MEET THE WRITER
Maridel Reyes has been reporting on the best things in life -- travel, food, and wellness -- for 15 years. During journalism school at Northwestern University, she investigated miscarriages of justice for the Medill Innocence Project and learned how to defend herself with a ballpoint pen. Maridel’s work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Magazine, Architectural Digest, Forbes, BBC Travel, USA Today, The Boston Globe, and The New York Post. In her spare time, she creates pottery for her line White Street Ceramics.
When was the last time you were in Guatemala? What drew you there?
I traveled to Guatemala for the first time in November, after being curious about the country for years. I heard incredible things about Lake Atitlán’s stunning scenery, the vibrant architecture of Antigua, and the kindness of the people there.
What was the most impressive thing about Lake Atitlán you didn't expect?
I’ve been to Lake Como and knew of the comparison between the two, but I wasn't expecting the scale of Lake Atitlán. We flew in via helicopter, and I was surprised at how lush the highlands are around Atitlán -- incredibly green, misty, and moody. And unlike Como, there are towering volcanoes that ring the lake, which makes it feel even more epic and out-of-time.
What's one memory from your trip that sticks out in your mind?
While we were exploring the village of San Juan La Laguna, we found out that a hiking trail called Cerro Kiaq’Aiswaan had recently opened. None of us were dressed appropriately for the muddy trek: One friend was wearing flimsy sandals, I was in an enormous sundress, and someone else was in a heavy sweater. But we decided to go for it at high noon. A half-hour later, drenched in sweat, we reached the top. The only other people there were a family and their dog. It was so peaceful. The only sound you could hear was the wind blowing, and we took in the view of the town, the lake, and Volcán de Agua rising up in the distance.
Number one can't-miss recommendation for a visitor?
Take a boat to visit the villages. It's much faster than taking the winding, bumpy roads, and it gives you a more visceral sense of the enormity of the lake and the height of the volcanoes surrounding you. And if you can, make a reservation for a meal at 6.8 Palopo in the hotel Casa Palopo -- it serves updated Guatemalan food from the country's most famous chef. The panoramic view from the outdoor terrace is worth a million Instagrams.
Next big trip you have planned in 2020?
My mom is celebrating a milestone birthday this year, and I am planning a family trip to Greece. Her dream is to watch the sunset in Olia in Santorini on her big day. And whatever mama wants, she gets!
What's your ultimate bucket list destination you've always wanted to visit?
I have been fascinated with archeology since I was a kid. The first place I ever fantasized about visiting was Egypt to see the tombs, temples, and cruise the Nile. I hope to make it there soon.