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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

San Pedro, Lake Atitlan Christmas Day Pig Roast

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Living in one of the most gorgeous places on earth, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, is a real discovery.

People are friendly, weather is good, price of living is affordable, and the natural beauty is stunning. All around the lake are Mayan towns that dot the coast and go up into the volcanic hills. Each town is different for a variety of reasons and they will all capture your heart.

Christmas Day was coming up and we heard that Nestor from Smokin' Joes BBQ was going to do a Christmas Day Pig Roast.

Well, we just HAD to go.

We collected a group of friends, hired a private lancha and headed to San Pedro for the feast.

All aboard!!

Our friends from Holland, Peter (who is stepping into the boat) and Renzo were looking forward to the BBQ as well. Our boat driver, Andre, is ready to take us.

Billy bargained with the Captain for several days to get the right price. We ended up paying 400Quetzales for him to take us across the lake, wait for us, and take us back. We also promised to buy him lunch from Nestor's. So with the lunch included, the price came to a little over $63USD which was divided by everyone on the boat.

Pulling away from Pana

The day couldn't have been more perfect.

The whole week before Christmas, the winds blustered across the lake and through the town of Panajachel. It was invigorating, but chilly, and it would make the lake choppy when we crossed. We were all hoping for a break in the breezes for Christmas Day.

Wish granted!

Captain's view

The three volcanoes of Lake Atitlan are clearly seen here, Toliman and Atitlan on the left (one behind the other) and San Pedro on the right. We are headed to the town of San Pedro at the foot of the volcano, a little more to the right, outside the photo.

The rugged hillsides

85,000 years ago, the volcano that used to be right where we are boating, exploded fiercely. Magma chambers under volcanoes collect lava before the volcanoes blow, and this particular chamber was so big (about 18-20 kilometers in diameter), that geologists found ash as far away as Florida and Panama. A total of 270 cubic kilometers of volcanic debris was thrown out of the caldera, blanketing Guatemala with ash and rock, 200 meters deep in some places.

The eruption has been named the Los Chocoyos event after the birds that now burrow nest holes into the numerous deposits.

The Captain and the Kid

Billy has always made it a point to know the Captains of boats, the owners of businesses, and whomever might be in charge of any project. In this way, he knows who it is that makes the decisions about anything, and he begins there, at the top.


Andres left his family for the mid-afternoon to bring us to San Pedro, and would return with a fine meal to share.

Leaving Pana in our wake!

Panajachel is right in the center of the photo. To the left you will see three tall buildings known as The Riviera of Atitlan. Two of the buildings are hotel rooms, and the third building on the furthest left is a condo high-rise. There are manicured gardens, a swimming pool, and excellent views of the Lake.

A Motley Crew

Suzanne and Greg are up front on the left, Ron is speaking to Renzo, Peter is sharing the bench with me, and Diane is sitting right behind me. Of course, here I am pressing an acupuncture point on my wrist for seasickness and keeping my eye on the horizon! I have already used some special natural motion sickness drops behind my ears.

Hey! Whatever works!

Getting closer!

Blue, blue, blue. Everything is either blue or white.


Greg waves from the bow of the lancha

Having the time of his life, Greg is holding down the bow of the lancha as we motor across the lake.


Volcanoes Atitlan and Toliman, a closer view

The double peak of Volcano Atitlan, then Volcano Toliman behind it. The foot of Volcano San Pedro begins to the right, outside the photo.

The lake water sparkles from the sun. You can see how calm it is at the moment, but on our ride back in the lancha it was like riding a bucking bronco!

Billy driving the lancha

Billy loves the water and any chance he can get to drive the boat out on the lake, he does. Knowing the Captains, helps!

Entering the town of San Pedro

We are entering the town of San Pedro. Over the years, the Lake has been rising, and here in the center of the photo you see a home that is partially under water. This is visible all around the lake - boat houses, what-used-to-be-a-restaurant, sidewalks... all under water. This rising and falling of the Lake happens cyclically.

Supposedly, the Lake drains from a large fissure somewhere in the bottom. Due to regularly occurring earthquakes, sometimes the crack closes and the Lake rises. The natives just wait until a particular earthquake opens up the fissure again, and the water resumes draining.

Meanwhile, during the rising times, floating docks are put in, and structures are halfway under water.    

First stop, LuAnne!

We have arrived at the BBQ, and the first stop is to order our meal from LuAnne, Nestor's wife. The meal includes your choice of sides. It's a delicious and excellent deal!

A neighboring table in the shade

It was a hot day with a lot of direct sun. SHADE was at a premium.

As a comparison to Panajachel, San Pedro is filled with a younger crowd of Gringos. Usually tatted up, with a variety of piercings and lots of stylish and colorful dreadlocks piled high on their heads.

Nestor with the roasted pig

The Roasted Pig was the favorite of the day (and was only 65Quetzales, just under $9USD per plate), but you could get pork ribs, beef ribs, filet mignon, grilled chicken breasts with different marinades, hamburgers, pulled pork sandwiches and even grilled Dorado, a local fish.


Nestor prepares and ages all of his meats, so they are tender and delicious!

A variety of side orders are available also

Eggplant Parmesan, baked beans, and steamed green beans are some of the choices of sides you may have with your meal.

More choices!

Corn on the cob with butter, steamed potatoes, and either corn bread or grilled garlic bread.

You definitely don't go away hungry from Smokin' Joes BBQs!

Roast Pork plate

Eggplant Parmesan, Cole slaw, potato salad, and roasted pork with BBQ sauce.


For more stories about Guatemala, click here

To learn more about Guatemala as a retirement destination, click here

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on

Retire Early Lifestyle appeals to a different kind of person – the person who prizes their independence, values their time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly follow the crowd.

Billy and Akaisha continue to journal and photograph their world travels.

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