You will see local fishermen of Lake Atitlán "sailing" the lake paddling in their cayucos, the traditional wooden canoes you can see in the photos attached. Among the others, the village of Santiago Atitlán is known for the manufacture of cayucos.
I have noticed in Santiago Atitlán and San Pedro La Laguna few hotels providing cayucos free of charge for use by their guests.
Guatemalans love fried chicken and Panajachel is nno exception . Some of the best is from the street venders. They set up everyday and the mouth watering smells are hard to resist!! The super Pollo cart looked the best!
In the market in San pedro we saw fresh chicken being sold . This was so fresh it was still alive. Chicken in a basket ...peep peep. A little unsettling! There was a big bowl of beans right next to them.
The people of the towns in the western highlands often can be seen wearing the traditional dress of their ancesters. The Cakchiquel people in San Antonio Palopo wear a bright blue patterned clothing . It is quite distinct.We saw the expert weavers creating this fabric at the local Co-op.
VT wants some cultural guidance here hmmmmm........I suppose I should be very happy to have a nice washing machine in my laundry room????
These people do work very hard and this was not the first nor the last line up on a river/lake side that we saw in several places.
Many of the locals make their livings by selling handicrafts to tourists. Others make their living by fishing the lake. Still others make their living through agricultural endeavors, the most important of which in Guatemala, is the growing of coffee. In San Antonio Palopo and San Pedro we saw locals drying coffee beans in the warm sun.
One of the best things about visiting Lake Atitlán is seeing the local customs of the villagers. The Mayan cultures are very alive here and each village has a distinct feel. You'll notice differences in the traditional clothing in particular and local women will be more than happy to sell you a sampling of their hand-woven items, as is apparent in this picture I took in Santiago Atitlán.
However, you are also likely to find that some of the locals, particularly in Panajachel and in San Pedro, are not homegrown. There are plenty of hippies who have been living here for twenty or more years and they are often the best sources of information for the traveler (they're the ones you'll meet drinking at the bar!!).
Theres a fascinating and FREE Museum which looks at history & tradition of weaving and traditional Mayan Costumes run by co-op of Women Assocician Cojolya.
On your left as you come up the hill from the docks in Santiago Atitlan this is a real gem, explanations in English and Spanish tell about backstrap loom weaving, and the Mayan Costumes. Ask to see their video too!
Beautiful contemporary designed goods by women from the co-op for sale and some of the women can be seen weaving in the museum.
Santiago is fascinating because most of the women and 50percent of the men still wera traditional costume. Can be visited in a day from Panajachel.
the native indians in the region are quite conservative and religious and are not happy when people start stripping naked and swimming in the lake.
it has been quite common over the years and some tourists have been beaten up quite badly because of it, so please behave.
Locals are really proud of their heritage. Many locals, including the males obey traditional dress codes. Each town has a distinct pattern of colors in their clothings. It's nice to see the locals in action, but whenever possible ask before taking a picture.
"It is forbidden to urinate in this place. Fine Q100.00" ... That is what this street sign posted in Santiago Atitlán's Main Square says. I guess I can assume what is a regular practice here.
The women in San Pedro wore traditional dress of pink blouses and a red patterned long skirt . So very colourful . I imagine the fabric was woven here .