San Marcos: A Mystic Place for Travelers

September 12, 2022 4 min read

San Marcos: A Mystic Place for Travelers

On the shores of one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, resting under the looming shadows of three active volcanoes, is a sacred Mayan location known for its beauty and unique spirituality: San Marcos.

Come as you are to this place for travelers, where you can rub shoulders with the locals, cliff dive on the shores of Lake Atitlán, take in some yoga, and peruse one of the many open-air markets. The Where Coffee Takes You crew had an opportunity to experience the magic and beauty of San Marcos first hand on their journey, where an important revelation was made that would impact the rest of their time in Guatemala. 

While many know San Marcos today as a laid back “hippie village” of sorts, it wasn’t always this way. In fact, the history of what is now a traveler’s paradise was rife with combat in the early 19th century and a devastating volcanic eruption in 1902 that destroyed the city. Following San Marco’s rebirth in the 1930s, it was rebuilt and quickly grew into the spiritual mecca that draws visitors from all over the world. For anyone who visits, it’s easy to see that this place has an air of mystique and isn’t for the average tourist - it’s a place for those seeking adventure, spiritual guidance, and a little bit of magic.

As you navigate the tiny cobblestone streets of San Marcos, past the tuk-tuks and down the homemade paths lined by flowers, you can’t help but wonder what lies behind each door; a shop selling colorful traditional Mayan clothing, a restaurant ladling portions ofTapado, or perhaps a spiritual center where all are welcome and none feel out of place. The crew was there in search of a local holy man rumored to be a gifted tarot reader - the journey coming not a moment too soon as Kirk was grappling with self doubt and questioning the enormous undertaking of filming in 48 countries. 

There are many who believe that there are energetic lines that cross the earth, intersecting at key points called “energy vortexes” and creating sacred places. San Marcos has a reputation for being one of these vortexes and thus attracts visitors in search of spiritual connection and healing at ecological resorts like theEagle’s Nest. But what makes San Marcos such a special spiritual place - is it the 3 volcanoes surrounding Lake Atitlán? Or, perhaps it’s the sacred caves at which ancient ceremonies have been performed for the past 5,000 years, dating back to the Mayans. Whatever it is, it’s up for interpretation, but as for the Where Coffee Takes You crew, they were about to place their fate in the hands of the tarot reader.

At any time of day, you may catch Jitendra as he builds his beautiful instruments, or while he sits and chats with visitors as he strums a sitar. Originally from Scotland, Jitendra has lived in various parts of the world, including the United States, before finding San Marcos and settling in permanently. If you sit and listen a while, he might tell you a story or two, or speak lovingly about San Marcos and the people who live there. But if you’re lucky, he may give you valuable insight and wisdom about your journey through a Tarot reading.


“And so your first card up, the Knight of Wands, is looking for the right place to plant your energy.” Jitendra says, as he lays the Tarot cards before Kirk.“The Ace of Swords, which means divine power. Right ahead is the Emperor, the father. It means that no matter how important this project is to you, the actual really important thing is you and your family,” and finally the Fool,“The Fool is the beginning and end of the pack,”Jitendra explains,“The Fool represents complete freedom. It means that your endeavor is gonna bring you freedom once you get out of the way of it. Once you get out of the way of yourself. It’s a good outcome. Stay with it.”


 As Kirk took in the sage words from Jitendra’s reading, he couldn’t help but think of his father, the traveler, and how they dreamed up the idea for Where Coffee Takes You together before he passed away. A dream that was shared as father and son traveled the world together, immersing themselves in the coffee industry and developing deep ties with the community behind the beloved beans. 

Standing here in this traveler’s town full of mystic beauty, surrounded by active volcanoes and the sparkling waters of Lake Atitlán, Kirk realized that perhaps it was time to get out of his own way as the tarot reader suggested, so that he could realize his and his father’s dream of uniting the world through coffee. It was time to journey forward.

Want to see more about our time in San Marcos and our journey in Guatemala? Check out our Where Coffee Takes You episode on YouTube: