In Sanskrit, Sumaya means a long-awaited dream come true while in Arabic it translates as a little piece of paradise. Both of these definitions mirror our hearts’ intentions and inspire our service. Our logo is a Mayan glyph found in Chiapas, Mexico representing the fountain of life or the budding growth of a flower, and this too moves us ever forward.
Villa Sumaya, located in Santa Cruz la Laguna on the shores of Lake Atitlán, was conceived in 2001 with the purchase of the lakefront Maya Rose House, originally the vacation home of a Guatemalan family. Over time, in addition to renovating the Maya Rose House for style and comfort, we added a restaurant, a boutique shop, our welcoming courtyard, a hot tub and a sauna, as well as four healing huts where we offer a wide variety of spa services.
In 2004, we built the Blue Tiger Temple to reflect the new focus of Villa Sumaya as a retreat center. At that time, we also constructed two hillside bungalows to offer private housing options. As Villa Sumaya flourished, the need for more rooms and a second temple/studio led to the creation of Lotus House, completed in 2007; this project added six spacious guest rooms and our magnificent Tara Temple with breathtaking views of the lake. In 2008, we built a swimming pool so that our guests could enjoy a relaxing dip throughout the day. In 2013, higher up on the hill, we created the Ginger Suites, our most luxurious accommodations.
In 2015, we further expanded by purchasing adjacent land, which allowed us to connect the hotel with our Eco Sumaya Fruit Forest and gain access to an additional 19 acres of lakefront. We also acquired Studio 21, Skyline Bungalow 20 and our Mayan Healing Hut. In order to accommodate our growth, we expanded our dining area in 2016 to include a glassed-in dining room showcasing panoramic views of the lake. At full capacity, our current facility offers 23 rooms accommodating up to 50 guests.
Many Mayan hands have contributed to the creation of this paradise and our ongoing connection with our indigenous neighbors has been mutually respectful, rich and gratifying. Everything you find here – every brick, every paving stone, every piece of window glass and decorative tile -- has been lovingly transported to Sumaya by boat and then carried by hand and strong back to its respective location. We are beyond grateful to everyone who has participated in this great feat of endurance and dedication.
It is our sincere desire that your experience in this natural refuge will enhance your lives as much as it has ours.
Lake Atitlán is believed by the Maya to be the center of the universe where God’s seeds of mankind evolved.
This large endorheic lake (one that does not flow to the sea) is the deepest lake in Central America with a maximum depth of 1,120 feet (340 meters). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Atitlán) The local people speak of a 50-75-year cycle during which the level of the lake water fluctuates dramatically. For this reason, the Maya have strategically built their pueblos far above the lakeshore.
There are 12 villages around the lake. Each village has its own distinctive style, revealed through the traditional dress of the women. This clothing is called traje. The women’s huipíles, or tops, are ceremoniously changed each New Year to reflect the evolving fashion of the Mayan women. Most men now wear western clothing, but if you walk around town, you will undoubtedly spot one or two dressed in the traje of his pueblo. The two Mayan dialects spoken on Lake Atitlán are Kaqchikel and Tzutujil.
The lake’s landscape features three volcanoes. Facing the lake from Villa Sumaya, to the far right sits the oldest volcano, San Pedro, rising to 9,908 feet (3,020 meters). Directly in front of the Villa are two volcanoes, although they often appear to be only one. In front is Tolimán, standing at 10, 361 feet (158 meters) and behind Tolimán looms the youngest volcano, Atitlán, at a height 11,605 feet (3,537 meters). Volcán Atitlán is the only one of the three believed to still be active, though its last eruption occurred in 1853. Most of the year, the volcanoes are clearly visible in their supreme grandeur.
At an altitude of 5,000 feet in the Guatemalan highlands, our climate has been referred to as the “land of eternal spring.” Our two predominate seasons -- wet/tropical and dry/sunny – are somewhat unpredictable these days, but periods of rain typically begin in May. In July and August, we often experience a phenomenon called the canícula, which brings hot, relatively dry weather. September and October are typically rainy, while the time between November and April brings brilliant sunsets, sunshine and dry days and nights. Our climate -- combined with the grandeur of the lake, the views of the volcanoes and the lush vegetation -- sets the stage for what our visitors have described as a true paradise.
We are located 10 minutes by boat from Panajachel. Public boat transportation from Tzanjuyu ("san-who-you") dock is available every half hour from 7:00am to 7:30pm. The price is about Q25 per person ($3.00). Ask the boat driver to drop you off at the Villa Sumaya dock, otherwise you will have a 20-minute walk from the main Santa Cruz dock.
Villa Sumaya can arrange private shuttles or boats for your convenience 24 hours a day. Private boat and shuttle fees can be added to your hotel bill.
Transportation is not included in our rates. Our Guest Welcome Kit provides helpful information covering transportation, activities, pricing, spa services, packing lists and more. Please inquire to receive the welcome kit (PDF).
Villa Sumaya is delighted to support local non-profit organizations in our community.
Founded in 1998, Amigos de Santa Cruz offers support for villagers through education, health, community-based leadership and sustainable economic development. In 2010, the organization opened the Centro de Capitación (CECAP), a modern vocational education center with programs in sewing, computer education, culinary arts, carpentry, welding and weaving.
You can take a tour and have lunch at CECAP during your time at Villa Sumaya. We also support Amigos' initiative to collect books for their classroom libraries! Check out their Amazon wish list.
2Help provide scholarships and support for a world-class, college-prep, U.S. curriculum school (Panajachel Colegio Internacional) that serves Guatemalan and international students. This unique program prepares teens to pursue a university education. All donations go towards scholarships, supplies and operating costs for the school.
Donations are processed through AGES Foundation, a U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. While any amount is appreciated, $1,500 will provide a scholarship for one low-income student for one year. You may include a note with your donation specifying how you would like it to be used. If you'd like to make a tax-deductable donation, please visit the foundation's website or send a check to: Ages Foundation, PO Box 53, Marlboro, VT 05344.