San Pedro, Guatemala
This town of 10,000 was built on a peninsula of Lake Atitlán, one of the deepest in the world. Fishermen in wooden boats drift along the shores of the volcano-ringed lake, while women in bright multicolored skirts wash clothes along its banks. The mostly indigenous Mayans here have little to do with the urban culture of the capital city 125 miles away.
Yet this isolated mountain town is more cosmopolitan than it seems: Most every waterfront restaurant here offers a menu in Hebrew. The story of San Pedro is also the story of the unlikely but deep friendship between Israel and Guatemala.
About 15 years ago Israelis began building sprawling hostels in San Pedro. Today they accommodate hundreds of Israeli tourists, while Israeli investors are building a luxury hotel at the head of Lake Atitlán.