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“Vegan Paradise”

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Lake Villa Guatemala
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Charlottesville, Virginia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Vegan Paradise”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2014

I’m pretty sure I’ll never eat that well again for a six-day stretch! I took Traci up on her offer of a vegan cooking workshop at Lake Villa Guatemala and it was exactly what I was looking for. We (used loosely – I did a lot of learning from the expert) cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of my stay (with a couple of exceptions to accommodate boat trips during the day). EVERYTHING (truly not an exaggeration) was delicious and I left for home with doable recipes, tips from an experienced chef, and a desire to see how vegan I can be (I’ve been vegetarian for years but only experimenting with veganism). The setting is beautiful, the bed and breakfast beautifully appointed, and I thoroughly enjoyed outings to several indigenous villages and kayaking on the lake. Traci took care of everything—including transportation to and from Guatemala City— and she and her partner, Mark, had lots of Guatemala-related knowledge which I was eager to lap up. Traci was lovely and my stay delightful. I highly recommend Lake Villa Guatemala. What a gem!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Melissa L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Traci S, Owner at Lake Villa Guatemala, responded to this review, January 29, 2014
It was a blast cooking, kayaking, and sharing Lake Atitlan with you! We really strive to give our guests a luxury experience with all the comforts of home and the magic of Lake Atitlan.
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22 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2013

Traci and Mark’s Lake Villa is a hidden gem of a guesthouse on the magnificent Lake Atitlan; perfect for our week of solitude and romance, around luscious gardens and an unforgettable view of the lake and mountains. It’s modern, clean and comfortable, and there were fresh flowers in the bedroom and bathroom. A dedicated vegan chef, Traci takes pride in sourcing the best local produce. Her vegan meals convinced us that they can be as tasty as any other cuisine; and she gladly shared her recipes with us. And, to boot, Mark and Traci brought their beautiful songs to the house, and we lucked out to hear them perform in a restaurant in Panajachel. we loved it all.

Hartmut & Lynda

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank casarosa09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Traci S, Owner at Lake Villa Guatemala, responded to this review, January 2, 2014
We're so glad you enjoyed your stay with us. It was a delight to share our time, food, and music!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 28, 2013

Background:
I'm an omnivore and sort of foodie who went to Guatemala for a wedding at Santiago Atitlan, which is about 15 minutes from Traci's B&B. My wife is vegan, and we wanted a relaxing vacation with a good and easy food experience, which is the main reason we chose to stay. We stayed for 5 nights and enjoyed everything about this place

The Food:
Every breakfast started with a large bowl of fresh fruit. No fillers; all mango, strawberries, and pineapple - delicious. Then we'd have tofu scramble or pancakes or scones. Traci would ask us each evening what we felt like the next day. For dinner we had peanut noodles with stir fry, various soups like gazpacho and spicy cream of kale, a traditional dish made with pumpkin seeds and tempeh instead of chicken, and pesto pasta. Traci was good about asking us which things we like and adjusting the spice level too (I like really spicy food). Ginger cookies, mango coconut ice cream, and cayenne pepper chocolate cake were served for desert. Everything was well prepared and served at a time of our choosing, and the most striking thing was how fresh everything was. The thing I enjoy most about vegan food is the fresh veggies and fruits, and we definitely got that here. I was feeling quite healthy as well.

The Lake:
Lake Atitlan is surrounded by beautiful volcanoes, and the water was clear and wonderful during my visit in May. This B&B has a great view of the lake and access for swimming and boating. Apparently the lake is hundreds of feet deep, which makes sense when you see all the steep volcanoes surrounding it. It's the kind of water which is a bit cold when you climb in but then feels great for a swim. We were there just near the start of rainy season, and it did rain during some of the afternoons, but only one morning. I swam in the lake most mornings, and the view combines with the unique feel of the water to make you feel rejuvenated. Traci also has some Kayaks which we took out once, and she has a boat to take you to other towns on the lake.

The House:
Traci's house fits the lake. There are two guest rooms, and we stayed in the less expensive "garden view" room without much of a view. We were the only guests. I spent a lot of time in the living room reading and relaxing with Traci's two friendly cats. There's a piano and guitar which I played, and the acoustics are actually sort of incredible in her house due to the dome-like ceiling. There's a small hot tub outside, also with a great view, which we enjoyed quite a bit. We had a minor problem with the cold water in the shower, and Traci had it repaired professionally the same day we mentioned it. Driving to the house and around the lake in general was bumpy, but we were able to visit other towns easily by boat. Wifi was not fast but adequate, and you're on vacation so fast internet isn't really the point.

Activities:
We came for a 5-day stay with no real plan except to go to the wedding at the end. There was plenty to do. The highlights were to visit to San Juan to see natural died tapestries and paintings, an ridiculously intense hike up San Pedro volcano, kayaking, and getting thai massages by a masseuse who visited (which was necessary the day after the 7-hour volcano hike). There were a lot more towns on the lake which we could have visited, but we didn't have time. For all of the activities, Traci either took us herself or dropped us off, which was very convenient. This was necessary since I don't think most people rent cars when we visit Guatemala. Traci's partner Mark also provided transport from and to Guatemala City, and on the way out we had a nice visit to Antigua.

Overall, we felt like guests, the vacation was very fun and relaxing, and Traci made it really easy to go out and do stuff around the lake (and the activities were clearly and fairly priced). I'd go back for certain if we end up in the area again, and I'd consider making a special trip for another relaxing vacation.

Some tips:
-Go to bed early. Birds are loud at sunrise.
-Traci says the best weather is in November and December.
-We spent 2 nights at the beginning of our trip going to the Mayan ruins in Tikal. I'm sure you know it if you're going to Guatemala, but it's amazing and worth it, despite the required travel logistics to go there and then here.
-Only hike San Pedro if you really mean it, and only hike the Santiago side (better view on the way up) if you really really mean it. Our legs were sore for days, and we cancelled a tour the day after to rest.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Michael W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Traci S, Owner at Lake Villa Guatemala, responded to this review, May 30, 2013
Thank you for your thorough and thoughtful review. It's delightful to have guests who so completely enjoy the food, experiencing the lake, and everything else we have to offer.
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Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
37 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 6, 2013

We came across this place while looking to get away - anywhere - and thought what could be better than a few days on a lake at a vegan B&B. Traci (and Mark) are great fun, very knowledgable, helpful, and accomodating. The food was spectacular, and non-vegans who like GOOD FOOD will be quite content. The accomodations are modern, spacious, relaxing, and comfortable. While the location really is not near anything, that's kind of the point. Traci and her staff were always able to accomodate our plans and wishes to sightsee the various villages around the lake. This is unique location and a perfect place to spend a few days to really BE on vacation.

Room Tip: There are two rooms. The lake room is down 2 flights of stairs and has a beautiful view of the lake...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank DStraus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Traci S, Owner at Lake Villa Guatemala, responded to this review, May 30, 2013
So glad you enjoyed your stay. Yes, being away from it all is part of the joy of being here!
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Niagara
Level Contributor
83 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 27, 2013

I found this place on HappyCow and corresponded with Traci extensively before our trip. She was extremely helpful before and during our trip, to the extent that we felt that we had personal concierge service. Traci truly makes you feel at home, and you have full access to nearly the whole house. The house itself is beautiful and tastefully decorated, with space for exercise, interesting books, and views galore. There are stunning views of the lake from the lake view room. Boating to nearby villages (the most efficient means of transport) is easily and inexpensively arranged from your private dock. Supremely healthy, whole-food vegan cuisine is prepared with love and care. On the first evening, we were serenaded with a private concert by Traci and her musician-boyfriend Marc. Overall, this place offers exceptional value for money. As there are only two guest rooms, I strongly suggest that you book your visit now before there is a one year waiting list! This is not a mere hotel or guesthouse - you are Traci's personal guest in a journey of wellness.

Room Tip: Choose the lake-view room - you are at the lake, after all!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank dakm108
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tranaya, Owner at Lake Villa Guatemala, responded to this review, February 7, 2013
I'm so glad you and your family enjoyed your visit. It was lovely to have you here and to share the food, music, and Lake Atitlan with you!
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San Diego, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2012

The Lake Villa Guatemala experience was for me, moving, inspiring and great fun. From the authentically-prepared, vegan meals to the surprising insightful Cacao Shaman, I found my body, mind, and heart nourished and nurtured.

I came to Lake Villa Guatemala with an intention to compose music. As a busy musician, it’s easy to get stuck in regular routines and lose the creative edge that draws me to music in the first place. While there, I enjoyed the kayak rides, the visits to local Mayan markets, the delicious food, the sacred ceremonies… and something about the spirit of the place. I found my creativity flowering in the peaceful presence of something I can’t quite name. Not only did I compose some of my greatest works ever, these many months later, I find that same creative energy is still with me.

I highly recommend the Lake Villa Guatemala experience as is a rare opportunity to open yourself to receive beautiful gifts of spirit.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank JacquelineJax J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Traci S, Owner at Lake Villa Guatemala, responded to this review, February 7, 2013
It was a joy to have you here and help you take advantage of so much Lake Atitlan has to offer.

It has been a joy to see the creative spark that took hold here transform into your first CD!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Paltz, New York
Level Contributor
61 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2012

It's one thing to call Lake Atitlan the most beautiful lake in the world. It's another to see it. Stunning. I can only compare it to places like the Greek Islands and the towns that ring Richardson Bay in Marin County, California. But a lot more interesting!

The Lake Villa is a perfect place to enjoy the lake. Far enough away from everything to be quiet and tranquil, Close enough to visit any of the lake's fascinating indigenous villages via a short boat ride. (Boats are the best way to get around the lake.)

The proprietor Traci Styner is a fantastic vegan chef and her modern, spacious villa home is gorgeous. She's also very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the area and is a wealth of information you won't find in any guidebook. My first time at the lake and in Guatemala and it was great.

Room Tip: You can have a view of the garden or a view of the lake.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Tivolicat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Traci S, Owner at Lake Villa Guatemala, responded to this review, February 7, 2013
It was my pleasure to introduce you to Lake Atitlan and help make your visit to Guatemala special.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lake Villa Guatemala

Property: Lake Villa Guatemala
Address: Private Road, off Hwy 14 | 5 km from Santiago Atitlan, Santiago Atitlan 07019, Guatemala
Location: Guatemala > Western Highlands > Solola Department > Lake Atitlan > Santiago Atitlan
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Santiago Atitlan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 2
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On the shore of Lake Atitlan, surrounded by volcanoes in the highlands of Guatemala, lies a unique destination: Lake Villa Guatemala. A private lakefront villa/retreat with spacious guest rooms, luxurious grounds, beautiful views, thoughtfully prepared whole food (vegan) cuisine, and outstanding personalized attention. This is not a typical B&B: we work with you to create your perfect Lake Atitlan experience. We are in a private, quiet area: the ideal location for personal retreats. Rates include breakfast. Vegan lunch and dinner are available. We are about 10 minutes by car from the town of Santiago Atitlan. We can arrange private tours and excursions to introduce you to the beautiful areas around Lake Atitlan. We will also arrange your transportation to the lake. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Lake Villa Guatemala Santiago Atitlan, Lake Atitlan

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