Santa Cruz La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, Solola, Guatemala
The Pitch Around 84,000 years ago, a volcano collapsed forming what is now Lake Atitlan, home to Laguna Lodge. The secluded six-room hotel, on what’s said to be the most beautiful lake in the world, is reachable only by boat. An eco-lodge, Laguna Lodge treads remarkably light, without compromising in luxury. The hotel, fuelled by 180 solar panels, is built from local volcanic stone, palm wood, handmade adobe blocks (made onsite in its gardens) and local clay for wall finishing. Trees cut on the property are fast-growing cypress and are diligently replanted. The beds are hand-carved, textiles hand-woven and linens are natural, locally made with unbleached cotton.
Laguna Lodge employs 100% indigenous Kaqchikel staff, of which more than half are women. Yearly, the Lodge hosts a few dozen dentists to treat hundreds of locals who wouldn’t otherwise have access to dental care. They also have a relationship with a hospital a few hours away, to help locals get vision care.
What We Love The food is award-winning, centered around fresh organic vegetables and herbs harvested daily from its gardens along with eggs sourced from local farmers. Bread is baked daily and the organic shade-grown highland coffee is roasted in-house, after it is picked from the lodge’s gardens. Though vegetarian, the meals are complex and hearty (the prixe fix dinner is outstanding), each plate artfully garnished with native herbs and flowers foraged from the mountainside.
But it’s the view that takes the cake — it might be one of the best in the world. Enjoy a coffee on the dock and watch the sunrise over the volcanoes. Or, enjoy a candle lit dinner and watch as night comes over the lake.
Don’t Miss Directly behind the Lodge, there is an entry point to 100 acres of Mayan trails on a nature reserve. The top of the reserve is nearly 6,500 feet high with some of the last remaining primary forest on the lake. Soldier on past the heat and elevation: The view is worth it. At the top, you’ll find yourself immersed in the clouds. Don’t be put off by the steep start to the hike: There are lots of flats from which to catch your breath.
Rooms from US$245 per night