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.
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
One of the great things about living on Lake
Atitlan in Guatemala is the proximity of the neighboring lakeside towns. Each
place captivates with their own flavor and personality, and are very different
one from the other. On this day, we decided to
visit San Marcos, well known for its New Age classes and hippie culture.
Come take a look!
Heading out across the volcanic lake
We caught an early launcha to cross
the lake from Pana to San Marcos. At 20 Quetzales per person one way (about
$2.50USD), we stopped at every small town and almost every private dock along
the ride to our destination. The day was pristine and the stops were all a
pleasant part of the
As befitting our trip for the day, notice the
peace symbol on the motor housing.
Our Captain, Antonio, in his hoodie
It is common practice here in Guatemala for
children to learn a trade from their parents beginning when they are quite
young. Antonio, our Captain, told us he was 18 and had been driving this boat
since he was 7 years old. He displayed a no-nonsense, I'm-in-charge, responsible
attitude - which, for a Captain - felt just fine. Especially since we're on a
lake that is somewhere between 1,000 - 2,000 feet deep, depending on who you
Blue skies, blue water, ancient volcanoes
to drift along with one's thoughts - or lack of them - when boating on the lake.
The beauty is mesmerizing.
Volcano is on the right and Volcanoes Atitlan and Toliman (in front) are on the
beautiful lake itself is about 12 miles long by 6 miles wide.
Grand homes on the sides of the caldera
There are some beautiful homes on the side of
this caldera, and some are only reachable by boat. Here you see a rambling house
with a private dock. Many residents also have their own launchas as you
see here in the lower left hand side.
A couple of homes together
Here are a few more homes grouped together
with perhaps a guest cottage, a rental or a mother-in-law cottage down by the
lake. Beautiful volcanic stone is used for the fences and walls. A private dock and a
launcha is on the lower left. Notice the blue and white Guatemalan flag
above the small boat.
Billy made friends with Captain Antonio, and
the Captain offered to take a photo of Billy driving the boat. When we saw Billy at the
helm, we all joked that we should put our life jackets on! With no power
steering, guiding the boat took more strength than one would have initially thought.
Helen and Akaisha smile for the camera
We must have made six or more stops along the
edge of the lake with passengers coming and going at each one. The mornings can
be chilly on the water and you will notice the clear plastic at the windows that
cut down on the breeze and water spray into the boat.
The breeze blows through my hair
Eventually, it was more important to us to
see the scenery than to stay protected from the chill. We rolled and tied the long plastic window
cover at each bench. Captain Antonio wanted us to be sure
the plastic was evenly rolled up and not haphazard. He runs a tight ship!
Pink paradise at water's edge
In the last several years, Lake Aititlan -
which is an endorheic lake - has been rising. Previous earthquakes have cracked the
lakebed and allows surface drainage but this drainage seems to be a cyclic phenomenon.
Currently, there are boat houses and dock platforms that are under water and
some beach areas have disappeared.
The colors during winter
Rainy season is in the
summer months and the winters are beautiful, clear and dry. The colors of the
flora lose their brilliance but the contrast of the gray, sage and sand brown
are still beautiful against the evergreen trees and deep blue waters.
Flowers and produce in San Marcos
Tiny markets line the pathway from the dock
to the main part of town where residents can purchase mainstays like fruit, eggs
and flowers. Larger markets are available in more populated Panajachel.
Contributing to the household
through work is
a solid value in Guatemala. These boys have crates of tomatoes and are carrying
them to the simple markets on this small walkway. Since their heads were down,
they did not see me, and my walking between them was like threading a needle.
Why didn't I just step aside to let them pass? Because when I turned around, they were a foot
in front of me and there was no escape!
I lifted my arms and "thought skinny." As you
see, we all survived!
This small gray sand beach is still above
Tourists and locals swim in this refreshing
lake and enter from a dock or a beach like this one. Some prefer not to swim
saying the lake is polluted. Opinions seem to differ on the health of this lake
from year to year.
Cheeseburger in Paradise
A friend of ours owns The Dragon Hotel and
Restaurant, so we all visited his place for lunch. Here is his Dragon
Cheeseburger with sautéed potatoes, salad and guacamole.
Million Dollar View
No matter where you look at the lake, it's
exquisite. This particular view is from one of the Dragon Hotel's platforms and
shifting clouds, the mist, the seasons and time of day, the vista constantly
For more stories about Guatemala,
To learn more about Guatemala as a retirement
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
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.