouts. Breakfast is available, with possibly the best coffee in town. A Mayan woman and her children, as well as two other full-time Mayan women workers live on the premise in separate buildings; they’ve grown so dear to me over the years, and are always warmly enthusiastic and encouraging. They’ll make you feel part of their family. The rooms are cleaned daily, and the gardens are filled with coffee trees, banana trees, papaya trees, and multiple plants and flowers - a tropical haven. Make sure you stay here when you visit San Marcos.
I’ve been traveling back and forth to San Marcos La Laguna for several years now. It is a frequent destination of global travelers, seeking a new age mystical experience and/or those simply seeking for peace and tranquility. With two main cobble walking paths and multiple dirt paths, one is removed from the sound of cars and tuk-tuks, abundant in other villages. Cars and tuk-tuks are accessible in the center of town for those in need of getting around on land. San Marcos is comprised of approximately 2000 Mayan indigenous and their families, whose primary language is Kaqchiquel. Spanish is a frequently used second language amongst the Mayans, though many still only speak in their native Mayan language. A few youthful San Marconians speak English, as a result of English classes in the middle school and through the abundance of travelers.
If you are interested in learning more about San Marcos, I highly recommend the book, The Life of Our Language. This book profiles five Kaqchiquel Mayan villages, and San Marcos is one of them. And, for the adventurous, I invite you to consider volunteering with us.
Poverty can appear to be a bit hidden here when one first arrives in this Mayan village, as the land is luscious and many extranjeros, or foreigners, have built restaurants, hotels and businesses in the valley. Yet, the indigenous are struggling to survive, walking by faith for their daily bread. Globally Minded Works provides scholarships for children to go to school, water filters, medical and school supplies for this community. We are also seeking financial partners for the following new projects: 1) sewing machines for artisans, 2) a nutrition and free lunch program, and 3) the construction of a home for a Mayan woman and her two children. You can partner with us here.
We are grateful for our partners who make our work amongst the Mayans possible.
I just arrived in Guatemala from San Francisco, enjoying a cup of coffee in the Rainbow Reading Room in Antigua when the 7.4 rolling earthquake hit. Those of us in the cafe looked at each other, with bewilderment mixed with fear. Do I run out? Do I stay? Is this how I am going to die? Many thoughts passed through my mind very quickly. The hanging lights shook back and forth quickly and, what seemed for quite a long time. Items on the glass shelf rattled and rattled as the earth moved and groaned. Later, I found out that the epicenter was off the coast of Guatemala, a few hours north of Antigua. Sadly, 42 people lost their lives and thousands are left homeless, and without electricity and water in the San Marcos region of Guatemala (not to be confused with San Marcos La Laguna on Lake Atitlan). It was the strongest earthquake to hit Guatemala in 36 years. Please keep the people of San Marcos in your prayers.
See images of the earthquake aftermath here.
San Marcos, Guatemala after earthquake. Shared by Twitter user Esner Navarro (@esnernavarro) on Twitter.
This photo taken on May 25, 2012, released on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 by Tak'alik Ab'aj Archaeological Project, shows a jade piece in the tomb of a very early Mayan ruler at Tak'alik Ab'aj archaeological site in Retalhuleu, south of Guatemala City. Archaeologists in Guatemala announced Friday they have uncovered the tomb complete with rich jade jewelry and decoration. Government archaeologist Miguel Orrego says carbon-dating indicates the tomb was built between 700 and 400 B.C., several hundred years before the Mayan culture reached its apogee (AP Photo/Tak'alik Ab'aj Archaeological Project)
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-guatemala-excavates-early-mayan-ruler.html#jCp
Scuba divers exploring the underwater ceremonial site of Samabaj found the remarkable pottery pieces intact and with detail of carvings and color still evident despite the artifacts spending thousands of years at the bottom of Latin America's deepest lake.
[Rosendo Morales, Exhibition Coordinator, Museo Lacustre Lago De Atitlan]:
"We have found pieces in Samabaj dating back 200, 300 B.C. to 300 A.D. of different types such as incense burners that are 1.5 meters tall with four incredible cardinal points. We are still asking questions about how these items could have been preserved for 2000, 2200 years in the lake until now and still retain a texture that you can appreciate.”
Now, the pottery pieces are housed at Museo Lacustre Lago de Atitlan.
Researchers believe the artifacts were housed on an island until a catastrophic event, like a volcanic eruption or landslide, raised water levels and drowned out the ancient site of Samabaj.
With investigations still taking place, the exact location of the site is a closely guarded secret, since archaeologists want to protect it from looters who fish in the ruins for artifacts to be sold, sometimes for thousands of dollars, on the black market.
Once complete tourist officials hope to open Samabaj to curious international visitors.
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