San Juan Lake Atitlan Guatemala
After arriving in San Juan at the boat docks you climb a steep hill that has unique textile, painting, and art stalls on either side of the street. Most of these products are produced by cooperatives of women from the village.
The art here is very unique and unlike what you find in other villages around the lake. You also see many murals painted on the side of buildings throughout San Juan La Laguna that are an expression of their culture.
The weaving in San Juan La Laguna is also different than the weaving’s, fabrics, and yarns found throughout Guatemala. In San Juan the weavers use natural dyeing techniques that have been passed down through the generation. Their natural dyeing techniques include using pepper, achiote, coconut shells, tree bark, and many other natural products.
The colors turn out in softer hues. In the women’s weaving cooperative that I visited they demonstrated the process of raw cotton, spinning the thread, dying it with natural dyes, and then weaving. If you want to purchase truly hand made products of the finest quality San Juan is the place.
Tucked off the beaten path is a wonderful organic coffee cooperative by the name of La Voz Coffee Cooperative. This is a full production coffee Cooperative with the coffee finca nestled into the hillside of San Juan and the surrounding volcano. For those interested in coffee production this is a wonderful introduction to all the work that goes into your morning cup of coffee.
Beside San Juan La Laguna is the famous mountain formation called Indian Nose for its resemblance to a Mayan Indian. From the summit of Indian Nose, you can view some of the most spectacular sunrises around the lake. The hike to the summit of Indian Nose takes a few hours and the views offer travelers a different view of Lake Atitlan few ever see.