Casa Paloma--a

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Last updated: 12/23/2014

The property's calendar has not been updated in over 20 months. You can contact the owner for availability or look for properties with confirmed availability

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  • Minimum stay:Contact owner
  • Internet:Yes
  • Pets considered:Yes
  • Wheel chair accessible:N/A

Property description

Featured in the New York Times “Escapes” column, in 2007 as the retreat of a well-known American writer, Casa Paloma is the ideal getaway or honeymoon spot for a couple, a family with children looking for adventure, Spanish school and an introduction to Mayan culture, or two families or a group of friends vacationing together, in a place of virtually unparalleled natural beauty, rich in indigenous culture. The weather is never uncomfortably hot or humid, and the stars over the lake (or if you time your visit right, the moon) as clear as you have ever seen.

Located on the shore of one of the world’s most beautiful lakes, with great swimming , and spectacular views of three volcanoes and its own private dock, Casa Paloma offers a rare combination of first -world comfort with the charm and beauty of an unspoiled spot where your first experience every morning—as you sip your organically-grown Guatemalan coffee on the patio and slice a fresh mango or pineapple-- will be the sound of tropical birds on the balcony and the sight of fishermen in wooden canoes. The gardener brings fresh tortillas (made from blue corn, if you’re lucky) .

Our English-speaking property manager, Helmut, will arrange for your private transportation to the lake, stock the house with the basics, meet you on arrival, give you a cell phone to use while at the lake, and of course orient you to interesting things to do, restaurants, hikes and activities.

Situated on its own bay, a five minute walk to the charming Mayan village of San Marcos La Laguna --famed as a center for natural healing, yoga and massage—this home combines the pleasures of a peaceful getaway with easy access to the diverse culture of the lake and its markets, towns, indigenous weavers and painters, and hiking through spots of extraordinary natural beauty. You can choose to prepare meals at home or dine in any of a half dozen charming and unpretentious local restaurants, where a meal is likely to cost under $10.

The house—newly renovated and expanded by a prominent Guatemalan architect—is decorated with traditional textiles , a great library and local art and features spectacular lake views from every room: For a full description of rooms, email the owner. Home features a cathedral ceiling living room with fireplace, cathedral ceiling master bedroom with fireplace, opening onto balcony and a terrace with outdoor fireplace and outdoor shower, and master bath with huge tub. Sleeping/meditation loft; large kitchen equipped with modern appliances, guest room with private guest bath and separate patio. The kitchen opens onto a large dining room for cooler evenings, though you are likely to eat most meals on the large terrace with table that can seat ten—lined with roses , flowering vines and herb garden—overlooking the lake.

The house sits on an acre of landscaped gardens, featuring two waterfalls, fruit trees, an organic vegetable garden and dozens of rare exotic flowering plants and orchids, with a wood-fired pizza oven and outdoor fire pit.

Also on the property: a separate one-room thatch-roof ranchero, with double bed and meditation/sleeping loft, for watching the sunset, reading, or housing additional friends or family. Property comes with two gardeners, on duty daily, who will assist guests with bringing the kayak down to the water, fire up the sauna or pizza oven, or replace the bottled water from town. For those planning a longer stay, a once-a-week visit from a housekeeper is included in the rental . There is a third treehouse/guest house also available for a very large group for an additional fee.

Also available on occasion: Private catering of meals , who can also assist in locating a babysitter, private driver for excursions (if you can bear to tear yourself away) and answer questions about arranging for yoga or spanish classes, massage, guides, visits to local markets or Chichicastenango, volcano hike.

Home features satellite wireless internet, a washer and dryer, a safe to lock up valuables, and of course sheets, towels, and all the basics. Visits are one-week minimum, though guests have been known to stay as long as six weeks, and it is interesting to note that several former guests have subsequently purchased property in San Marcos.


Keywords: House

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Property Type

  • House

Accommodation Type

  • Vacation Rental


  • Children Welcome:

    Many families with young children have loved staying at Casa Paloma. Of course all usual safety precautions apply, though efforts have been made to childproof. Guests should note that there is not a shallow place to wade into the lake. Water is deep almost immediately upon entry, so parents of young children or non swimmers need to be watchful. Life vests are available for use at the house. ...moreless

  • Non Smoking Only
  • Pets Considered:

    There is a very sweet old dog, Ghandi, who lives on the property (but stays outdoors) and very child-friendly two guard dogs who are cared for by the gardeners....moreless

Bedrooms: 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 10, Beds for 8-10

  • Bedroom 1


  • Bedroom 2


  • Bedroom 3


  • Other (See Description)


  • Queen size Beds (2) Top quality mattress. Custom made bed in master bedroom is unusually high (to afford best volcano views) and features built-in steps, Double Beds (1) double bed in separate cabin/rancho overlooking the water, great for add, Twin or Single Beds (1), Child Beds (1), Sleep Sofa or Futons (1)...moreless

Bathrooms: 3 Bathrooms

Other Amenities

  • Wood-Fired Lakefront Sauna, Private Dock, two person kayak, outdoor wood fired pizza oven, wireless internet, detached guesthouse/treehouse and ranchero with daybed, waterfalls, gardens, fruit trees...moreless


  • CD Player


  • Restaurants
  • Zoo

Leisure Activities

  • Boating
  • Horseback Riding
  • Shopping
  • Sight Seeing

Location Type

  • Lakefront:

    Gorgeous lake views out every window. Sleep with the windows open and you will hear the lake . The swimming is great...moreless

  • Mountain View:

    Mountains and volcanoes visible outside every window and from terraces and decks....moreless

Sports & Adventure Activities

  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Parasailing
  • Snorkeling/Diving
  • Swimming


  • Clothes Dryer
  • Linens Provided
  • Mobile Phone:

    Owner provides Guatemalan cell phone for the use of guests (and returnable upon departure). Can be used to make or receive calls from US or in country, much more affordably than using an American cell phone...moreless

  • Telephone
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet:

    Wi fi in house (and on terraces)...moreless

  • Wood Fireplace
  • Wood Stove:

    Wood fired pizza oven and sauna in gardens...moreless


  • Catering Available:

    Property manager will cater meals if desired, or may be able to arrange for another local cook to prepare or deliver meals...moreless

  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Kitchen:

    fully stocked with spices, cooking utensils, dishwasher. great for cooking for a big crowd or intimate dinner...moreless

  • Refrigerator


  • Balcony
  • Deck / Patio:

    terrace overlooking the lake for outside dining, and a second large terrace on upper level , also balcony off the bedroom, and several levels of gardens on property...moreless

  • Gazebo:

    There is also a thatch roof rancho overlooking the lake, suitable for sleeping...moreless

  • Lanai / Gazebo
  • Outdoor Grill

Pool / Spa

  • Jetted Tub


Write a review 5
from 29 traveler reviews
1-4 guests ................. $ 1000/week.
5-7 guests ................. $1400/week
8-10 guests ................. $1850/week
Holiday rates apply Christmas, New Year's , and Semana Santa (Easter)$2000-2400

Note: Until confirmed, rates are subject to change without notice.

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The property's calendar has not been updated in over 20 months. You can contact the owner for availability or look for properties with confirmed availability



Mayan Ruins, Visiting Local Artisan Markets, Spanish Lessons, Yoga and Massage, bike rentals, horsebackriding, local women will cater pizza night on great outdoor pizza oven (or cook it yourself)


Owner info

Year Purchased: 2002

About the owner: I first travelled to Lake Atitlan in 1973, at age 20, and fell in love with the lake then, vowing to return, though another twenty eight years passed before I made my way back. In 2001, I travelled to San Marcos for what was meant to be a two day vacation, fell in love with the town , and decided to rent a house there for the next eight months. I wrote a novel there (The Usual Rules, published in 2003) and decided to buy a house. Since then I've returned multiple times a year--sometimes for no more than a week or two, often for months at a stretch. It is the place I feel most at home in the world, in many ways. I established a writing workshop there in 2002. This winter (2010) will mark the eighth year I've been helping American travellers discover Lake Atitlan. Over my years in San Marcos, and running the workshop, I have learned a lot about how to make the experience of spending time there as magical as possible. Coming to Guatemala is definitely not the same as travelling to a place like Hawaii or Florida. One thing that helps a lot: having someone help you settle in and point you in the right direction . For this reason, I am very happy to have enlisted the assistance of a wonderful couple, Niels and Lily, who live very close by and manage the property while I'm away. Because they are in the hotel business (running my favorite San Marcos hotel, Aaculaax), they are enormously experienced in helping travellers explore the area and pointing out little known treasures of the lake. Lily's an American (who first travelled to the lake as a tourist, and like so many of us, fell in love with the place.) She'll be meeting you on arrival, and assisting in your arrangements. You could not be in better hands.

Why the Owner Chose San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala:
Lake Atitlan is my favorite place on earth. The same aspects of live at the lake that can be challenging for some of us first-world types (how slowly things move, how un-modern it is) are the reasons why the experience is so precious. There is no television at my house, for a reason. (though there are many wonderful books ). I come to the lake to get away from all of that....and I do. I will add that every time I return from the lake, friends say I look ten years younger. I know I feel that way.

The Unique Benefits at this House:
Swimming, health treatments, swimming, gardens, fresh fruits and vegetables, swimming, saunas, markets, swimming.... Can you tell I love to swim? (Night swims under the stars, best of all. followed by a sauna.)

Contact us

Speaks: english

Guestbook comments from the owner

1 of 1


  • sleeping/meditation loft, extra bedroom with windowseat

    sleeping/meditation loft, extra bedroom with windowseat

  • Guest bedroom (opening into private guest patio and guest bath)

    Guest bedroom (opening into private guest patio and guest bath)

  • Dining room and view into kitchen

    Dining room and view into kitchen

VRBO #101621

This listing was first published here in 2006.

Date last modified - Sunday, August 21, 2016

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Member since: 2006
Speaks: english
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  • Response time Within an hour
  • Response rate 100%
  • Calendar last updated 12/23/2014

(917) 714-2833 (New York, USA)

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Casa Paloma--a

San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala #101621

3 BR  3 BA  Sleeps 10

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