Traffic to Guatemala head to the funds Antigua and leave it at that, in the event that you don’t head to the highlands but you’re missing out. Lake Atitlan is the deepest lake in Central America; think Lake Tahoe surrounded by the Sierra Madres instead of the Rockies and villages. It is a three-hour drive from Guatemala City by car, or 30 minutes by helicopter (which is the way the wealthy Guatemalans do it; a lot of them have second homes here).
One of those homes has been turned into the sweetest boutique hotel, ideal for honeymoons or buyout weddings. Casa Palopo is a former villa-turned-9-room resort, brimming with ambiance and amazing artwork. The hallway was sufficient to make me swoon.
It feels with an amazing collection of artwork tapestries and cushy sofs. The owner was an art collector; the new owner added a couple of pieces and once it changed hands, the art remained. The vibe is engaging, eclectic and private.
Off of the living room is more artwork, a cozy bar, using a wine list that is surprisingly robust and again. I wanted to buy everything! (Luckily, there’s a tiny but well curated gift shop, with choice chosen by the owner, so that I did not leave empty handed.)
There are only 9 bedrooms, each decorated in a colour palette. I loved the blue area, with its beamed ceiling and French doors leading out to a terrace.
The restaurant is small and delicious; the resort is a member of Relais & Chateaux and the owner’s daughter creates the cooks and menus when she’s onsite. It is a blend of cuisine with a touch of Latin America; believe tuna tartare.
Throughout the afternoon, you can hike the hills, explore remote villages, go boating or paddleboarding on the lake, or simply sit by the pool and drink in the views.
That thing over there? It’s a volcano. Lake Atitlan has three energetic, and the hotel is placed for perspectives.
The owners have a villa in Antigua, so that you can set a stay in the highlands at one of the prettiest cities of Central America. The villa is built in traditional design, based around a courtyard.
This is the best place to escape after a day of exploring the roads and cute shops. Again, shopping. Word to the wise: Bring an empty suitcase when you’re there, to fill up, you’ll need it!