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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.

A Taste of Paradise

Jaibalito, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

(Pronounced: High-bah-LEE-toh)

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Every little town in the nooks and crannies around Lake Atitlan offers something worthwhile to see. Some villages are traditional and undeveloped, while others focus on the tourist trade for income. Anywhere around the Lake one will have spectacular views. Boutique hotels, restaurants and spas abound.

Take a look at one such graceful restaurant in Jaibalito.

Map of Lake Atitlan

Map of Lake Atitlan

Not far from Panajachel is a village called Jaibalito. It was a 10Q (about $1.25USD) boat ride which took us there.

Billy waits for the launcha to leave

Billy waits for the launcha to leave

After almost a week of unusual weather, high winds and even rain, the sky broke open this morning, so we decided to head out for Jaibalito.

There are "milk runs" up and down the Lake - certain towns where the boats several times a day. If you want to visit one of the smaller villages not on the run, you must let the captain know.

The young boy behind the post where Billy's hand rests is fishing with a line, no pole.

Miguel, Antonio's brother

Miguel, Antonio's brother

This particular boat and its business is run by three brothers. Antonio took us to San Marcos a few days previously, Poncho was the captain of the boat today, and Miguel, shown here, was helping out.

The front of this home is all windows

The front of this home is all windows

Spacious homes with gardens dot the shores of Lake Atitlan. No matter how many times we cross the Lake, the beauty continues to be enchanting.

 

Built on Volcanic rock

Built on Volcanic rock

These homes are built right on the ledge of the caldera. Private boat houses and docks are below.

A closer view

A closer view

You can see the volcanic stone that makes up the both walls and arches that define the property here.

The dock at Jaibalito

The dock at Jaibalito

We arrived at one of the docks in Jaibalito. Apparently, a delivery was made previously and now these items must make their way to stores, hotels and restaurants in the town.

 

A local fisherman

A local fisherman

This young man was thrilled to have caught these fish, which he planned to have for lunch. We continue to ask the locals if the water is clean enough in which to swim, and obviously, many of them still eat the fish which swim here. Most locals assure us that common sense prevails. There are clean locations and ones where no one would consider swimming.

Sandra spins away the peel of the orange

Sandra spins away the peel of the orange

In the sweetest voice you'd ever hear, Sandra asked us if we wanted an orange. Set up outside her home, she has a basket of citrus, her peeling machine, a special mix of spice (on the plate) and salt. She peels the orange, cuts it in half and then sprinkles both salt and spice on the open faces. You can have your orange in this local fashion, or simply say you'd like it "natural."

Our three guides

Our three guides

From the dock, we walked straight up the path into the village and realized that we didn't have the name of the hotel/restaurant where we wanted to visit. No problem! Just ask a few locals and they arrive out of the woodwork to become our guides. The young boy on the left jumped to the occasion to earn a few Quetzales and led us down a teeny dirt walkway. As we walked, it didn't take long for the other two boys to join in on the venture. The "smell of money" was motivation!

These kids were great. Polite, friendly, and respectful, they brought us right to the gate of where we wanted to go.

Hot tub, infinity pool, private dock, garden setting

Hot tub, infinity pool, private dock, garden setting

 

 

 

 

The dock where we had arrived is not seen here, but is located further to the right of this photo on the Lake. Not knowing where we were going, we actually made a big circle from where we were dropped off by the launcha. We're happy to have been able to see the village and visit with some of the locals in town. All we needed to say was that we were looking for a hotel/restaurant with a pool, and the boys brought us right here.

Volcanic stone bar, fully stocked

Volcanic stone bar, fully stocked

You could get anything here you would like at this bar. Cappuccinos, wine, beer, spirits and sodas were all available. But first, we wanted to take a look around.

A closer look at the infinity pool, wrought iron gate on right

A closer look at the infinity pool, wrought iron gate on right

We had been attempting to arrive at this hotel for several days and the strange weather had blown in almost the whole week previous. This morning we woke up to the power being turned off all around the lake, but the skies were blue and beckoned us out onto the water. We decided to take our chances and hope that the restaurant had back up means to cook our lunch.

 

Another spectacular view

Another spectacular view

This expansive patio is above the bar and restaurant area. Tables and chairs are available here to enjoy this remarkable view.

Salad Nicoise with seared sesame encrusted tuna

Salad Nicoise with seared sesame encrusted tuna

We decided to order one entree and one salad and share between us. The greens were fresh and tasty, the tuna was awesome and the dressing was light and perfectly made.

Whole fish, full plate

Whole fish, full plate

In many countries, fish is served whole on the plate. Unless the menu says "filet of fish" one might expect it to be served in this manner. Vegetables were fresh, the potatoes had a light cheese covering and mango salsa topped the fresh flounder.

Toliman Volcano on the left, San Pedro Volcano on the right

Toliman Volcano on the left, San Pedro Volcano on the right

 

 

 

 

Another wooden pier juts out into the water from the shore. If you would like a launcha to pick you up and take you to any other town on the lake, simply stand out on the pier and wait for one to pass by in the direction you are going. Then you flag it down, jump in and off you go!

Most rides around the lake run from about $1.25USD to about $4.50USD one way.

Our boat stops by another private pier

Our boat stops by another private pier

Lake Atitlan attracts international families and businesses. Here a young foreigner prefers the view from the bow. Most likely, she attends the international school in Panajachel and will grow up learning at least three languages; her native tongue (which could be German or Dutch), English and Spanish.

It is very common to see children take the boats from their village and head on to Pana to sell wares from their town. They could travel alone or in pairs.

On our way home from Jaibalito, a young Maya boy, 7 or 8 years old, hopped on the boat and sat by a Gringo he knew from the town of Jaibalito. The Gringo knew the boy, but did not see his family so he was concerned for the boy's safety thinking the child was tagging along with him. The man's Spanish was limited and he asked anyone who could understand him about this boy's plight what he should do about the kid. But the captains seem to know which children belong to what families around the lake, and if they happen to be traveling alone, they keep an eye out for them. That's the captain's job!

All of this goes along without much fanfare and this particular passage was a non-event. It turned out that his family was indeed seated in the stern of the boat watching over him.

For more stories about Guatemala, click here

To learn more about Guatemala as a retirement destination, click here

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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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