I have always had an interest in cemeteries — particularly those in Latin America. Far from the dark, somber cemeteries we have here in the United States, the Latin American cemeteries I have visited tend to be very brightly colored, often with very elaborate grave markers and monuments.
During our 2015 trip to Guatemala, we took a shuttle bus from Antigua to Panajachel. As we neared Panajachel, we passed through Sololá, a city higher up above the lake. From the shuttle, I could see the brightly colored cemetery which was on the edge of town. After a little research, I decided we should check it out.
The next day, we got on a chicken bus on the main street in Panajachel. Packed into the old school bus, we quickly climbed up the hills to Sololá. We hopped off in the town square, and walked downhill about six or seven blocks to the cemetery.
The cemetery sits on the edge of town, the hills drop off in such a way that the views are fantastic. Looking out over the tombs you can see Volcan Toliman, with Volcan de Atitlan just behind it. The beautiful waters of Lake Atitlan are below. I always try to be respectful, particularly when taking photos in cemeteries. People seemed to be proud of this place, one of the local men who was in the cemetery actually led me around for a few minutes, showing me good views and points of interest within the cemetery.
This is the main plaza once you enter the cemetery:
Walking among the rows of graves, the colors and views were fantastic:
Sololá was definitely worth visiting. After the cemetery, we headed to the local market to check that out, and also spent some time around the town square. When we were ready to leave, we grabbed another chicken bus from the main plaza back to Panajachel.