I started Runaway Tours in Jan 2015. Since then I’ve run away with over 50 people through 3 of my favorite countries, Thailand, Japan, and Guatemala.
In Thailand we discovered a unique blend of Buddhism, learned how to ride scooters, and of course 6$/hour massages.
In Japan we gained insight into the Japanese philosophy of life. We learned to live simply, considerately and in the present, and ate lots great food in the process.
In Guatemala, we found the Maya, their sacred Lake Atitlan, and their ancient customs. We met a unique group of expatriates who had carved out fruitful, often eccentric, but always symbiotic lives among the beautiful native Maya. And we witnessed what is arguably the most beautiful sunset in the world.
On October 25th, 2016 Runaway Tours: Guatemala is happening once again. Although this will be the fifth tour in Guatemala, it still remains my favorite Runaway Tour.
Lake Atitlan is a 5 star feast for all the senses. Turquoise waters and mammoth volcanoes overwhelm the eyes. A melange of tropical flowers and coniferous pines arouse the nose. The spring climate invigorates the body. Waking up to the cheerful laughter of the Maya people tickles the ears. And hot tortillas with your 2$ breakfast tipico delights the tongue as well as the budget.
Some people claim that the true magnificence of the lake resides in those things that can not be seen; the deep waters, the vast magma chamber below and powerful geomagnetic fields. It’s because of these known and unknown phenomena that many believe the lake to be a source of a sacred energy, the likes of which can cause vivid dreams, altered thought patterns, and an attraction to the lake itself. And this is why Runaway Tours Guatemala features the lake and it’s diverse towns as it’s main destination.
The view from Santa Cruz
The sunset from Panajachel
However, before heading to the lake, we start our journey in Antigua. With over 30 ruins dating back to the 16th century, this ancient capital of the Spanish new world is like the Rome of Central America. It’s got history, nightlife, the finest Guatemalan dishes, and it’s surrounded by volcanos, one of which erupts every morning around 9am. It’s the perfect introduction to Central America at large and of course, Guatemala.
Cerro De La Cruz
10$ Drug rugs from the local market
Hanging in front of the church of the Merced
Exploring the Convent Of The Capuchinas
Wicked Nice Accommodations
Runaway Tours is all about value, and no place is this more true than through the unique accommodations I’ve secured in Guatemala. From beautiful colonial homes and cliff side bungalows with uninhibited views, to a hotel that actually sits in the lake itself, everyone enjoys a level of privacy and luxury that most tours don’t provide.
The Volcano Lodge in Jabalito
The Hideout in Panajachel
The Mirador at The Hideout
All of the adventures I’ve cooked up for this tour are adventures that I’ve developed myself over the course of 4 years of backpacking in Guatemala. From motorcycling to the secret hot spring to descending into the lake by pickup truck, you’re going to discover Guatemala like few others have.
Private Boat Tour/Dance Party in Panajachel
The 8m high cliff jump in San Marcos
The hike to the top of Volcan San Pedro
The Kayak Pub Crawl in San Pedro La Laguna
Within each of Lake Atitlan’s unique towns reside a people whose languages and traditions have survived millennia. Although Catholicism, the Spanish language and other Spanish influences is evident throughout the highlands, many Maya continue to maintain their traditional languages and religions. Many also continue traditional livelihoods based on hand crafts and agriculture.
In many ways, the Maya are very similar to the Japanese. Most people are friendly enough to foreigner travelers but often prefer to keep a comfortable distance. More, public displays of emotions, particularly anger, is perceived as weakness and often met with smiles and laughs in embarrassment. Harmony in the home and community is a pillar of daily life and society. Finally, similar to the Japanese, although many people practice Christianity, the ancient animistic traditions remain strong.
My friend & favorite street vendor
Riding local trucks
Lake Atitlan is home to a considerable expatriate community. The majority hail from the USA but there are quite a few from around Europe as well, most notably Norway. These expats range from senior snow birds and year round business owners to travelers selling jewelry and travelers who got stuck and became home owners.
During our tour, we’ll meet a lot of these expats, learn their unique stories, and discover new life paths.
Mike from New York & the owner of the Crossroads Cafe
Joseph & the gang chanting at the Tzununa Ashram
Joseph & I taking the boat back
Guatemalan/American couple & recycled goods artists
Owner of the Volcano Lodge, Gustav from Norway
Brazilian & British jewelry makers
Part time expatriate/Photo Bomber Leif from New York
Sign Me Up!
If you’re looking for unique experience in an ancient land with a group of likeminded friends to be, I welcome you to join us on our next tour of my favorite place in the world, Guatemala.
Runaway Tours: Guatemala
Dates: Oct 25 – Nov 3rd
Duration: 10 Days
Destinations: 1) Antigua 2) Panajachel 3) Jaibalito 4) San Pedro
Tour Leader(s): Leif (The Runaway Guide)
Trip Style: 20% Adventure, 20% Party, 25% Spiritual, 25% Culture, 10% Swimming/ Hot tubs
Max Group Size: 8 (3 Spots left)
Total Price: 1195$