The Wandering Soul

June 22 2016 37

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Guatemala was the perfect place to feed my wanderlust. At Casa Palopo, I reveled in the beauty of this country, enjoyed its food, and was transported to an otherworldly state of bliss.

Casa Palopo is right above the dazzling and picturesque Lake Atitlan, nestled within the Guatemalan Highlands. This modern and luxurious boutique hotel used to be a private home, which now offers an unbeatable blend of culture and sophistication to the modern traveller. Casa Palopo only has room for seven reservations per night, that is why it is such a quiet retreat for those seeking a real escape from the world. Being surrounded by its unique collection of paintings and cultural artifacts displayed against its bright stucco walls was a treat in itself.

Your home away from home, Casa Palopo’s one-of-a-kind brand of personalized service is world-class. I wouldn’t expect any less from this gorgeous luxury boutique hotel. This hotel also has an in-house restaurant called 6.8 Palopo, where you are sure to have a stellar dining experience.

On our first day, we were treated to a helicopter ride. Our first glimpse of Lake Atitlan was BREATHTAKING. Without any exaggeration, it was one for the books. We landed directly on Casa Palopo’s private helipad, which is available to guests wishing to avail of this memorable helicopter ride. Lunch at 6.8 Palopo was al fresco. We were able to view the small boats swaying in the lake. This was followed by cocktails and appetizers at the Villa Palopo pool, and finally an a la carte dinner at Villa Palopo. All in all, it was a glorious day.

Waking up on my second day at Guatemala with the best view of Lake Atitlan was truly one of the best ways to wake up. I enjoyed a desayuno tipico, a typical Guatemalan breakfast all while staring at the stunning view of three volcanoes. The day was packed. From a boat tour to Lake Atitlan’s towns to Israeli fare for lunch at the Zoola in San Pedro, we were able to really experience the local culture and taste local favors. We visited the town of Santiago, which is the largest of all the towns around the lake. San Juan La Laguna is one of the smaller villages, but packs a lot of culture. I did a little shopping for myself and for my family. Another highlight of our second day was a special dinner prepared by Executive Chef Mario Miralles. He has crafted a new menu as he makes his comeback to Casa Palopo with a lot of new ideas and approaches to the restaurant offerings.

Our third day in Guatemala was the perfect ending to this trip. We explored the beautiful lake in the best way–by kayaking in the Lake Atitlan. This was followed by a tortilla making lunch and cooking lesson back at Casa Palopo. Tortillas are a staple in Guatemalan cuisine that is traditionally cooked in a hot comal. It was so yummy! Before we left, we were lucky enough to be blessed by a real Mayan shaman. Ever since the ancient times, shamans are a fixture and an important part of Guatemalan culture. They are considered the holiest leaders. You can experience this wonderful blessing outdoors within full view of the lake and volcanoes, which just elevates the experience and makes it even more extraordinary.

My insider tip for you is to take a hike up the chapel above the hotel. The views cannot be beat, and you’ll get Instagram-worthy photos to post on social media and show your friends and family.

Guatemala was such a phenomenal experience. I will take all these memories with me for life.

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