One year ago I traveled to Central America to learn Spanish and work with the Evangelical Methodist Church of El Salvador.
I had a life changing summer as I learned a new language, embraced a new culture, and made many new friends — both inside and outside of the church. I knew little about the countries I was headed to before I left. However, one friend told me that I HAD to make it to Lake Atitlán (Lago de Atitlán) while in Guatemala. This advice was confirmed when I found Lake Atitlan listed in the book “1000 Places to See Before You Die” while I was packing my bags.
My friends and I made it to Lake Atitlán. We were not disappointed. The crystal blue water of the lake fills the cone of a collapsed volcano, leading it to be the deepest lake in Central America. The lake is surrounded by three volcanoes and over a dozen villages in which Mayan culture still holds strong. Aldous Huxley once wrote of Atitlán, “Lake Como, it seems to me, touches on the limit of permissibly picturesque, but Atitlán is Como with additional embellishments of several immense volcanoes. It really is too much of a good thing.” There is no telling how many photos and paintings have been made of this beautiful place.
While the city of Panajachel is the hot-spot for most tourists in the area, we stayed in the village of Santa Cruz at La Iguana Perdida. Santa Cruz is only accessible by boat, and our hotel offered us spectacular views in a fun Euro-Hostel setting. Throughout our time on the lake, we traveled by boat to many of the villages, relaxed, and enjoyed perfect weather. My friends were also kind enough to spend sunrise and sunset alongside of me and my tripod.
I’ve included some of my favorite photos from Lake Atitlán below.
But before you look at them I’d love for you to know a little more about why I love photography. Lately, I’ve felt the need to more fully integrate my photography with the theological content of my blog. Perhaps one day I’ll write a post detailing how my photography fits into my work as a Christian and future pastor. For now, I’ll let this quote from John Calvin explain why I love taking photos, particularly ones of nature:
Wherever you cast your eyes, there is no spot in the universe wherein you cannot discern at least some sparks of his [God’s] glory. You cannot in one glance survey this most vast and beautiful system of the universe, in its wide expanse, without being completely overwhelmed by the boundless force of its brightness. The reason why the author of The Letter to the Hebrews elegantly calls the universe the appearance of things invisible (Heb. 11:3) is that this skillful ordering of the universe is for us a sort of mirror in which we can contemplate God, who is otherwise invisible. (Institutes, I.V.1)