"Santiago Atitlán and the rum-loving saint" Top 5 Page for this destination Santiago Atitlán by acemj
Santiago Atitlán Travel Guide: 37 reviews and 127 photos
Santiago Atitlán is a small town on the southern shore of Lake Atitlán. It is the capital of the Tzutujil Maya Nation and the local population is 95% made up of people of Mayan descent. Traditional attire is on full display here and the locals, called Atitecos, believe that wearing this beautiful clothing puts them in the form of their ancestors, something they consider of vital importance. Throw in the fact that the town has a beautiful location on the shores of one of the world's most beautiful lakes and you have all the reason you would ever need to visit a place. However, none of that is why I came.
My whole reason for visiting was to see the unusual and revered local saint, Maximón. There are many theories as to his origin, but over time he has evolved into some sort of blend between Mayan and Catholic deity and is considered sacred and to be taken seriously despite his bizarre appearance to most visitors. He can actually be found in many Guatemalan towns including Nahualá and San Jorge La Laguna, but he is especially famed in Zunil, San Andrés Itzapa and right here in Santiago Atitlán.
We spent most of our time here searching for Maximón and once we found him we gave him the traditional offering of a cigarette (we didn't have a good cigar, which he prefers) and were sure to tip the guys guarding him and to treat the whole experience as if it were a very serious pilgrimmage! As bizarre as all of this sounds, it was undeniably intriguing and a great exercise in respecting local traditions. The only greater respect I could have paid to this famous saint would have been to bring him a good cigar and maybe a bottle of his favorite rum.
If you've made is to Santiago Atitlán, you're already off the beaten path, but you can get farther off the path if you'd... more travel advice
Up near the town center, there appeared to be a schoolyard. There was an old, dilapidated stage of some sort that I... more travel advice
acemj's Related Pages
Santiago Atitlán Travel Guide
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