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Francesca Wade

Member since: 2013
Speaks: english, spanish, Tzutujil

Fabulous 3 Bed, Lake-front home on quiet bay, San Marcos

28 Reviews
Sleeps8
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms2
Half Baths1
Property type chateau / country house
Minimum Stay 3 nights

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Overview

San Marcos La Laguna Chateau / Country House Rental Photos and Description

3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Bathrooms, Sleeps 8 in 4 double beds

Relax like royalty in this large 3 bedroom, triple-terraced home with royal style panoramic views. See the photos and video to understand! Nicknamed 'El Castillo' or 'The Castle', this beautiful lake-front property is situated in a quiet cove just outside of San Marcos, Lake Atitlan, with a king's view of mountains, lake, villages and dormant volcanoes.

The location offers quick access to some of the best swimming, diving, fishing, a myriad of boating activities, hiking, trail running or more relaxing activities like yoga, meditation, healing spas or your best massage ever from around the Lake.

The property is very private without being isolated, with a private meditation area, and nearby access to a nature trail and with breathtaking views from every room, including from the jacuzzi on the lower terrace. The caretaker/guardian, Nicolas, is always discreetly present to assist - to take you by row boat to San Marcos, to arrange for a private launch trip to one or more of the indigenous villages that ring the lake, to prepare the fireplace, or even run into San Marcos for an errand.

NEW: We have just finished landscaping the side yard into a grassed and shaded meditation terrace that overlooks the lake and the villages of San Pedro La Laguna and San Juan La Laguna. The tranquility is magnificent.

SAN MARCOS - This small, Kakchiquel Mayan village is known as the Holistic center of Lake Atitlan and probably Guatemala! You can receive every alternative treatment under the sun here. Plus it is a great base from which to explore the 12 villages around the Lake, each one with its own very unique character and atmosphere.

Just ask the managers for information about hiking, village & kayak tours, days trips around the Lake and further afield and for your transport needs.

More Details
Suitability:
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Francesca Wade (Property Manager)
Member since: 2013
Speaks: english, spanish, Tzutujil

About Francesca Wade

El Castillo Tzutujil is a vacation retreat for my husband and me. He is a poet and writer who at 72 thrives in the tranquility of the bay and the house. For me, the opportunity for long hikes and immersion in good books is a dream come true. After years in the business work-a-day world in Arizona, the lake house gives us many wonderful days throughout the year to relax and get in touch with ourselves. In addition, on the Pacific side of the mountains across the lake lies a small indigenous community called Chocolá where we have been working with a U.S. non-profit known as Seeds for a Future to help improve the health and economy of the community. Being close to our work in Chocolá and the people there whom we are lucky to know and be able to help is, an added bonus for us.

2013 will be our 36th year of visiting and living in Guatemala, but believe it or not, we only recently really discovered Lake Atitlan and its incredible beauty, lovely people and peaceful surroundings. We were lucky to find this lovely home which we use part of the year and make available to other vacationers when we need to be elsewhere. I am sure you will enjoy the “castle” as much as do we and we encourage you to take opportunities to visit the nearby pueblos around the lake and taste of the art, culture and wonderful food available. Or, if you would rather just kick back on the veranda, be prepared to be enchanted and sink into occasional naps of the best kind.

Francesca Wade purchased this chateau / country house in 2013

Why Francesca Wade chose San Marcos La Laguna

We bought this property for many reasons but primarily because it is near (yet apart from) one of the prettiest Maya lakeside communities on Lake Atitlan, called San Marcos La Laguna. San Marcos is a magnet for people from around the world seeking the spiritual energy that many believe is there and conducive to learning, meditation and holistic therapies such as massage, yoga, reiki and more. Happily, the village is within easy walking distance of our house or a short boat ride.

San Marcos itself is around a point of land from our house. Near the shoreline are the dwelling of ex-pats and businesses which have established themselves over the years to serve visitors with restaurants, therapy, a holistic center known as the Pyramids Meditation Center and apartments and some retail stores. In addition, San Marcos and the villages across the lake offer excellent dining opportunities, not to mention their cultural attractions. San Marcos also has an active program for kids to get involved in theater and the arts. The Maya village itself is above the shore side part of the town and has a wonderful central plaza. Hiking in the forest above San Marcos is a treat.

A most important appeal to us of this property is the fact that it is new, well constructed and situated on what may be the quietest bay of the entire lake. We can sit reading or just enjoying the views for hours with nary a power boat passing within ear shot. And that means being able to listening to nature, the sounds of the lake and birds. On the other side of our bay are majestic rock cliffs and quality homes built on the lower hills and near the water. On our side is a shore level trail that leads to the Village of San Marcos and along the way passes through a delightful water and diving park. The trail is a little challenging, but a wonderful experience. The lake water at San Marcos and in our bay is said to be the cleanest for swimming and kayaking in the entire lake region.

What makes this chateau / country house unique

Aside from what we have said above, the house itself offers lake vistas from every room and magnificent privacy. Each bedroom has its own veranda on the lake side of the house and ceiling to floor windows. To the south side of the house is our pleasant grassy yard made into several terraces which are ideal for quiet relaxation and and meditation.

Hammocks make for lazy afternoons and the Jacuzzi is an excellent experience at night while looking at the lights reflecting off the lake from San Pedro and San Juan. Now and then, firework displays are observed above the distant towns … (Guatemalans do love fireworks to celebrate national holidays, religious events, birthdays, weddings and maybe just because it seems like a good idea at the time). Another feature we particularly like is to watch cumulus storm clouds forming about 40 kilometers away above the Pacific but behind the mountains on the other side of the lake. And because the lake is at roughly 5,000 feet, the distant Pacific coastal storms sometimes provide some of the grandest displays of clouds and lightning.

And for those of you who enjoy more active lifestyle, please see our 'amenities' page which lists all sorts of outdoor activities and night life around the lake. Our Managers in Panachel provides a constantly updated list of entertainment and recreation activities around the lake which are easy to access via public water taxis .

Guestbook comments from the manager

Magnificent location. Really quirky property with some of the best views of my life. Well hosted by Rosa (the cook) and Nicolas (security, boatman). Superb communication throughout from Francesca.
Mar 2015
  • 1 of 7

Reviews

4.8
based on 28 traveler reviews

Fabulous 3 Bed, Lake-front home on quiet bay, San Marcos
average rating of 4.75 based on 35 reviews
4

Gorgeous views, relaxing vacation!

  • 4 of 5

We stayed at Casa Castillo for 3 nights in July. The location of the house is fabulous, with a gorgeous view right on what could easily be described as the most beautiful lake in the world. We were close enough to town but with our own dock for privacy. And a quick boat ride for $3 over to some of the other villages. There is plenty of outdoor space to enjoy the view, and we ended up only venturing into San Marcos and some of the other villages briefly each day while enjoying the relaxation provided by the house most of the time. The layout of the house is great, and the rooms are large with nice beds and plenty of furniture for storing clothes. Wifi worked really well, no issues at all, which we weren’t sure about for such a remote location. The kitchen is very well equipped and we were able to make several full meals. The services provided by both the planning staff and on-site staff were excellent. They got us in and out of the area with no problem, helped us get to other areas, explained very clearly what to expect, and overall were super helpful. Nicolas(on-site caretaker)even rowed us and our luggage over to a nearby dock for a straight shot to our next destination instead of backtracking to Pana. A few notes to keep in mind:(1)the house décor and fixtures can use some updating and a good refresh, including paint, in-depth cleaning, and linens;(2)the on-site caretakers are not just a couple but a family with children and dogs..and they live right outside of your kitchen window. They are so nice I hate to even say anything, but it was a bit of a surprise for us. We love dogs, and we had a 6-year-old with us who had an instant playmate, so not really an issue for us but something to be prepared for;(3)in relation both #1 and #2, there are no window treatments in the house at all. If there were just some curtains in the kitchen to provide privacy from the caretakers and on a couple of windows in the bedrooms, you’d have more options;(4)we had a little trouble with the hot water as mentioned in other reviews, but we went other places in Guatemala that didn’t have hot water at all so we were happy it worked even if a little quirky;(5)the jacuzzi mentioned in the description was not operational at the time we were there. It is in a great spot and would have been fun to use if it worked. Overall, we felt that Casa Castillo was a great value, priced right for what you get with the location and services provided. We had a great time!

  • Submitted: Jul 16, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: We are so glad that you enjoyed El Castillo and the Lake. Thank you for your notes as well. We try hard to provide the best service that we can, with everything in the house is in working order, clean and tidy, and will certainly be looking into the points you have raised. Should you stay in the future I hope you will let us know immediately of any problems. With Nicolas on site we can take care of any unforeseen issues quickly and ensure that your stay is the best possible.
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5

Wonderful!

  • 5 of 5

We had a peaceful and restful time at this beautiful home. Nicolas and his family were a huge help and we loved having them so close by to help with our needs. Thank you!

  • Submitted: Apr 6, 2016
  • Stayed: Mar 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: We are so happy to hear you had a good stay. We hope you see you again soon!
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5

Nirvana

  • 5 of 5

This is our second visit to our go-to vacation at the lake. Peaceful, charming, and for us life-changing since we live in Antigua. We love being right on the lake but able to walk to the great restaurants in San Marcos.

  • Submitted: Mar 30, 2016
  • Stayed: Mar 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: It is a great pleasure to have return guests! We're very glad you enjoy our house, and we look forward to welcoming you again, any time.
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0 0
5

AWESOME VIEWS, WONDERFUL ACCOMODATIONS AND A PERFECT PLACE TO STAY AT LAKE ATITLAN

  • 5 of 5

THE PROPERTY MANAGER AND THE OWNERS HELPED TO MAKE OUR VISIT TO LAKE ATITLAN GREAT; THIS COMBINED WITH THE INCREDIBLE VIEWS OF THE LAKE FROM THE HOME (BOTH DURING THE DAYTIME AND AT NIGHT LOOKING AT THE LIGHTS ACROSS THE LAKE) LEFT US WITH SUCH WONDERFUL MEMORIES OF OUR VACATION AT LAKE ATITLAN. THE GUARDIAN WAS THERE TO GREET US AT THE BOAT DOCK AND HELPED US ALL THE TIME THAT WE WERE THERE. IN SHORT, STAYING AT THIS PROPERTY ENHANCED OUR TRIP TO GUATEMALA AND WE WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT OVER OTHER PROPERTIES WHERE WE HAVE STAYED IN PRIOR YEARS AROUND THE LAKE. OUR HEARTFELT THANKS GO OUT TO THE OWNERS, THE PROPERTY MANAGER AND THE STAFF WHO WERE ALWAYS THERE TO HELP US WITH EVERYTHING THAT WE NEEDED.

  • Submitted: Feb 9, 2016
  • Stayed: Nov 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thanks Richard ... and thanks from Nichols and his wife as well. They do go out of their way to be helpful and I will make them aware of your comments. Their pleasant approach to our guests is wonderful. Thanks again. EVdB
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5

Outstanding experienceh

  • 5 of 5

The house sits squarely on the lake with beautiful views from the expansive deck, the living room, kitchen with ample dining area. It was hard to get up in the morning as the view from the bedroom was captivating. An easy walk took us into town where there are food shops and great restaurants. We live in Guatemala and have spend ample time at the lake but this was the best time of all. We can't wait to return!

  • Submitted: Jan 25, 2016
  • Stayed: Jan 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: We are pleased you had such a lovely time. Personally, I like watching the lake and night lights of the the villages across the lake from our deck outside the bedroom . We look forward to your return visits. Earl and Suzanne
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Arizona
5

Wonderful experienmce

  • 5 of 5

Being there just before Christmas made our visits to the villages very festive and special. Watching fireworks across the lake was a treat.The house was wonderful - quiet, clean and comfortable. I cannot say enough about fabulous views day and night. Nicholas and his wife were very cordial and met all our needs. We particularly enjoyed the porches overlooking the lake where we could sit with coffee and drinks and enjoy the sunsets. And I must say, the weather was perfect. I think we were very lucky to be able to interact with Nicholas and his family and learn a little of their native language (Tzutujil ... not sure of the spelling). His wife Rosa made us a delightful meal featuring some local vegetables new to us .... and delicious.

  • Submitted: Dec 21, 2015
  • Stayed: Dec 2015
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: We are so glad to hear you had a good stay at El Castillo and enjoyed the views and some Guatemalan cuisine too! We hope to see you down this way again some time soon!
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Map

Nearest Airport
108.5 Miles
Guatamala City (plus regional in Quetzaltenango)
Nearest Barpub
0.5 Miles
Blind Lemon, Fe, Jinava Bay Hotel, Paco Real, Fe.
Nearest Ferry
0.8 Miles
San Marcos to anywhere on the lake
Nearest Golf
95 Miles
Antigua and Xela
Nearest Motorway
10 Miles
CA 1
Nearest Restaurant
0.1 Miles
Hotel Jinava plus many more in San Marcos
Nearest Beach
50 Miles
Many on Pacific & Crystal beach on lake (1K)
Car: not necessary

The village of San Marcos La Laguna is famous for its holistic and meditation centers but even more so for its relaxed, low pressure atmosphere. It has a lovely shaded central park and a band shell for locally produced music and plays. Trails and a local lake along the lake are available. Our caretaker will arrange for a launch to pick you up at our dock and take you anywhere on the lake.

The entire lake and the villages around San Marcos are accessible via inexpensive 'bus launches' that run throughout the day every 20 minutes. A road north from the village leads to Quetzaltenango and the many historic archaeological sites of that region. Quetzaltenango is a university city and a historic gate way to Mexico.

The major town of Panajchel on the lake is loaded with quality restaurants, night life, grocery stores and other urban attractions, but San Marcos itself is a lovely, quiet family friendly town.

Across our end of the lake are the villages of San Pedro and San Juan which are delightful towns filled with interesting visitor attractions, casual sight seeing walks and good restaurants and cooperatives of artisans. Further away is the famous village of Santiago Atitlan which attracts visitors from around the world for its sights, arts, weaving, woodcarving and entertainment.

Finally, one can tour the highlands of Guatemala from the Lake and visit such exotic places as Solola, Chichicastenango and the ancient pre-classic and classic era Maya ruins of Ixchimche, Zacaleu, Takalik Abaj. To the northwest is the large hot springs of Fuentes Georginas which is open to the public and situated in a delightful cloud forest. It is quite a treat to float in the hot waters while watching clouds swirl through the trees above. In the nearby valley is the village of Zunil where shrines to Maximon can be visited. The vegetable market in Almalonga is one of the very best in all of the highlands.

Our local manager in Panajachel can arrange all travel and accommodations for you if you are interested in some side trips around or away from the lake. A new attraction is a butterfly arboretum has opened in Panajachel Dec 2013

NEWS! Feb 1, A new butterfly named Pan Ajachel was discovered by staff Atitlan Nature Reserve in Panajachel, Solola. that scientists believe could only have developed in the climate and ambience of Panajachel. The butterfly lays eggs in matasano plant, which each holds its metamorphosis.

Carlos Eduardo Paez, Reserve Entomologist said that identifying the new species took several years of study on wing and other characteristics such as flying habits, food and way of playing. Paez said that this lepidopteran belongs to the Papilionidae family, subfamily and Heraclides. The caterpillars of this butterfly feed on a fruit called matasano (ajachel Cakchiquel), whose scientific name is Casimiroa edulis, a tree well known in the Lake. The insects lay their eggs on this plant.

Paez said they will take their data to laboratories in England, Switzerland or the United States, where before accepting it as new, worldwide data bases will be checked.

A special treat coming up is to be at Lake Atitlan in the weeks and days leading up to Easter (Semana Santa) when street processions, art, religious ceremonies and music flower in extraordinary ways. Our house at San Marcos is within a short walk or boat ride to some of the most fascinating Maya towns in all of Guatemala such as San Marcos, San Pedro and San Juan.

We just purchased a new 15 foot canoe for guests.

Photos

Rates & Availability

Lake Atitlan Chateau / Country House Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
Manager accepts payment in:
USD
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event
 
High Season i
Jun 1 2016 - Aug 31 2016
3 night minimum stay
$99
$623
$2,100
 
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $20 per night, per additional guest
 
Low Season ii
Sep 1 2016 - Oct 31 2016
3 night minimum stay
$87
$553
 
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $20 per night, per additional guest
 
High Season ii
Nov 1 2016 - Dec 23 2016
3 night minimum stay
$99
$623
 
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $20 per night, per additional guest
 
Holiday Season
Dec 24 2016 - Jan 1 2017
3 night minimum stay
$149
$894
 
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $20 per night, per additional guest
 
High Season iii
Jan 2 2017 - Apr 9 2017
3 night minimum stay
$99
$623
$2,100
 
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $20 per night, per additional guest
 
My Standard Rate
3 night minimum stay
$99
$623
 

Additional information about rental rates

Check-Out Cleaning $20
Refundable damage deposit $300

1. STANDARD HOUSEKEEPING SERVICES PROVIDED EVERY THIRD DAY OF YOUR STAY (ADDITIONAL HOUSEKEEPING AND COOKING SERVICES CAN BE ARRANGED)
2. A one-time check-out cleaning fee of $20.00 per stay will be applied to all stays.
3. Transportation to and from the property by water taxi is not included. We can provide estimates at time of booking.
4.*** ASK US ABOUT OUR LONG STAY OR 6+ GROUP RATES ***

Manager's Cancellation Policy

Please ask the manager or check their rental agreement when booking the property.
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Amenities

San Marcos La Laguna Chateau / Country House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • chateau / country house
Meals:
  • Catering available
  • Breakfast - Booking Possible
  • Lunch - Booking Possible
  • Dinner - Booking Possible
Location Type:
  • Lake View
  • Lakefront
Theme:
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Tourist Attractions
General:
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Fireplace ...
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wood Stove ...
Kitchen:
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster ...
Dining:
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 6 people
Bathrooms:
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • 1 Half Bath
  • Bathroom 2 - toilet , shower
    Bathroom 3 - toilet
    Bathroom 1 - toilet , shower
Bedrooms:
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 8
  • Guest - 2 queen , View of lake, access to terrace, private bathroom
    Eagle's Nest - 1 queen , Private terrace looking directly on lake
    Master - 1 king , Bay window view of lake and access to terrace. fireplace
Entertainment:
  • Books
  • Stereo ...
  • Toys ...
Outside:
  • Balcony ...
  • Bicycles ...
  • Boat ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Grill
  • Water Sports Gear ...
Suitability:
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only ...
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Pool / Spa:
  • Communal Pool ...
  • Hot Tub ...
  • Private Pool ...
Onsite Services:
  • Staff
Attractions:
  • botanical garden
  • churches
  • health/beauty spa
  • library
  • live theater
  • marina
  • museums
  • playground
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • water parks
  • zoo
Leisure Activities:
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • fitness center
  • groceries
  • laundromat
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • basketball court
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • hiking
  • jet skiing
  • kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • mountain climbing
  • mountaineering
  • paragliding
  • parasailing
  • pier fishing
  • rock climbing
  • sailing
  • scuba diving or snorkeling
  • snorkeling
  • snorkeling/diving
  • swimming
  • water skiing
  • water tubing
Notes:
Canoe for 3-4 people or a dug-out kayak are available for touring the lake. Fishing and crabbing with caretaker can be arranged any day you would like. There is great cliff diving and sunbathing from the '"Trampoline"' located 5-10 minutes east along the shoreline. I suggest you check out the TzanK'ujil Nature Trail (5 min east) and hike to the top of the mountain to the sacred Mayan ceremonial area. There is also a wonderful little restaurant less than 100 yards west of the property. There are restaurants, massage spas, natural health centers in nearby San Marcos village and at most of the villages around the lake there are great opportunities for shopping, dining, tours, cultural experiences and socializing.

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