Guatemala is the home of Mayan civilization. For six centuries, the Maya built vast cities, immense temples and looming pyramids. And they recorded their history in hieroglyphs on stone monuments and pottery and in bark books. Today, the ruins of this great society - located in the Guatemalan rainforests - are labeled a UNESCO World Cultural Site. And the Mayan culture still lives in its descendants, who make up a majority of Guatemala's citizens.
Guatemala is also a place of incredible physical beauty and home to one of the largest biological diversities in the world. It has 18 ecosystems, over 300 microclimates and more than 37 volcanoes, some of which are still active. About 15 percent of the nation is part of the biosphere and large areas are legally protected. Guatemala is also a UNESCO World Natural Reserve.
Santiago Atitlán is a microcosm of the cultural and natural aspects of the nation.
The Mayan culture is very strong in the area as evidenced by the sound of Tz'utujil, the Mayan language heard predominantly in town. It is seen in the way people look, dressed in their beautiful, colorful clothes and textiles, in the smell of the wood burning fires that keep pots of beans simmering for hours and tortillas piping hot, and in the way local residents interact with their families and neighbors. It is also reflected their costumbres or customs, like the Día de Todos Santos, which combines Mayan and Catholic traditions.
The town is situated on beautiful Lake Atitlán between two volcanoes. The breathtaking scenery and spring-like temperatures make it an amazing spot to work and live.