I had my first day of classes in the San Pedro Spanish School here on Lago Atitlan yesterday. The school is located on gardens and huts for teaching that stretch and stretch until you reach the lake. It's paradise.
You can find the school from two different paths. One that runs between the Pana docks and the Santiago docks. This is the main entrance. It is right past the Buddha Bar, which is a big gringo hot spot for chillin' and smoking a hookah or playing pool. It's not my scene, but a good reference point, nonetheless!
The second entrance is along a slender trail along the lake. This one is harder to find, but certain signs bring you this way and it's easy to get "lost" and discover new places by following paths. There's also a delightful lakeside/garden restaurant next to the school only accessible by this path.
Entering from the main path, a bright outdoor cafe/workspace welcomes you. During the day, free coffee is available for the school. A little cafe offering inexpensive snacks and yummy breakfast and lunches serves hungry students and staff. It also has wi-fi, so a lot of students hang out here before and after classes to connect with their worlds.
From the cafe/terrace area a long path surrounded by gardens and lushness begins. Little palapa classrooms dot the paths.
The path meanders and splits and has offshoots, until eventually...
You reach Lago Atitlan. I love this grassy, marshy part of the lake. Just to the right of where the path spits you onto grass, a little primary school exists where San Pedro students can volunteer helping to run activities or teach math and English. The local elementary school students wouldn't otherwise have the chance to go to school because of the lack of money.
The right side of the lake opens up quickly and felt a little like the ocean yesterday-wild and full of life!
As for the actual teaching of the school....I'm going to wait to form an opinion. I can certainly tell you it is way less rigorous than ICA in Xela. Spanish teachers speak English with students here and I had to ask for homework. My teacher was surprised, as she said most students just want to hang out after school. I wouldn't come here for an immersion experience, but if you're looking to learn a little Spanish for a couple of weeks to help with your travels, this might just be the right place for you. Laid back and beautiful.