Caelum et Terra, "HEAVEN AND EARTH"
Santa Catarina Palopo, Guatemala
We call it 'Caelum et Terra' (Heaven and Earth) as it is a place to relax and enjoy. Peace and spirituality are felt throughout.
You will be welcomed with flowers and breathtaking views of the San Pedro, Tolimán and Atitlán volcanoes.
Enjoy an art collection representative of many of Guatemala's most respected artists.
The author of “Brave New World”, Aldous Huxley, called Lake Atitlan “the most beautiful lake in the world” and anyone who has been to the lake would most likely agree.
Legend has it that the chapeau-elephant-boa constrictor drawing on the first page of Antoine Saint-Exupery’s novella "The Little Prince" was taken in part from Lake Atitlán, where the author saw the Cerro de Oro: the “hill of gold” and this became the model for “the boa constrictor digesting an elephant”.
Skyline colors change throughout the day spanning from blue, green, grey, yellow, and red.
Services in the home are similar to a fine hotel. Pedro and Teresa are there for you* to cook, clean and serve the best margaritas or negronis.
Recently renovated, the house, on two levels (Master bedroom on entry level, 3 bedrooms on lower level) is quite colorful and extremely cozy. Enjoy reading, listening to music, admiring the surroundings, roasting marshmallows at the fire pit or watching TV (cable and Direct TV are both available). Communications through telephone or Internet are available as well.
Choose among a number of outdoor activities on and around the lake: swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, biking, hiking, paragliding, zip lining, yoga classes, boating, shopping for unique hand made local wares, taking affordable Spanish classes and cultural activities or simply explore the surrounding towns, each with a distinctive character and size.
Our adult-children are constant visitors (30 to 36) years of age) and enjoy the home as much as we do!
The property is not equipped with air conditioning as the fresh local climate does not require it. Regardless, tower fans are available for your use.
Special thanks to Alfredo Rodriguez-Allen and one of our Third Home guests, Mick Spilsbury for contributing to the photographs on this site.
**Pool may be heated for a fee of $280.00 (optional).
Single Family Home with 2 levels
4 bedrooms, 5 baths, 5920 square feet, 550 square meters
King, 2x Queen, 2x Queen, and 2x Queen
8 guests maximum
3 hours by car / 20 minutes helicopter
Three volcanos and Lake Atitlan
No Pets Allowed
Not Handicap Accessible
View All Amenities
* The cost for the staff, who manage the home and guest needs during your stay, is $300 per week, to be paid upon meeting the owners.
**The pool may be heated for a fee of $280.00 (optional).
Activities of Interest
Places of Interest
- San Marcos
- San Pedro
This villa is a dream, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world with no less than three imposing dormant volcanoes and a dozen or more charming lakeside villages dotting it’s Shores. Pedro and Teresa, housekeepers and cooks are attentive and keep the house spotless. Please don’t be influenced by the US media and it’s cascade of negative publicity, Guatemala is beautiful, safe and exotic, As anywhere, exercise reasonable precautions. You don’t need a car, we took an Uber from Guatemala to Antigua for a week, cost approximately $30, and from Antigua to Lake Atitlan approximately $75, and from Atitlan back to the airport proximately $85.. We made a deal with the same driver to come pick us up as there are no Uber’s in Atitlan, everybody goes by water taxi and Pedro can arrange this. (Be sure and include Antigua in your itinerary!) ”
The best ThirdHome property we have ever seen!
Where to begin? This property is perfect: we simply could not have had a better experience in our stay here. We have stayed in many ThirdHome properties, and without exaggeration, our stay at Caelum et Terra was our favorite property of all time. Unlike in some other ThirdHome properties, we truly felt that we were guests in someone's home. The owners are extremely responsive, checking in to see how we were enjoying our stay, following up for feedback: they welcomed us warmly into their home and we couldn't be more grateful for that. Pedro and Teresa, the housekeepers, were incredible: Teresa makes the best tortillas we've ever tasted! Her cooking is incredible, as are Pedro's cocktails. Pedro arranged for launch services to the surrounding villages on the lake for us, which was extremely helpful. It truly felt like we were staying in a high end hotel: their service was impeccable. And let's not forget the most important part: the views. We spent three weeks at this property, and for the most part, we stayed outside on the deck, looking across the expansive volcano views, while working, reading, playing chess, practicing yoga, and more. We felt immensely relaxed and peaceful. Santa Catarina is a lovely village, in part because it's really not especially touristy: the busier villages are across the lake in San Marcos and San Pedro have entirely different characters. We were so glad to be slightly off the beaten path. As for recommendations nearby, we had a few lovely dinners at Casa Palopo, within walking distance from the house. We highly recommend renting a 4x4 or pickup truck: at one point en route, a bridge had completely washed out and we needed to cross a little river to reach Panajachel, the nearest large town. And speaking of Panajachel, we had a wonderful time wandering around the downtown markets there: note that the only ATM nearby is located there. Other recommendations--horseback riding tour of coffee plantations organized by Cafe Cristalinas in San Pedro was excellent. Sababa in San Pedro for delicious Israeli food. Yoga Forest in San Marcos (a little hike, but well worth it) for a gorgeous retreat center built into the mountainside. Shangri-La in San Marcos for the best cup of coffee we tasted in Guatemala. Chichicastenango for the most incredible artisan market and a spectacular drive. We simply cannot wait to return: thank you, thank you, thank you to the hosts for some of the best travel of our lives!”
Amazing location and experience
This was one of the best Thirdhome stays that I have had. The house and property are absolutely impeccable. The views of the volcanos and of Lake Atitlan are incredible. The photos on the Thirdhome listing for this property do not do the house and the grounds any justice. It is way better than what shows. The owner, Alexandra, was great and answered any and all questions regarding her beautiful home and the activities in the area. The staff of the home, Pedro and Teresa, were warm and accommodating and took great care of us cooking delicious food the entire week. Am looking forward to hopefully returning to Lake Atitlan and Caelum et Terra someday. ”
Lovely home with breathtaking view
Put this house most anywhere in the world and it would be great. Put it on the eastern shore of Lake Atitlan and it's stunning. The house is very spacious. Four bedrooms, a media room, lounge area, dining area, and kitchen are all large, graciously furnished and very well equipped, to the point where it you are most assuredly in a lovely home, not a rental property. It's the same outside. The patio that extends from the master bedroom to the pool is delightful with numerous seating spots. There are also 2 large decks below the house in the verdant garden that slopes sharply down to the lake. Adjacent to the pool there is more seating and an interior bar. Every interior and exterior space provides breathtaking, panoramic views of the lake and the three 10,000+ foot volcanoes beyond. The view changes throughout the day from the pristine clarity of early morning to cloud-blessed sunsets. The full-time housekeepers clean, make beds, launder towels, set up the pool & patio each morning and make sure the house is secure each night. They will also cook for you if you purchase ingredients, most easily done at the one large, modern supermarket in the town of Panajachel, a 20-minute drive. The house has a floating boat dock and you can book private trips/tours to come to the dock, which we did on 3 occasions to visit some of the 9 fascinating villages around the lake. The path down to the lake is steep and the dock bobs a bit, so this feature is not handicap accessible (though the master bedroom & living area & patio are). We picked up a rental SUV at Guatemala City airport and drove the advertised 3-hour journey to the house in 5 hours. The road was closed for 2 hours to push an overturned truck to the side of the road. In general driving in Guatemala is not for the faint of heart. I loved it having driven on narrow English country lanes, around Parisian circles and up and down Italy, but doubt that some Americans would love it so much. The decision to get an SUV was sound. There is an unpaved stretch on the road from the house to Panajachel, and we were able to drive on some distinctly secondary dirt roads on the way to the closet Mayan ruin (Some folk avoid most of this road excitement by flying into Panajachel by helicopter) When Alexandra & Alfredo chose to name their house, 'Heaven & Earth', they got it exactly right. It is a simply lovely place to stay. Anyone could be forgiven for forgoing boat trips and exciting drives to just hang at the house, enjoying the stunning view, relaxing on sun cushions, watching the odd movie, breakfasting at the kitchen bar overlooking the pool, taking dips in that pool and feasting at the over-sized dining table. And for those who like their cocktails cold, there is the largest supply of ice cubes we have ever seen in a holiday home. PS: I took many photographs of 'Heaven & Earth' and Alexandra may be posting some of the them on the Third Home site. They speak to the beauty of this home more eloquently than my words. ”
A hidden jewel in our world
Our family stay for just the 4 of us was truly heaven on earth. In all my years of traveling this has got to be one of the highlights and words do not even begin to describe how special this area is. The home was incredible, the staff were wonderful and so helpful. This area is full of majesty, awe and beauty and is truly a very, very special place in this world. We all agreed we would love to go back some day. It is truly a special corner of the world. Our hosts were so helpful, easy to communicate with and even called to see how our stay was while we were there. Truly 5*star all around! Thank you for opening up your lovely home to us!”
Wonderful & So Relaxing Get Away
Everything has been wonderful !! This place is amazing and so is the staff, The hosts are the best , They communicate well and make sure you as a guest have everything you need. We highly recommend this place to anyone who wants a spectacular view and a relaxing time. ”
Very special place and very special home. Spectacular lake, spectacular lake side site, and nicest home on the lake. Staff very accommodating and well worth the $300 fee. Only downside is trip from the airport; even in private van it was long and arduous. While there is a helicopter service, it is very costly, but possibly worth it if you can afford it. Owner should consider offering a food/beverage pre-purchase service since the home is somewhat remote and you arrive late with nothing to eat or drink readily available.. Despite warnings and travel advisories, there was no discernible threats and the local people were as nice and welcoming as can be. Use the private launches which come to your own private dock to travel around the lake and coordinate with the various available activities such as horseback riding [all gated horses; what a treat!], sightseeing, etc.”
Heaven on Earth!
Our family had a wonderful time at this beautiful house on Lake Atitlan this Christmas. Caelum et terra - heaven and earth - that’s what is was!! This home is a true work of art, seamlessly integrated into the grassy and manicured hillside, with paths winding to the lakeside docks, and easy access for swimming in the lake and lots of areas to just hang out and relax. We especially appreciated the attention to detail, for example the beautiful Christmas decorations that had been put up for us. We had a hard time deciding which was the master bedroom, since all were so large and tastefully decorated and had en-suite bathrooms. As promised, the view was breathtaking, day and night- we think we took about 200 pictures of the sunsets alone! While the temperature was perfect every day, we still enjoyed the heated pool, for many hours every day. Pedro organized a private boat shuttle for our family to the visits to the small villages around the lake. Pedro, Teresa and Salvador were fantastic cooks and organizers - they made our stay comfortable, easy and we did not have to cook or clean - it was a real vacation!! The information that was provided prior to our visit was incredibly helpful in planning our trip, as we did employ two guides to accompany us on our tourist and shopping excursions. This was our first trip to Guatamala--dont think it will be our last, hopefully we can stay at this beautiful home again. We cannot thank you enough for opening your home to strangers. Best regards, Gaby and Aubrey Federal”
One of the Loveliest Places on This Planet
My friends and I had an absolutely wonderful week at Caelum et Terra located on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. The home is so well designed to enjoy panoramic views of the Lake and the volcanoes circling the lake. There really was no good reason to leave the home given the picturesque setting and the house's many amenities. We kayaked, swam in the lake right off the home's dock and hung out on the huge porch just looking at the lake and talking for hours at a time. Pedro and his wife Theresa cooked for us all week and were extremely helpful in navigating outings to nearby villages around the Lake and to the famous Chichicastenango market. Guatemala is a fascinating country with friendly people and incredible colorful dress and art everywhere. One of the bonuses of our stay was the collection of Guatemalan art located throughout the home. I highly recommend this Third Home. ”
The house is amazing. It certainly may be one of the nicest houses at the lake. Lots of beds, amazing views. Pool is perfect. The house is really spectacular. Alexandra the host is warm and friendly. The house has 3 staff. Who's first language is Kaqchikel. You should know the host requires a cash payment of $580 for the pool and staff. We had a great stay and thought we had been very courteous to the staff. Apparently the staff called the host and reported we were unfriendly. We honestly can't figure out what happened. My suggestion is be very careful with the staff and SMILE a lot since their first language isn't Spanish.”
A HOME WITH A VIEW!
Beautiful house is not enough to put, it is a beautiful home! Nice details all over, that complement the incredible view. The staff totally trained and willing to help in whatever was needed! We truly enjoyed it! ”
Our stay at Caelum et Terra was indeed nothing short of extraordinary! From the moment we arrived via helicopter to Lake Atitlan, we knew we had chosen well for our week long get away. The views are majestic, very reminiscent of the Adriatic. Who knew all this was a mere 2 ½ hour flight from Miami plus a ½ helicopter connection from Guatemala City. We were greeted at the helipad by our taxi driver arranged by Pedro our extremely accommodating concierge. The home a short drive away is all that is described and more. Every single space has stunning vistas of the volcanic lake that seems to change hourly. There are an abundance of areas to lounge inside and outside with multiple decks at each level. The infinity pool was worth the slight extra charge for heating as the nights do cool down at this altitude. Every inch of this home is meticulously maintained and we were never wanting for a single thing. Pedro, Theresa, and Salvador were pleasant, attentive, quiet, and efficient. Knowing Spanish is key to communicating with the staff. Once we provisioned for the week with the assistance of Pedro at Sandy’s supermarket in nearby Panajachel, we had no need to ever leave. Provided at this stunning home are kayaks, paddle boards, table hockey, corn hole, awesome sound system, and a fire pit that kept us well entertained. There are also two flat screen TVs, one at the poolside bar and one in the lower level lounge, we never felt the urge to watch TV as the views, pool, neighboring pueblos and lake never failed to mesmerize us! We highly recommend this Third Home! ”
Simply the best of Lake Atitlan.
Not only is Caelum et Terra a wonderful place for rest and relaxation, but also its beauty and serenity help one to gather strength in body and mind. The size of the house gave my partner and I ample personal space – to read, or just to be – which was a real luxury. In the evenings, we loved sitting around the fire, in style and in total comfort, on their fabulous Roche Bobois furniture. For aesthetes like us, it was sheer heaven to walk from the house down to the lake, and, from the vantage points of your various, well-placed decks, to look up and admire how skillfully the house is nestled in the landscape. In the morning - earlier the better - we recommend making a cup of coffee or tea, and then slowly walking down, and walking back up, really taking your time to fully enjoy the garden path, and be in the moment. The landscaping is truly exceptional, a Zen experience. Some more favourite memories included the little persons we watched in their homemade canoes ('cayucos'), fishing or paddling on the perfectly still lake. To borrow, somewhat inappropriately, from Coleridge: “As idle as a painted ship/Upon a painted ocean.” Plus, seeing the villagers of Santa Catarina Palopo, and San Antonio Palopo, walking here and there in their traditional costume was also a very unique experience. Best of all, meeting Alexandra and Alfredo first in Guatemala City, and being able to remain in touch with them during our stay via email, made us feel very much at ease living in splendid solitude, in what was, for us, a foreign land. It also was reassuring to have had their villa staff, Pedro and Teresa, living onsite. There was a language barrier between us, but, this was just as much our fault for not knowing rudimentary Spanish, let alone their indigenous language. Actually, it was kind of fun trying to work out what WAS being understood, and what wasn't! Going food and wine shopping in Panajachel was also a rich and rewarding experience for us. And again, many thanks to Alexandra and Alfredo for being such generous and gracious hosts (Cafe Condesa coffee from La Antigua was greatly appreciated!). In future, we look forward to hosting them and their family here in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. Warm regards, James Morris P.S.: Fellow 3rd Home members, if you are planning to stay in Guatemala City, before/after visiting Lake Atitlan, we recommend the boutique hotel called La Inmaculada, which includes complimentary airport shuttle service. The small hotel was the perfect base for us to enjoy the unique museums and restaurants Guatemala City has to offer.”
Perfection on Lake Atitlan
My family and I - including my 90 year old grandmother! - spent a little over a week in Guatemala, including 6 nights at Caelum et Terra on Lake Atitlan. We had high expectations after seeing the photos and hearing about the region, but the villa surpassed anything we could have imagined, and the area was a lovely adventure for all of us. First of all, the pictures - as beautiful as they are - really don't do the villa justice. When you walk in the front door, the view is a major wow, with the lake and volcanoes all around. Everything is perfectly appointed but the villa feels absolutely homey from the get-go (a hard balance to achieve). With the help of Pedro, Pedro and Teresa, our week was perfect. We anticipated going out to eat for dinner occasionally (typically what we do when we travel), but ended up eating in every night. The setting was so stunning and we were able to work with Pedro to come up with a dinner for the group. During one of our lazy days by the pool he whipped up margaritas and caipirinhas along with ceviche for the perfect afternoon. They prepared breakfast every day as well which was fabulous! We chartered a boat one day to see the lake by water and Pedro helped us organize the entire thing. The boat trip was a perfect way to see some of the other towns on the lake on our own schedule. A standout for us was San Juan La Laguna where we had lunch at El Artesano and explored the great shops with handcrafted bags and textiles. Such a great experience! All in all, an incredible week for all of us, and a great balance of adventure + culture and relaxation. We hope to return again in the future! Best, Scott & Shannon Kircher ”
We had a fabulous week at this beautiful location. The house is extensive, the grounds delightful and the ever changing view captivating. I took dozens of photos and it looked different every time. There is a special energy at Lake Atitlan. The lake sometimes liquid calm, other times whipping up a storm. Swimming in it is sublime. And the house is beautifully laid out and furnished, equipped with everything we could have needed and expertly kept clean and tidy by the smiling Pedro and Teresa. We had great days out to Chichicastenango and other local villages, some good walks and lots of sun. And it was lovely to meet Alexandra, the owner, who couldn't have been more attentive to our needs. I hope to return. Guatemala has maintained its position as one of my top destination countries!”
We absolutely loved Caelum et Terra!
Six of us toured Guatemala, and then stayed at Caelum et Terra for a week in October. We absolutely loved Caelum et Terra! The setting and views are incredible. It is located on the best part of Lake Atitlan to appreciate the panorama of the three main volcanoes. It is beautiful and serene at all times of the day. The house is even prettier than the photographs show. Every room is beautifully decorated and comfortable. The art collection is lovely. During the day and evening you virtually live outside with 3 separate decks, the bar, and the infinity pool. The landscaping is exceptional. The house sits by itself on top of the hill overlooking the lake and the volcanoes. The weather was spectacular. We had sun and rain, and both were enjoyable. It was about 60 degrees in the morning, rising to about 75 during the day. It was still and dry. The house does not have heating or air conditioning, but it does not need any. There is a fireplace which we used a couple of nights. Pedro and Teresa cooked a wonderful breakfast for us every morning, as well as about 4 dinners. They are a very congenial, caring, and handsome couple. They do not speak any English at all, so we really had to work hard on our Spanish. We used Apple’s Siri and Google Translate to help us. There is only one restaurant within walking distance, at the Hotel Casa Palopo, but it is a really good one! We did our own grocery shopping, and it took about 3 hours and was pretty difficult. In the future we would ask the staff to do the pre-arrival grocery shopping for us. We took a private boat across the lake for tours of a couple of the small towns. We rode an open pick up truck to Panajachel and had a great lunch at the Hotel Atitlan. Pedro helped arrange both excursions for us. There are kayaks and paddle boards available at the house as well. This is a fabulous family home in a relatively undiscovered part of the Americas. It could be an end destination, or do as we did, and combine your stay with a tour of the wonderful country of Guatemala.”
Amazing, once in a lifetime!
Our stay at Caelum et Terra surpassed our expectations 1,000 fold. The owners made sure we had everything we needed and made extra efforts to make our stay wonderful. The layout of the house is magnificent with stunning views of the lake from every room. The decor makes one feel like you are staying in a 5 star hotel. In addition, the landscaping leading down to the lake access is brilliant. There are kayaks and paddle boards to use. We hope to come here again!”