WOW, I had read that Lago ("Lake" in Spanish) Atitlan is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and boy was my research correct. On Friday, our last day in Antigua, we traveled 2 and a half hours to this wonderful magical locale. The drive itself was breathtaking. We had wanted to visit the village of Santiago Atitlan via boat but by the time we arrived at Panajachel the winds were too strong to safely maneuver. Instead, we hired a driver and visited two very quaint indigenous local villages accessible by car, Santa Catarina Palopo and San Antonio Palopo.
lake atitlan is an easy trip from antigua. you can get an inexpensive shuttle right from antigua to panajachel which borders the lake. this is an ideal place to shop for guatemalan blankets, bags, etc.
plenty of inexpensive hotels and a mediocre nightlife. the highlight is the lake itself and exploring the surrounding villages.
Visit Lake Atitlan and the villages surrounding it. It is a beautiful lake and you can go for a wonderful swim, but hit it in the morning, as it gets rough as the day progresses!
Hopefully you will be there when it is a village festival time and you can observe it all like a fly on the wall (well almost)!