Rancho de Rosa: Our host family in San Pedro, Guatemala

Living with a host family has both advantages and disadvantages. Significant advantages are: practicing your Spanish on a daily basis, experiencing Guatemalan life and culture from "the inside", and living in a safe and filling environment (the food is more than sufficient). Some disadvantages might be: lack of privacy, eating at set times (not decided by yourself), and noise because you live with a family with young children.

Rancho de Rosa, San Pedro, Guatemala

We, however, have got the perfect solution. We have rented a house from the amazing family Phillip and his wife Rosa, so we have our own privacy. But we eat our meals with the family in their restaurant "Rancho de Rosa". This way we get to practise our Spanish and be part of a family, but with the option of withdrawing and having our own privacy.

When we met Phillip and Rosa we were looking for privacy after two intense weeks with another family – but had we not already stayed with another family I would have surely wanted to stay in the house with Phillip and Rosa because they are such a lovely and warm couple.

You do not have to stay with them as a student though to eat in their restaurant "Rancho de Rosa". It is open everyday from 9.00-20.00 and you can have very cheap, traditional food there (such as rice with refried beans and platanas for 10 quetzals ($1.50)).

Rancho de Rosa is located next to San Pedro Spanish school (and also works with San Pedro Spanish school) in zone 2 of San Pedro.

If you have the chance to drop by there at any time – please send them my love.

Video: Cooperativa Spanish school in San Pedro, Guatemala

This video shows you the popular Cooperativa Spanish school in San Pedro, Guatemala. It includes footage from the garden, classrooms and interview with the current coordinator of the school.

The cooperativa Spanish school in San Pedro was founded in 2003 and has in five years developed into one of the most recommended Spanish schools in all of Latin America. There are many reasons for this. Not only is it one of the cheapest places in the world to study Spanish (with 20 hours of one-to-one teaching a week and home stay with a family with all meals included for 150 $), but it also has a socially conscious ideology. The school is run as a cooperative and guarantees good working conditions and fair wages for the teachers. Furthermore, the school donates money and food to poor families in the community.

The after school activities include conferences on Guatemalan culture, videos, kayaking, climbing tours, salsa classes, canopying, and dinners with the teachers.

Please find more information about the school at: www.cooperativeschoolsanpedro.com. You can also read more about the school on our website, see photos and listen to our podcasts about Spanish studies at the school.


Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala Episode 1
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala Episode 2
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala Episode 3
San Pedro and the longing for empty spaces
San Pedro and the dreams from another dimension
Our photos of Guatemala – including Lake Atitlan, San Pedro, The School, & Antigua

Video: San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala

This video is a short video tour of San Pedro la Laguna on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. It includes the streets, the docks, the shops, hostels, volcano, lake views and center of town.

San Pedro La Laguna is a small lakeside town on the shores of Lake Atitlan (Lago de Atitlan) in the highlands of Guatemala. It has a population of about 13,000 and is populated predominantly by indigenous Tz’utujiil people. There are about 100,000 Tz’utujiil speakers living in various towns and villages around Lake Atitlan.

Since the 1960s travelers began to discover the place, and some of them have never left. There seem to be three types of foreigners in San Pedro at any one time: Firstly the long term hippie ex-pats, secondly the Spanish language students who often stay with local families and don’t go out much, and thirdly the hedonists/party people who come here to party and take drugs.

San Pedro is one of the cheapest places to stay around Lake Atitlan and a good base for tours of the other villages around the lake. It’s easy to reach Chichicastenango, Solola, Santiago Atitlan, San Marcos, Panajachel, Santa Clara, San Juan & Santa Cruz by boat or bus from San Pedro.

To find out more about our personal experiences living and studying in San Pedro, please follow the links below:


Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala Episode 1
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala Episode 2
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala Episode 3
San Pedro and the longing for empty spaces
San Pedro and the dreams from another dimension
San Pedro Photos
Photos of our rental house & garden in San Pedro

San Pedro and the dreams from another dimension

Lake Atitlan

Having to describe this place to you or rather the energies here would be quite a challenge. But I can say one thing for sure – I have never been to a place with such strong energies before. There are many ways in which energies can materialize – here the energy is especially evident in dreams.

I have always been a dreamer but my dreams have taken a completely different shape and form in this place I have seen deep into my past, crossed bridges at night that were never crossed before and been shocked and amazed. And I have met many travelers who tell a similar story "a story of very vivid, strong and present dreams. And it can’t be a coincidence that so many places here have dream catchers as decoration surely they are a needed interior.

One thing for sure – this place holds a different dimension. For generations the elders here have told the young people to be careful when in nature around here. To be careful not to touch unknown objects because they might be a gateway to another dimension. There are many tales around here about people having lost days of their life without knowing where they went thinking they had been gone for 1 hour but were missing two days etc.

So when I woke up this morning at five with a very strong dream about giving birth to a boy, I was not surprised. I lay in bed for one hour and took it all in and then I decided to get up and write this article that has been on my mind for as long as I have been here. Perhaps the dream symbolized the birth of an idea or a project or maybe a foresight into the future or maybe a longing I don’t know…but the dreams are ever-present in this place.

To tell you the truth; when I first arrived here I felt really at unease with the place. I felt like someone had taken me by the legs and hung me up-side down and I couldn’t make any sense of neither myself nor the place and I was really upset and disturbed. I knew all along that it was a matter of strong energies that I had not adjusted to and thank God my Spanish course forced me to stay in this place. My initial confusion has been replaced by appreciation appreciation for being allowed to fall in tune with the place, to dream the dreams I dream and to have a chance to peep into that other dimension.

With admiration for Lake Atitlan,

San Pedro and the longing for empty spaces

San Pedro, Guatemala, Lake Atitlan

Arriving in San Pedro was by no means a surprise because I had no expectations for neither San Pedro nor Guatemala.

San Pedro de Laguna is a relatively small village (although not as small as I could wish for) on the shores of Lake Atitlan. It has 13.000 inhabitants spread out on the hillside.

Obviously San Pedro is very different from Asia where I have spent a long time. It’s much less developed than Thailand, but it is also much more traditional which has its own charm. The people here are very friendly and despite a growing tourism not jaded and unfriendly.

But don’t let this fool you San Pedro have been discovered many years ago and is not your "undiscovered paradise". It’s a growing village living from tourist, coffee and maize. It has everything from beautiful scenery, kayak trips, horse riding, restaurants, market, and internet shops to bars and drug problems.

We arrived at the end of the rainy season and thus the landscape was very damp, cloudy and misty. My feelings for the country are mixed. The people seem very nice despite the horrors of the past, the landscape is also beautiful, but the country suffers from the same problems as other developing (and developed) countries pollution. They still cook with firewood so three times a day the village of San Pedro is smoky wherever you go and it makes me long for empty spaces with neither people nor buildings just nature.

I admit though that I have had this longing for a very long time now Chiang Mai was too big and polluted for me, Copenhagen also contains too much cement for me too many people, too many cars, too much development. The older I have gotten the less of a city person I am I long for peace and quiet and stopping smoking (nearly 2 years ago) has not made me more tolerant to pollution, smoke, dust, fumes and all the other things that big cities "offer" on the contrary.

I suppose ideally I would live in a very deserted place surrounded by nature, sea, animals and with very few inhabitants I know it sounds like Alaska .however, I couldn’t live in such a cold place. I hate darkness and cold so more like the south pole than the north pole 30 degrees all year round is great J Any suggestions?

Video: Panajachel at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

This video shows the amazing views of Lake Atitlan from Panajachel, Guatemala. It gives you glimpses of the magic surrounding the lake and of the city of Panajachel itself.

Driving from Antigua to Panajachel was quite a hairy ride. You drive along steep cliffs at a far from safe speed, but the views are amazing. Also the higher you get up, the mistier it becomes and suddenly you are surrounded by maize fields and you start imagining yourself as part of the film “Children of the corn” 🙂 scary

Arriving at Panajachel in the late afternoon when it was raining didn’t leave the best first hand impression, but shortly after it cleared up and we went to have the first view of the lake impressive. However, not nearly as impressive as it looked the morning after when we got up at 6 and went down to the lake. The sun was rising over the volcanoes in the distance, the mist lifting up from the water and the green mountain sides melting your soul. It was so beautiful and I immediately understood why this place attracts so many people.

Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala #3

[Download MP3 | Add to iTunes | Subscribe to Podcasts]

I have now entered week 5 of my studies at the Co-operative of Guatemalan Spanish Teachers in San Pedro La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Click below to listen to it.

Cooperative School, San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala

In this podcast we give you an update of our housing situation, having moved out of the home stay and into a wonderful new house by the lake, we visit the cemetery during a festival for the dead, and discuss how our Spanish studies are going. We finish the podcast with a brief chat about some of the strange energies and mysteries surrounding Lake Atitlan. We’ll post more details of these here in the next few days.


Our photos of Guatemala – including Lake Atitlan, San Pedro, The School, & Antigua
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala #1
Podcast: Studying Spanish in Guatemala #2
Video tour of the Cooperative School plus an interview with the Coordinator