Lake atitlan tours

Lake Atitlan Guatemala Medicinal Tour

Are  you interested in the natural healing powers of plants? Join ‘Grow Your Own Cure’ for a 1-day Lake Atitlan Guatemala Medicinal Tour adventure that is designed to introduce you to Mayan indigenous healer’s wisdom about traditional healing herbal remedies and healing arts in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala.

From the beginning of time, plants have played a significant role in human affairs, influencing medicine and healthcare. Participants will explore the medical gardens in San Pedro, San Juan, and San Marcos, meet with local indigenous healers, and learn about the history, cultivation and role medicinal plants play in health and healing. Continue reading

Guatemala Stopped Monsanto, Assault continue on U.S. Farmers

Guatemalan court suspends “Monsanto Law”. The Guatemala Court’s decision was adopted one day after several parliamentarians expressed their willingness to consider a derogation, given the rejection of the law throughout the country. Both the governing Patriotic Party (PP) and the opposition party Renewed Democratic Freedom (Lider) announced that they would present motions to the plenary of the Legislative Body to prevent the law coming into force on 26 September. –
Lake Atitlan Weather 2014

Lake Atitlan Weather 2014

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Guatemala The Good and The Very Very Bad

I decided to write this blog post about Guatemala using a headline that would perhaps draw a great deal of attention or interest. Guatemala seldom is gifted with the Good and mostly the Very Very Bad.

Guatemala The Very Bad is in most cases information which comes from sources like the US State Department that has some form of criteria to inform potential travelers of the dangers of Guatemala. I wonder if the authors of these reports have ever been to Guatemala, or these formed opinions are from an informed collection of Data from the NSA.

Then again Guatemala has never had shootings of their children in schools. Perhaps a Guatemala State Department Report on the dangers of travel to the US might read like this. Do not go to Movie theaters, attend School events, large gathers of Politicians and use any form of mass transit, in general stay in your over prices hotel room. You will be safe.

Guatemala The Very Bad also comes in the form of Travel review on web sites like TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet, Please note Lonely Planet is about 2 years behind the times in current or miss-accurate information about Guatemala. Guatemala is not a country for everyone. In particular travelers that think when they arrive all Guatemalan’s need to convert to their life style, needs, thinking and wants. The results are plastered on the pages of Travel Review sites of the miss adventures of Travelers that find themselves in positions they find un comfortable or unaccustomed with which turns into a negative review. Rather to enjoying the culture of Guatemala.

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Guatemala News, Crime and Tourism

Guatemala News, Crime and Tourism, Guatemala as told by the world media is cursed with reports of Crime and and Crimes against Tourists. Living in Guatemala and enjoying the country and often write about my experiences. Thus this blog is to bring a view of facts. Not about some Tourist who had a bad experience on a Chicken Bus on Trip Advisor or Lonely Planet.

Trip Advisor and in particular Lonely Planet which is always 2 years behind the facts both continue to be a source of both negative and glowing comments about Guatemala. Sadly the negatives appear to be the focal point of interest for Travellers.

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D’Noz Restaurant is located in the village of San Pedro on Lake Atitlan

D’Noz Restaurant is located in the village of San Pedro on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. How you reach this fine eatery you will take a boat or launch from Panajachel which is the main dropping off point for all travelers coming to lake Atitlan.

You can ask anyone in Pana as the city is called for the Launch to San Pedro as there are two launch areas in Pana. You can take the express launch which costs 25Q. Or you can take the more picturesque boat ride and stop at all the village on route to San Pedro. Either way the trip is about half an hour across the lake.

When you reach San Pedro you will be dropped off at the bottom of a very steap hill or street which heads into the main section of San Pedro. D’Noz Restaurant is on your right hand side as you leave the launch about 100 feet from the boat docks up the hill.

D’Noz Restaurant is the taste of San Pedro in my opinion. Prices are 40Q for an amazing lunch from the biggest burger I have ever eaten to a variety of Chinese food. All excellent.

For evening tastes of D’Noz Restaurant order the Steak, you will find if you have traveled in Central America Beef can be a challenge to cut through. At D’Noz Restaurant the steaks come medium and are like butter to the taste and to cut.

Service is great, the same staff has been at D’Noz Restaurant for years. On weekends D’Noz Restaurant offers an amazing fish fry on friday nights which is a must again. Great prices and the food.


For More Lake Atitlan Restaurants

lakea titilan chart

Guatemala – Travel Safety Over Sensationalism

The article excerpt below has created a storm of comments and opinions through Facebook back to the site that posted this article about Guatemala Travel and Safety. Since Monday of this week almost 15,000 Facebook fans, friends and enemies have read this article and made comments about the author and his opinions.

Now I know the author, I maintain his web site for him. Lee is his name and he runs a travel and tour business in Lake Atitlan. Since his early beginnings in Lake Atitlan Lee and his wife have with great respect of the local community built a business out of all local relationships. Lee takes great care of managing and respecting his place as an outsider in Lake Atitlan.

Lake Atitlan Guatemala – Safety Over Sensationalism

Guatemala, one of the world’s great travel destinations, is often singled out for violent crime without telling the whole story. While there is sporadic violence along parts of the country,  Key tourism areas of Antigua, Rio Dulce, Tikal and Lake Atitlan Guatemala are not only safe, but safer than many other popular tourism areas.

Now for my view of those that have read and commented on this article above. I am an American that for that last 10 years of my life I have found myself enjoying Guatemala and all of Central America. Yes Guatemala has a crime problem, mostly in Guatemala City. Drugs and Poverty drive the needs of others to take from those in what ever means they desire. In Lee’s article he was chastised in comments for voicing his opinion about safety in Guatemala and comparing Guatemala to other countries.

Let us briefly compare Guatemala to the US for example, I have not seen an article in Guatemala splashed across the Newspapers front pages of shootings at Movie Theaters, Children gunned down in School classrooms by out of control US gun laws. Have you?

Guatemala has Tourism, Coffee and growing pains. Sadly while tourism has great benefits it also has great harm. Visitors to Guatemala who have had an experience of some kind love to Write on Tripadvsor and Loney Planet about the negatives for example of riding on a Chicken Bus. An experience I love and enjoy weekly in my life in Central America.

If we continue to talk about the problem, then it will remain a problem. If this article is anything it is an inspiration for all to make change. Stop bitching do something. Or hide behind your comments.


Guatemala Journey From Tree to Coffee | La Voz Coffee Cooperative

Last weekend I had the privilege of visiting La Voz Cooperative, a coffee cooperative, that is located in the stunningly beautiful Lake Atitlan region of the Western Highlands of Guatemala.  Lake Atitlán provides an ideal environment for growing coffee—the region has a cooler climate than most other parts of Guatemala, there is plentiful and consistent rainfall each year, and the area is surrounded by the rich soils of the Atitlán, Toliman and the San Pedro volcanoes.

Since moving to Guatemala a year and a half ago, I have discovered all the wonderful things Guatemala has to offer.  From picturesque Mayan ruins and steaming volcanoes, to lush jungles and beaches to the warm indigenous culture and its range of breathtaking scenery—Guatemala offers an incredibly rich and distinctive culture.

Guatemala is also known for producing some of the best coffee in the world.  Large coffee fincas can be found in many parts of Guatemala.  Smaller-hold Guatemala coffees come from cooperatives like La Voz, in Lake Atitlán, that run their own mills.  They market their coffee under the poetic name “La Voz que Clama en el Desierto.”

Coffee Plants at La Voz

Coffee begins as a fruit. It takes three to five years for trees to produce the round berries that start out green and ripen red.

What is unique to La Voz Cooperative is that they grow their crops in harmony with nature without the use of harmful chemicals.  Their coffee is grown high in the mountains, 4,300 – 6,500 feet above sea level, where the forest canopy shades the coffee plants to protect them from bitterness.

La Voz Cooperative is made up of the communities of the indigenous Tzutujil, Kakchiquel and Quiche Mayan people who have been cultivating coffee in this region for the past 90 years. They are skillful producers dedicated to community collaboration and growing certified organic coffee.

Harvesting usually begins in November and runs through February.  Walking along the roadside you can see thousands of hectares of coffee trees covering the lush mountain sides all needing to be handpicked. Yes, you heard me correctly, harvesting is done by handpicking. Each tree is picked NUMEROUS times during harvest season. The fruit must be processed the same day it is picked otherwise the beans inside may spoil.

This time of year in Guatemala the seasons are changing. We move from the rainy to the dry season, which means hot sunny days with blustery winds and high UV levels.  This drier environment is necessary to dry the coffee cherries outside in the sun.

Different Stages of Coffee Beans Drying

Different Stages of Coffee Beans Drying

After Colombia, Guatemala ranks second in the world in the amount of high-grade coffee it produces, and has the highest percentage of its crop classified as “high quality” by world-wide buyers.

Coffee Beans Drying

Concrete or clay patios are most common in Guatemala. They allow producers to dry large amounts of coffee at a time on an easily raked surface.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world, after oil. It is estimated that the global coffee industry earns in excess of $60 billion dollars annually, yet less than 10% of those earnings end up in the countries where the coffee is produced, and slightly less than 0.5% of the total earnings translate into wages for those who actually labor to produce the coffee. For every $3.25 latte sold in the U.S., approximately 1 penny of that goes to the workers who do the actual work of growing and harvesting the coffee beans.

Coffee Beans Drying

Once the coffee beans are clean, they are spread out on a flat surface where the warm Guatemalan sun dries them. To ensure consistency of the coffee, the beans must be turned constantly by using rakes during the drying process.

In Guatemala, it’s a culture of friendly people who are always smiling.

The dried beans are sacked.

The dried beans are sacked.

The beautiful face of woman who dedicates herself to the work of planting and harvesting coffee beans.

Second-quality beans are of a darker color even when dry, and are taken out and consumed locally.

Second-quality beans are of a darker color even when dry, and are taken out and consumed locally.

I am so grateful to La Voz Cooperative in San Juan La Laguna, Sololá Guatemala and the incredibly hard-working, but grateful farm workers who welcomed us into their life for a day.  The journey from tree to cup is incredibly time consuming.  I hope this blog enlightens you on the amount of labor that goes into the steaming cup of coffee you enjoy every day.

Lake Atitlan Coffee Tour





Guatemala Living

Guatemala Living is a topic of great on-line conversation and debate. Having written over 900 original articles about Guatemala Living including topics about, Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Livingston, Monterrico and Tikal I feel I have the right to talk about bloggers that go on line to talk about Guatemala Living.

Guatemala Living Blogs

Most blogging about Guatemala Living is done by those that own a business and are self promoting there own interests to draw attention to there business through the use of blogs. It is a free world so blog away. The annoyances I find with these bloggers is the fact that little research is done about topics, mostly cut and paste from other articles. Take a trip, go to a Finca, meet local people and before you write a word truly get to know Guatemala.

Guatemala Living and Ex Pats, well I have a mixed opinion about Ex Pats writing about Guatemala Living. I have great friends in Guatemala that over the years I have helped with there own web sites Blogs giving suggestions on topics, ideas for travel and use photos. Not stock images go out and take a picture of something special in Guatemala.

George at Georges Travel Club, Nancy from Guatemala Reservations, Lee at Lake Atitlan Travel Guide are purest Bloggers. They being Ex Pats write about there real experiences of Guatemala Living. George and Lee are amazing writers, Nancy while long winded sorry Nancy, all cover and express different yet amazing points of view about Guatemala Living.

Guatemala Living

They all own business’s in Guatemala and respect the gifts Guatemala has given them as business owners. Each in there own way have built over the years business interests which started from at first coming to and experiencing Guatemala Living.

Take Elizabeth Bell with Antigua Tours as an example of a person that has taken Guatemala Living and taken it to the highest level of community interest through her business. Walk into Elizabeth Bell’s Antigua Tours office and you will find the walls adorned with awards, letters and support from all over the world in the work Antigua Tours and Elizabeth Bell has done to maintain the heritage of Antigua Guatemala. Does Elizabeth Bell blog no, she is very active on Facebook.

Blogging about Guatemala Living is not an easy task to have your articles found on line or in fact anyplace at all. Bloggers often think I have a blog and I will be found on-line. Perhaps after 200 original blog articles on very specific topics will result in a few second or third page placements in search engines. Or asking your friends on Facebook to follow your blogs well they will tire of that quickly.

Guatemala Living is a great topic to write about if you have the experience of Guatemala Living not from behind the gated communities of Antigua.

coffee lake atitlan

Lake Attilan Guatemala Best Organic Coffee

Lake Attilan Guatemala Best Organic Coffee I have ever drank we found in San Juan La Laguna which is a ten minute walk from the village of San Pedro in Lake Atitlan Guatemala is a must see.

Traveling to Lake Atitlan and searching for those hidden gems of real coffee co-ops can be hard to find. The season is short and when the coffee is not being harvested these co-ops are closed for the most part.

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For those that truly love Organic coffee and want the real experience not another tour Cooperative La Voz Que Clama En El Desierto in the village of San Juan La Laguna which is a ten minute walk from the village of San Pedro in Lake Atitlan Guatemala is a must see.

For years I have looked around Lake Atitlan for Organic Coffee Fincas, I wanted to see the real thing. With Coffee harvest running from December till March it is sometimes hard to find these Co-ops around the lake.

To reach this small Co-Operative you need to take a boat from Panajachel to San Pedro on Lake Atitlan. Panajachel which  is a town in the southwestern Guatemalan Highlands, less than 90 miles from Guatemala City, in the department of Sololá. It serves as the administrative centre for the surrounding municipality of the same name.

From San Pedro you can walk which takes about ten minutes or take a Tu-Tu from San Pedro to the village of San Juan. Ask anyone in San Juan about the Co-Operative and they will direct you.

We were fortunate to have Alex with us from Kayak Guatemala who more or less paved the way for us to have complete freedom to explore the co-op and ask questions. While many want to go to the Coffee Tours of Antigua this is the real thing. This is a production facility not a tourist destination.

Andres Cotuc manages the operations and after yes a cup of this years harvest of Lake Atltian Organic Coffee, roasted on site we were allowed to go crazy with our camera. With respect to the woman working in our photo’s were all asked permission. Take that as a note when and if you make it to this co-op.

We then were allowed to head out to the fields to see coffee beans on the trees. The co-op is large and is nestled into the side of the mountains with coffee plans shaded by huge trees. Part of the great coffee growing process.

There is not price for touring the facility that we could see. Coffee is for sale ground or whole beans.

I finally found that cup of coffee I have been looking for in Guatemala.

San Juan La Laguna Coffee

Lake Atitlan Tours

Come visit Lake Atitlan Guatemala in January and save BIG

Come visit Lake Atitlan Guatemala in January and save BIG.  Discounts for one week only; January 18 – 26, 2014.  This complete package includes everything; airport pick-up, transfers to Lake Atitlan, deluxe overnight accommodations in Santa Cruz la Laguna, ALL meals, ALL activities, ALL tours and excursions.  Come and stay for the entire week, or for a few days.

January 18 – 26, 2014 – Complete package from $149.00 per person per day, or $1192.00 for the entire itinerary.


·               Airport transfer from airport to Lake Atitlan. Overnight at Lake Atitlan.

DAY 1, SUNDAY – Jan. 19


·         After breakfast we take a leasurely kayak excursion around Santa Cruz.  This is a great morning activity that allows you to view the lake and the surrounding mountains. This is not a challenging activity.  Later we explore the village of Santa Cruz and visit two non-profit foundations to see how they are helping improve the lives of the local Maya.

In the afternoon visit the Atltan Nature Reserve.  You can hike the nature trails and enjoy the zip lines.

Overnight at Lake Atitlan.

DAY 2, MONDAY – Jan. 20


·         After breakfast, make your way to the boat dock in front of your hotel for a 3-Village Private Boat Tour. This spectacular full day trip will take you from one end of the lake to the other. You will visit the villages of San Marcos, San Juan, Santiago, with time to explore each village. Easy walking is involved and the trip is approximately 8 hours.

·         The day begins in Santa Cruz where you depart for the west end of the lake. You get to see the villages of El Jaibalito, Tzununa, San Marcos, and San Pablo as you make your way along the north shore. Your first stop is San Marcos, where you stop for swimming and optional cliff jumping. Then you will depart the north shore for San Juan, the “Swiss village” of Lake Atitlan. You will spend approximately 3 hours on a guided walking tour and visit art galleries, two woman’s weaving cooperatives, a medicinal and curative plant garden. Enjoy lunch at a local comedor to sample the local foods.

·         Several famous painters are from San Juan so you will also visit their galleries to see them at work. Women Weavers and Nuestra Artesania includes demonstrations showing how the beautiful fabrics are made; from harvesting the cotton, to spinning it into yarn, dying the yarn, and then creating one of-a-kind fabrics with the back strap loom. The Qomaneel center is a medicinal and curative herb garden operated by the midwives of San Juan.  You are guided through the garden and given samples of each plant along with a description of its curative powers. There are no entrance fees at the cooperatives. Your gift purchases or donations are how these centers function.

        •        Your third stop is Santiago. The bay of Santiago is a photographer’s dream. We take a tour along the shore of the bay before we start our walking tour. Your first stop is a visitor center that offers insight into the life of the Tzutujile Maya. There are interpretive displays on the history of the traje (traditional clothing), spiritual beliefs and Maximon. We have lunch before we tour the local church and visit Maximon. The Mayan visit Maximon to ask for healthy crops, to help cure illness, to find love, or to cast a spell on a neighbor. Be sure to buy some candles, cigarettes, or liquor to make your own offering!!! A small fee is required for admittance.

 Overnight at Lake Atitlan.

DAY 3, TUESDAY – Jan. 21


After breakfast, the day begins in Santa Cruz and the start of our 3-4 -hour hike.  You can either hike or drive. Visit the village of Santa Cruz la Laguna and then head high into the mountains. You hike along ancient paths that have been used by the Kachekel Maya for centuries.  You will view villagers going about their daily life, encounter farmers tending their maize and coffee fields, and see some of the most magnificent scenery in the world.  You can visit a sacred Mayan site where rituals are performed by the local shamans, and make your own offering at the alter.

This rugged and remote area has barely been touched by the outside world.  Our hike takes us 2500 feet above the waters of Atitlan for breath taking views and pristine scenery.

It is a difficult walk/climb, but is not overly challenging for those in good health.  The walk is approx. 4 hours through magnificent scenery. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way, or in a local comidor (included).  You walk though a remote Mayan village high in the mountains where we find the road. There we take a collectivo (shared van/pick-up) the last few miles into Solola.  You visit the second largest market in Guatemala, then return via chicken bus or pick up into Panajachel and then Santa Cruz. On the return, we stop at Crossroads Café to sample some of the best coffee in the world.  All the coffees served are from Guatemala.

Overnight at Lake Atitlan. 

DAY 4, WEDNESDAY – Jan. 22


·         After breakfast, meet at the dock to gear up for a day of adventure.  It is best to wear your swimsuit or other appropriate boating atire as you will get wet along the way.  We supply dry sacks for your backpacks and other gear for the second part of the day. Be sure to bring your camera, drinking water, and some sunscreen.

We paddle for 1 ½ -2 hours along the shores of Santa Cruz la Laguna, El Jaibalito, and Tzununa, ending in San Marcos.  You will have many up close encounters with Mayan men who fish from hand hewn cayukas as they have for centuries.  You will feel privileged to share the lake with these proud fishermen who make Lake Atitlan so unique. You paddle along rugged cliff faces filled with exotic plant and bird life.  You have the opportunity to swim and cliff- jump into the crystal clear waters, or just enjoy a swim and sun. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way, or in a local comidor (included).

We pull into the Bay of San Marcos and gear up for the next part of our adventure. The  north shore of Lake Atitlan has no true road access, so you will be hiking along ancient paths that have been used by the Maya for centuries.  You will view villagers going about their daily life, encounter farmers tending their maiz and coffee fields, and see some

of the most magnificent scenery in the world.  This rugged and remote section of Lake Atitlan has barely been touched by the outside world.  Our hike takes us several hundred feet above the ever changing waters of Atitlan for breathtaking views of the famous volcanos.  We end our hike in Santa Cruz la Laguna at the end of our day of adventure.

Overnight at Lake Atitlan.

DAY 5, THURSDAY –  Jan. 23


·         Shuttle departs at 8:00 am for travel to the spectacular outdoor market of Chichicastenango – one of the world’s most famous outdoor markets!  People watch in this very Mayan village, and also ‘shop until you drop’ or until 1pm when the market closes.  After a leisurely lunch in ChiChi (included) board the shuttle for travel to Antigua.

·         About ChiChi >>> Located at 2500 meters above sea level, this town is famous amongst tourists for its market on Thursdays and Sundays, where spats of traditionally dressed villagers in a kaleidoscope of colors, come to sell their very colorful textiles, fruits, vegetables and flowers. Although seemingly very commercial, there is much mysticism in the air. You will be amazed by the religious blend that exists, where colonial Spanish Catholicism, modern evangelism and ancient Mayan tradition, blend in a uniquely harmonious fashion. There is something deeply moving about watching a Mayan Indian or shaman, engulfed by incense and surrounded by flowers, praying to a catholic God and at the same time practicing ancient Mayan rituals, all in an old Spanish colonial Cathedral. It is here, in Chichicastenango, that Father Francisco Ximenez in the 17th century discovered the Popol Vuh, the illustrious Mayan bible.

Overnight in Antigua.

DAY 6, FRIDAY – Jan. 24


Morning Pacaya Volcano hike starts at 8:00 am and ends at 4:00 pm. Afternoon/Evening Pacaya Volcano hike starts at 2:00 pm ends 8:30 pm.

Lava Fields and Smoking Crater – Pacaya, one Guatemala’s youngest volcanoes, offers climbers a unique glance into the geologic bowels of the earth. A relatively easy climb of 1.5 hours brings us to the fertile shelf just below the cinder cone called “la Meseta.” From here we get an awesome view of recent lava flows. We will explore these lava fields, and as the smoking crater looms above, the environment quickly changes to resemble that of an extraterrestrial setting. We’ll enjoy a fresh lunch, enjoying the views before we make our way back down.

Overnight in Antigua.

DAY 7, SATURDAY – Jan. 25


· Enjoy a relaxing day to explore on your own

  • Antigua, Guatemala is an exquisite Spanish Colonial town with elegant 16th & 17th Century architecture, cobblestone streets, a tranquil central square, stylish hotels, luxurious shops and superb international cuisine. The town enjoys a unique and impressive setting nestled beneath three towering volcanoes and surrounded by lush evergreen forests.

. Overnight in Antigua.

DAY 8, SUNDAY – Jan. 26


· Enjoy a relaxing morning


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Guatemala Social Media

Livingston Guatemala Hotel

Garifuna Medicine of Love Recipe Guifiti?

Garifuna is an Arawakan language spoken in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and Nicaragua by the Garifuna people. Their language is primarily derived from Arawak and Carib, with English, French, and Spanish to a lesser degree.


One interesting feature of Garifuna is a vocabulary split between terms used only by men and terms used only by women. This does not however affect the entire vocabulary but when it does, the terms used by men generally come from Carib and those used by women come from Arawak.


The Garifuna are descendants of Carib, Arawak, and West African people. The British colonial administration used the term Black Carib and Garifuna to distinguish them from Yellow and Red Carib, the Amerindian population that did not intermarry with Africans.




Guifiti belongs to the class of drinks known as ‘bitters’ which are made by steeping the herbal ingredients in alcohol.


Infamously, it is also laced with certain herbs and roots that aren’t quite legal – you won’t find a bottle in the shops although it is fairly ubiquitous along the Honduran Caribbean coast where the Garifuna people live.


The Garifuna brought the Guifiti Recipes from their homeland where they had co-existed with the indigenous Caribs, each family having its own particular way of making it and passing the method down the generations.


Garifuna Medicine of Love Recipe Guifiti?


  • Garlic
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Palo de hombre
  • Coconut
  • Marijuana
  • Allspice
  • Jicaco Negro
  • Dead Man
  • Manstrength
  • Noni
  • Rum (the cheaper the better, apparently)


Place small amounts of the herbs in the bottom of a rum bottle and let this sit in a dark place for 6 to 8 weeks. You will then have the Garifuna Medicine of Love medicine.


Garifuna parade on San Isidro Day, in Livingst...

Garifuna parade on San Isidro Day, in Livingston (Guatemala). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




In Livingston Guatemala if you ask a Garifuna woman about Guifiti she will tell you 2 stories. The first she will tell you that if an old man drinks Guifiti it will help him have babies. If it is a young man she will tell you Guifiti will help him lay the pipe.


Guifiti is available at many Bars and Restaurants including Hotel Leddie in Livingston Guatemala. The Hotel which is famous for it Suicide Shower and Roberto’s Guifiti served up by Angela. The Livingston version of Guifiti is different or softer then the versions found in Honduras.


I can attest to the fact that Guifiti is the Garifuna Medicine of Love


SEO Link Schemes will effect your Web Site Negatively

Link Schemes will effect your web site negatively almost from the start. You have spent months and thousands of dollars having a new responsive web design setup for your company.

Your choice is WordPress as the platform of choice due to the fact that thousands of themes and plugin are available through the WordPress developer community.

Your web design team finds a plugin for SEO or Search Engine Optimization you add it to your site and home that traffic comes through your new web sites home page. Nothing happens you find a social media marketing company to add Facebook and Twitter connections to your new web design. Still no traffic.

In desperation you begin searching the internet for terms like web traffic and terms like this then you come along a site like this,,,,, and many more like this exists.

These Link Schemes sites are automated computer generated systems that create links to your site. I call these virus type systems easy to sign up for $69 a month costs thousands when your site is caught by Google. Your home page dominance now turns to finding your web site on page 2 of a term or phrase you once owned.

One employment sites allows posting of projects by clients seeking Link Schemes, FaceBook likes and all the link schemes one can imagine. Recently as of October 4 2013 Google finally put an end to this after years of attempting to block these schemes.

This Google Update hit hard in some case your valued domain name is at risk of being for a better term de listed with all search engines. At Create Digital Design and Instant Social Media based in Charleston SC we never use or have used Linking Schemes as part of our client Web Design or our Social Marking Marketing Services provided to our clients.

Create Digital Design offers this review of information about Link Schemes to help our clients in Charleston SC and other parts of the US to be AWARE of Link Schemes. The material below in this post is from Google Webmaster Tools. Not from a site making the types of claims we get e-mail offers from every day. This is the source Google talking about Link Schemes.

PLEASE read the information below because if you have engaged in a Link Schemes you need to quickly address this problem. Create Digital Design through our SEO services have been dealing with cleaning up Link schemes sites for clients for over 2 years.

Link Schemes

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.

The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results:

  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
  • Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
  • Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links
  • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site

Link Schemes Hidden text and links

Hiding text or links in your content to manipulate Google’s search rankings can be seen as deceptive and is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Text (such as excessive keywords) can be hidden in several ways, including:

  • Using white text on a white background
  • Locating text behind an image
  • Using CSS to position text off-screen
  • Setting the font size to 0
  • Hiding a link by only linking one small character—for example, a hyphen in the middle of a paragraph

When evaluating your site to see if it includes hidden text or links, look for anything that’s not easily viewable by visitors of your site. Are any text or links there solely for search engines rather than visitors?

However, not all hidden text is considered deceptive. For example, if your site includes technologies that search engines have difficulty accessing, like JavaScript, images, or Flash files, using descriptive text for these items can improve the accessibility of your site.



Guatemala Coffee Harvest 2013 Tours and More

For travelers planning a trip to Guatemala over the next few months you will not find information about the Guatemala Coffee Harvest for 2013 on TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet or any other travel sites for Guatemala.

The results from the Guatemala coffee harvest this year will be a study in extremes; great coffees from some farms, and serious quality issues from others. While some areas seem to have good volume of coffee on the trees and nice quality, others zones are being devastated by a coffee fungus called Roya.

High farms in Antigua that we visit, like Cabrejo, have slight signs of Roya, but in general the coffee shrubs are leafy and loaded with cherry. Acatenango is again badly affected, as it was last year. Some farms will produce half of what they did two harvests ago.

Away from the bad news about Roya is that Guatemala still have some of the best Coffee in the World. High Mountain, Shade Grown Coffee. In Regions like Antigua and Lake Atitlan Guatemala. The highland they call it.

Some advise for travelers to Guatemala Seeking Great Coffee.

If you are heading to Antigua Guatemala check out Antigua Tours. Elizabeth Bell I can only say offers the best tours in Antigua and I would ask Elizabeth about a Coffee Finca Tour. You will not be disappointed.

Antigua Tours was founded by Elizabeth Bell in Antigua Guatemala in 1992. Providing the best cultural tours of Antigua and surrounding areas,

We also offer travel arrangements throughout Guatemala. Specializing in personalized itineraries, service and information, we offer shuttles and hotel reservations to make your travels easier in Guatemala. Our goal is to provide efficient service to our clients.

We achieve this by understanding and recognizing each client’s needs. We work in a professional and timely manner with the sole intention of complete customer satisfaction.

Guatemala Coffee Lake Atitlan

The Lake as it is called is the most amazing, coffee region in Guatemala. Well that is my opinion the beauty and the villages around the lake well it is all one can take. If you are seeking great coffee let me suggest. Kayak Guatemala – Los Elementos Adventure Santa Cruz la Laguna, Lake Atitlan
Solola, Guatemala (011) 502.5359.8328 (011) 502.5107.1401.

Lee & Elaine Beal are life-long adventure travellers always looking for the path less taken. In 2005, they settled on the shores of Lake Atitlan and fell in love with the lake and its people.

Lee and Elaine offer travelers the chance to walk through coffee farms between San Marcos and San Pedro on Lake Atitlan. During the next four months travellers will have the chance to see the entire process of coffee production in the Highlands of Guatemala. And yes taste great Coffee from Guatemala.

Around Lake Atitlan are numerous villages where coffee abounds. I mean it grows in back yards. San Pedro on the Lake is a Mecca for great Coffee.

The gateway to the lake is called Pana and in Pana a number of small shops exists with small harvests of coffee that even StarBucks could not buy. The best held for these local shops in Pana.

Like I said you will not find this information on TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet or any other travel sites for Guatemala. Check out Elizabeth Bell in Antigua or Lee & Elaine Beal in Lake Atitlan for great Guatemala Coffee Harvest for 2013.


Lake Atitlan Guatemala WIFI how to make it faster

If have just landed in Guatemala City on your way to Lake Atitlan or Antigua you will find ample high speed Internet and Wifi available all over Guatemala. No matter what you read in TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet or other Travel web sites about internet in Guatemala the truth is Guatemala has state of the art Internet, Wifi and Telco services even in the highlands of Guatemala.

Then some will ask why is my Wifi slow in Guatemala? This has nothing to do with the Guatemala Internet service. You can trust our opinion because we are the same folks that told Guatemala Internet users how to change there DNS setting which were causing much of Guatemala problems. Even a few commented on the fact that NetFlix was not connecting. So we are the source of real information.


If you own a tablet, a I-phone a laptop anything you dragged with you to Guatemala for your vacation this fix works for all. If you are even slightly technical. Like most we have joined a number of Wifi networks in our travels. All of these accounts are stored on your computer your Wifi logins from Hotels, Internet Cafe’s and so on. That is the problem your device is now attempting to connect to a fast state of the art network. While the US still has 4g coming at a stupid price Guate has had it for a while.

What happens is when you join a Wifi network in Guatemala all those old connections to other Wifi networks is attempting to connect to other networks you have stored in your Tablet, phone or Kindle. This confuses your computer as it keeps trying to find old networks.

The solution is simple go into your preferences for your Wifi no matter the devise and delete all these old Wifi connections leaving only the one you are using in Guatemala. On a Mac include the keychain.

Reboot and you will have the luxury of high speed Wifi compliments of the Hotel or any location in Guatemala. Enjoy your vacation in Guatemala.

This post from Guatemala Social Media Network News. The only site that offers the best SEO services in all of Guatemala.


Lake Atitlan Internet and Wifi Services


guatemala social media news

Guatemala Social Media and SEO News

The current swirl of hysteria around social media reminds me of the dot-com or dot-bomb days, depending on which side of the fence you had the pleasure of experiencing. Right now, there’s a stampede of web site designers, media consultants and brand marketers morphing overnight into social media consultants.   Their clients, anxious to get in on this hot marketing trend, are not versed in the “expert’s” black art. And so a lot of money, effort and misplaced hope are invested in these companies.  Many are shamelessly running snake oil shops.  Wizards without magic.  A coven of emperors with no clothes, but with lots of YOUR money.

The Guatemala Social Media News project we are developing takes a poke these consultants in many ways.   It’s fair game.  I’ve heard too many stories from disappointed customers who have handed over a considerable amount of money to these social media hucksters, only to net poor results.

Intrigued, I started to look at the work of  these self-professed specialists.   I asked myself a few basic questions.  You should ask the same.

Why do all these experts’ web sites look the same? Have they used the same downloadable web form template to design their web sites?   Pretty obvious they have.

Why do these companies all recommend the same social media applications? Here you have companies that niche themselves as iron man experts in competition with one another. And yet, it’s always the same apps:  Facebook, StumbleUpon Twitter etc.

Then I ask, what’s with their fancy tools with fancy names for analyzing reports of their work results?   This is how they tell you what they’ve done with your money.  It’s a lot of analytical looking stuff that explains why they got the results they did.  The fact that your messages got disappointing web traction is beside the point.  They’ll try to use these tools to get you to think that too.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Then I look at the news these masters of flimflam are spilling out into the world about their own success with their latest client campaigns.  For example, I look at the number of Twitter tweets they get for their own self-promotion products, like their company articles and news releases.  Usual number of tweets is zero.  Why would you hire a company that can’t even promote its own mash?  Not a tweet.  Shame.

I’m perplexed when I poke around at the code on their own company web sites. Considering they are the experts, you would assume that they would have their own sites perfectly developed, meticulously following SEO rules.  Do they use the basic tools for running statistics or analysis? No.  And, sadly, I find most have not verified their own sites with the top search engines.

What’s more, they have not linked RSS news feeds to services that promote and distribute these companies’ own RSS news feeds.   What gives?

Then I asked how they were dealing with keywords.  Some even have a tool of their own making, which somehow magically determines which keywords are to be used.  Where’s their strategy, based on true and disciplined analysis? If you want rabbits pulled out of hats instead of real social media traction, sign up with them immediately, checkbook in hand.

Social media is an exciting and powerful marketing tool.  It can be understood and mastered, but you shouldn’t leave the work to the growing number of sorcerer’s apprentices.

I’m sure what I’m saying here will stimulate social media marketing companies to disagree with me.  Good.  It’s time for informed scrutiny of the social marketing industry and those who offer the service.  We are simply bringing a challenging idea to the marketplace of ideas.  True, we are being deliberately provocative.  Controversy drives instructive and open exchange of opinion.  Bring it.

To prove our point, over the next month we will demonstrate how to take a product from unknown to the top of search engine page placement, not just countrywide, but on a global scale.  No spamming, no email blitz campaigns, all by the book, no tricks or funny stuff allowed.  All in 30 days with an entire budget of $100.

Save your money on consultants for the next 30 days. Get your staff on board and follow the steps we will outline.  We will answer questions for those not technically fluent or who otherwise have questions as they following along. Questions are welcome.  This will be an interactive endeavor.

Contribute opinion, participate in the controversy.  Learn.

Debate is desirable, but our outcome will be indisputable.  Results provide the most persuasive and eloquent language.  In a month’s time, we will have placed our demonstration project, an unknown online food magazine, at the top of the search engine heap.  Bon appetit!

music man

SEO and Social Media Marketing in Guatemala – Being Found On-line

Over the last 10 years thousands of companies have entered the SEO and Social Media Marketing including companies in Guatemala. With billions in potential recurring revenue this Industry has become clouded with controversy and miss information.

Image representing StumbleUpon as depicted in ...

Image by None via CrunchBase

SEO techniques can be classified into two broad categories: techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design, and those techniques of which search engines do not approve. For Travel web sites in Guatemala the use of SEP and Social Media Marketing creates the results to be found in search engines the idea of the effective use of SEO is a must be considered business strategy.

The search engines attempt to minimize the effect of the latter, among them spamdexing. Industry commentators have classified these methods, and the practitioners who employ them, as either white hat SEO, or black hat SEO.

White hats tend to produce results that last a long time, whereas black hats anticipate that their sites may eventually be banned either temporarily or permanently once the search engines discover what they are doing.

Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.

Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. A corporate message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source, as opposed to the brand or company itself. Hence, this form of marketing is driven by word-of-mouth, meaning it results in earned media rather than paid media.

Google launched the Penguin Update in April 2012 to better catch sites deemed to be spamming its search results, in particular those doing so by buying links or obtaining them through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings. When a new Penguin Update is released, sites that have taken action to remove bad links (such as through the Google disavow links tool or to remove spam may regain rankings. New sites not previously caught might get trapped by Penguin. “False positives,” sites that were caught by mistake, may escape.

The goal of SEO for a client is to have the clients web site content found on the first page of all search engines by pre defined categories and terms that relate to a companies brand, product or service offering. Effective deployment of and SEO strategy will significantly reduce the need for Web sites to have to purchase Google or other services Ads.

Social Media Marketing has a direct relationship with how well your web site will be indexed and displayed in Organic Search Results as part of an overall SEO strategy. Each piece of content or updates to your company web site that is linked to Social Media sites that include Facebook and Twitter create a content link back to your web site. Deploying larger Social Media which should include Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, FourSquare, Digg and will increase your web sites white hat links.

SEO and Social Media strategies are a technology deployment which Brands need to consider leaving in the hands of an expert. There are no short cuts, tricks or schemes that can be deployed that work. They may for a short period of time, not for the long term. The damage one can anticipate using short terms results such as link schemes will result in long term damage to your web site and a Brand.

Do we guarantee results? Yes once we have determined a number of factors with your existing overall Web site Structure and use of Social Media.

The audit covers the following;

  1. Review Clients targeted Organic Keywords
  2. Compare clients site to Google and Bing webmaster standards.
  3. Does the client site have a
  4. Check clients site for Categories, Meta Tags, Index Follow, Robots TXT files, Rick Snippets, Structured Data Markup. Blog content and data structure.
  5. Determine correct plugins and filters are installed.
  6. Check for Google Verification and Malware.
  7. Determine if the Content Keywords are correct and relate properly to the sites content.
  8. Review competition organic search results, Review goals and issues with the client.
  9. Determine off site relationships if any with the site to determine benefits of SEO through the use of Social Media. FaceBook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Pinterest,, Linkedin, FourSquare.
  10. Prepare a report suggesting needed changes.

How Long will it be till I see results of your work?

How long is a piece of string might be the question.

To answer this we will know the following variable after our audit. If we see your site will not meet the Google and Bing Required SEO Structure we will tell you up front. The audit is FREE.

How Long will it be till I see results?

Some variables exist if the web site is new it will take up to 5 weeks for the search engines to index your content.

Older sites that have had little if any SEO applied will index content in less then 2 weeks.

Site that have used Back Link Schemes we may consider however with the changes in Google to stop this practise for some sites they are and the url blocked by Google and other search engines.

Sites we do not work with.

Basic HTML sites. Basic HTML sites lack the ability to add significant SEO value.

If the HTML site has a blog associated then the Blog would be the area that SEO value can be developed.

Platforms that perform best for SEO integration are WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.

Sites that have used Back link Schemes are for the most part now blocked by Google and all other search engines including the sites domain URL.

Determining your sites SEO Potential Audit costs $99 – $199

The report we produce will spell out in simple english not fancy tech terms like H1 Tags if your site can achieve the goals you desire. If not we will be clear about your options and why.

Our site audit does not take into consideration using tools with on line claims.

Google and Bing provide the only tools we use. Our process of the audit is to place your domain in these tools and to determine how these search engines either see or do not see your web site and why.

You can run a few of your own tests using Google, Yahoo, Bing and AOL search tools.

Type in your search window the following;

This search result tells you specifically how many pages are indexed from your site. The first set of numbers appear below the search term.

This search term result will show how many pages from your site are linked to other web sites such as social media sites and others.

sitemap.xml In order for you to have control of how your web site is indexed by search engines your site must have a sitemap.xml file. Do not be confused with a general site map. To determine if your site has a sitemap.xml file do the following. If you get a 404 page error then your site does not have such a sitemap.xml file.

sitemap.xml is the means that search engine crawlers find your content and understand how to index said content based on keywords and tags.

RSS feeds.

Having RSS in your web site is another means that your content is shared across the entire world wide web. Again to determine if your site has an RSS feed. if you get a 404 page error you do not have an RSS feed. FYI RSS feeds can be monetized and offer sites a means to have content aggregated across sites such as Feed Burner ( Google Product) Feed Age and PingOmatic. These are automated services that each time your site is updated or has new content the site update is sent to these services automatically.

Please review our SEO Structure document which will explain in detail how Seo works and why. This document is also a guide for you to determine how well your SEO and Social Media Strategy compares.

With an audit completed what are the next steps?

If we mutually agree that your site can be made to deploy a correct SEO structure to accomplish organic search results some of our tasks include the following options:

For example is your Web site is based on WordPress you already have a great start WordPress is a platform designed for SEO. We find most WordPress sites have all the basic SEO structure not deployed. Examples include pages, categories and meta tags lack descriptions.

Consider your web site like a book, which is how search engines look at your site. Without descriptions associated with pages, posts, categories and tags. Search engines have no means to determine what your site is about. Think of a book without a title and no chapters.

What Keywords best fit our product, brand or service? This must be determined before any On-site SEO work can be accomplished. While you may feel you have an understanding or thinking of what your brand desires the truth is that only Google will tell you the most searched terms and phrases that will relate to your business.

If your site has a sitemap.xml file or not we need to fix that as in the next stage of SEO structure is to have your web site verified using Google and Bing webmaster tools. This is a step that would be taken after your sites internal structure has been organized as described above. After this simple step you will be able to login to Google and Bing and see real time where your web sites pages, images and blog posts have landed in search results.

RSS feeds as mentioned are a means to aggregate your content. If your site lacks RSS capabilities this will be added.

Your site must have a soft 404 page. This is required by all search engines and if you decide to use Google Ads your site will not be accepted without a 404 page.

Creating a connection to your Social Media sites is accomplished either in WordPress or using tools such as Friend Feed. If you are only using FaceBook and Twitter you are missing two opportunities increased site traffic and clean back links. We will review how your Facebook and Twitter sites are profiled and we will add Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Digg and as your complete family of suggested Social Media Connections.

If you have been running an active Blog all content in your blog must be opened and re published. The reason for this process is now we have added meaning to your Pages, Posts, Categories and Tags.

The previously posted content must now have association with these descriptions to guide search engines through your sitemap.xml file to index your sites content to hit specific target keywords. And with your new Social Media site these must be updated as well using Friend Feed and with RSS feeds.

The following accounts will be established for you, Google and Bing WebMaster Tools and Google Analytics.

Cost of this SEO implementation is $350. Which includes up to 50 blog posts to be updated. If your site has more then 50 blog posts we will either update the 50 blog posts and your staff can update the balance or we can quote a price depending on the amount of blog posts to update.

Will I need ongoing Seo work? For sites described similar to above no. You will now have all the tools in hand to continue blogging and updating your web site social media connections.

If your business requires an outsources provider of SEO and Social Media services to manage having regular daily blog posts created, keeping up with friend requests from your social media network and monthly Analysis of the growth and success of Organic search results we offer these services on a per client basis for a fixed monthly fee.