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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.

On Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

(Pronounced: Lake Ah-teet-LAN, Gwah-tay-MAH-la)

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

The dock for San Pedro and San Marcos

The dock for San Pedro and San Marcos

Mornings on Lake Atitlan are generally placid with the water smooth as glass. There are two main docks to get from Panajachel where we live, to the any of the various towns across the water. The dock above goes to the larger towns of San Pedro and San Marcos, along with Santa Cruz, Tzununa, Pasaj Cap, Jaibalito and any of the private docks belonging to the homes on the lake.

 

Blue, blue, blue

Blue, blue, blue

25 Quetzales for foreigners and 10-15Qs for locals will get you on the launcha to cross the lake. These are mostly wobbly little boats that will hold 30+ people and the speed at which the boat goes depends on the cargo it carries.

Taking one of these boat trips is a good reason to mentally drift in the surrounding beauty.

Local fishermen

Local fishermen

Men still fish this lake which is anywhere from 1,000-2,000 feet deep. Their boats are even smaller, barely fitting 2 or 3 passengers with gear.

Sides of the caldera

Sides of the caldera

85 thousand years ago, the volcano here erupted spreading 270 cubic kilometers of debris and blanketed much of Guatemala with ash - 200 meters deep in some areas. The explosion was so large that the rock strata show Atitlan ash in places as far north as Florida, USA and as far south as Panama, Central America.

After exploding, the volcano collapsed and formed the Atitlan Caldera, which has filled to become Lake Atitlan.

Homes dot the sides of the caldera

Homes dot the sides of the caldera

Today, palatial private homes and their personal docks are scattered all along the sides of Lake Atitlan.

The lake is rising

The lake is rising

For the last two rainy seasons, the lake has been rising. Lake Atitlan is an endorheic basin which means there is no outlet for the water other than evaporation. Sometimes an earthquake will rattle the bottom of the basin and water will flow out through cracks made by this geological movement.

But as you can see by the halfway underwater boat house and the dock stop, that the basin cracks have been blocked, and evaporation hasn't kept up with the rainfall.

This happens every so often, but people still build close to the lake's edge.

Beautiful restaurant in Santa Cruz

Beautiful restaurant in Santa Cruz

This is The Lost Iguana (La Iguana Perdida) Restaurant in Santa Cruz. It is a delightful place to have breakfast, lunch, appetizers or a cup of coffee. Of course it shares the same stunning view of Lake Atitlan.

Club Ven Aca

Club Ven Aca

Club Ven Aca is a lovely hotel and restaurant. With an outstanding view of the lake, the restaurant bar is beautiful and serves up delicious, fresh cuisine. Want a cappuccino? A beer? A martini? This is the place to pass an afternoon or stay the night.

 

Lake side rock garden

Lake side rock garden

Botanical fantasies are fulfilled all along the caldera as rock gardens of various sizes bring beauty to the boat ride.

Frank Lloyd Wright style house

Frank Lloyd Wright style house

Before the lake rose so high, this home used to have a helipad right out front on the lawn. Now, it seems the lake is too near for the safety of the helicopter.

Simplicity

Simplicity

Here you see a little carved out section of the lakeside to dock private boats of a different kind. These tiny boats are called cayucos.

Little lakeside home

Little lakeside home

Here's a petite little place, but the view is still awesome. You can see how the water has risen. Question is, how much farther will the lake go up?

Beautiful stonework

Beautiful stonework

Millionaires are all facing the same problem with the lake rising. This home's boat house is halfway under water, but it looks like the home itself may have a couple of seasons left before the water will be at porch level.

Mesmerizing beauty

Mesmerizing beauty

Time to go home and we board another launcha. This young man is daydreaming amid the placid beauty that is Lake Atitlan.

We drift away too.

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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 RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, 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 Amazon.com.

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.

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