Travel. Mmmmm… Don’t we all wish we could travel 24/7? New faces, unknown places, exotic food and inspiring cultures. Travel is something I’ve always craved for. The wanderlust and adrenaline for the unknown has been running in my veins since I can remember. Here’s the deal though. When I graduated college I had the crazy idea of working in the corporate world. I thought wearing a suit, having the title, working stressful hours and talking numbers was the dream (silly little me!). So, of course, I had to follow what I had been taught at school and pretty much my mother’s dream: Private Banking. I got myself in this world and have been in it for the past 5 years. I won’t get into the reason why I haven’t left zombie land yet since this is obviously not my passion (to cover this topic I would need another two hours) but I will tell you this: My vacations are limited and I have an abnormal amount of stress for a 27 year old which means that my love towards traveling increases by the second. Here’s a secret for all my corporate world fellas… You CAN travel! That lame excuse we use that we don’t have the time or permission is just pure laziness! We might not be able to take a trip to India because just the flight itself takes almost 2 days of our vacation calendar but we can take short trips to wonderful places that will definitely (and I say this with 100% confidence) take our stress away, enrich our souls and make us believe in the healing power of nature all over again.

For November, and for my birthday, I chose Guatemala. 2.5 hour flight from Miami and, if you look in advance, airfares are pretty cheap but never EVER fly on Spirit! Worst airline I’ve ever flown in my life! Terrible customer service, discrimination, and bad food. Ok, back to my story. Since I started this blog 7 months ago, I’ve only focused on holistic and ecological hotels. Why? Well, it's pretty simple. This type of travel is part of my vegan lifestyle and I feel I get so much out of it spiritually, physically and mentally while also contributing to the wellbeing of this planet. Therefore, when I received an invitation from the Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort in Guatemala I was literally ecstatic! I spent nights doing research about the hotel and its surroundings and looking at its pictures. Oh, little did these pictures do justice! There are no words to describe Laguna Lodge other than: MAGICAL PARIDISE.

Let’s start with the basics. My best friend/ photographer/videographer and I arrived at Guatemala City for our 4-day stay at Laguna Lodge. From Guatemala City you can rent a car, take a bus, or arrange with the hotel a private shuttle to Panajachel where a boat picks you up and takes you to the resort. My friend and I decided to rent a car and make a little stop at Antigua prior to heading to Panajachel. It was a 2 hr drive but totally worth it! Antigua was adorable. A city of stone streets, colorful houses, monumental architecture, beautiful handcrafts and welcoming people. There, we (more like I) did some shopping, which you will get to see in the pictures, and grabbed a quick bite at a restaurant near the “Mercadito” (market). Guatemalan street restaurants, just like any other Latin American ones, do not have many vegan options. Most people, and I can say this because I was born and raised in Bolivia, are accustomed to daily meat-eating habits. So, I just ordered a salad and a tried Guatemala’s beer “Gallo”. I have to give it to Guatemalans... That beer was fantastic. Light and refreshing! Once we were done eating and tired from walking around Antigua we were on our way to Panajachel. A 1.5 hr drive to meet our boat driver, Cruz, who is one of the sweetest human beings on earth (together with the entire Laguna Lodge team)! We arrived at the hotel 15 minutes later and were welcomed by Rudy (another amazing soul), organic papaya juices and the most mouth-watering 4-course vegan meal in the history of ecological hotels! I ate so much that night I pretty much crawled back to my bedroom, which was delicately designed with eco-friendly details in every corner. From bed runners woven by Mayan women, to the lamp-shades made from maize (corn) paper, to the adobe brick and clay walls (clay produced at their gardens) to their organic shampoos and the balcony with a magnificent view of Lake Atitlan. To make this place even more attractive, its water & light runs entirely on solar energy. And the massages! Oh my God, those massages!! The spa room looked like if someone had opened the doors to Bali, and the masseuse’s techniques were the perfect combination of deep tissue massage, reiki and stomach massage. After our 90-minute session the only thing I felt was freedom and peace! And… the best part… behind the spa room is a stone stairwell that leads to Laguna Lodge’s 100-acre Nature Reserve. Never-ending mountains with intensely green trees that seem to exhale a incredible lung-cleansing aroma of purity and humidity, and infinite views of the bluest lake... lake Atitlan! I honestly hope these pictures and videos show at least a little of what Laguna Lodge is all about. Its love of nature, its kind-hearted staff, the amazing food with vegan and vegetarian options available but no meat (for good ecological reasons. Click here to learn about them, their magical views of the lake and their effort on making our planet better while inspiring all guests to do the same.

Lastly, I’m really excited to announce that all WaterThruSkin readers get a 20% discount at Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort!! Just call/email Rudy or Juan Manuel and tell them you heard about the hotel through me and… get ready to enjoy a wonderful and blissful stay at Laguna Lodge!!! Don’t forget to tell the staff I said hi!  

PS: no filters (or photoshop) were needed for these pictures. They have their own magical powers. :) VIDEOS are on the WTS youtube channel and many more to come! Note that every picture has a description with more details of the hotel. I did not want to overwhelm you with the length of this story. I could write about Laguna Lodge's beauty for days!

Xx, Valeria.