A Glimpse of Guatemala

Nature’s Window. Lake Atitlan and San Pedro, framed by foliage, as seen from halfway up Volcan San Pedro.

By Alyssa Belford, M1, 2023

Spring break for Alyssa Belford came with an opportunity to explore another part of the world. Experience some of the sights from this year’s cohort of students who traveled abroad to Guatemala. From the picturesque views, to candid moments of daily life, Alyssa’s photos help bring us all to this place between the waters.

Another Day's Work(1)

Another Day’s Work. A pair of Guatemalan gentleman work together to bring a local boat to the dock for passengers to board. These boats were a primary mode of transport of people traveling across Lake Atitlan to surrounding cities. Their expertise made traversing the lake look easy even when, like my group, you wait until far too late into the evening and the water turns turbulent and choppy.


Precious cargo(1)

Precious cargo. Tuk tuks are a major mode of transport within the community and serve as a convenience for tourists and residents alike. With a poorly defined passenger limit and remarkable handling, tuk tuk’s are equally exhilarating and terrifying. A personal anecdote: a young man named Antonio was my tuk tuk driver one night, and despite my rudimentary knowledge of his language we became quick friends. While my Spanish was fragmented and childish at best, our humanity connected us: the joy of communicating even the simplest of phrases correctly; shared laughter as I tried to speak far above my skill level; the appreciation of a shared goodbye, spoken in the other’s language. If there was any doubt in my mind, this interaction with Antonio convinced me: it is indeed the small things that connect us all.


Nature's Window(1)

A View From the Birds. A small window of the view from the top of Volcan San Pedro, the inactive volcano that the San Pedro community is nestled next to. Seen in this photo are Volcan Atitlan and the town of Santiago. As someone who values health and fitness, this hike destroyed me. I could hardly walk for two days after. But it was undoubtedly worth it. A view like this is from the birds.


On a Mission in San Marcos(1)

On a Mission in San Marcos. Dr. Mendez leads us through a shortcut on our way to a hospital in San Marcos. Are we working, or adventuring? You decide.


Silent Sentinels(1)

Silent Sentinels. We often had the opportunity to explore San Pedro in the evenings. This photo was taken in the back of a local pub, which housed a beautiful dock and a view of the infamous Lake Atitlan. It was impossible to spend time in San Pedro, one of several towns that have settled by the lake, and not appreciate the towering volcanoes that have made permanent residence on the lake’s perimeter; their peaks were often lost to the clouds.


Life in Color(1)

Life in Color. The liveliness of this scene struck me: people talking, tuk tuk’s buzzing off with loud and expectant passengers, merchants convincing passerby’s to stop in and browse; laughter, conversation, noise, life. A picture that can almost be heard, if you look hard enough.

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