Lago de Atitlán Travel Guide

  • Sunset on Lake Atitlán
    Sunset on Lake Atitlán
    by gdilieto
  • Steet Scene in San Pedro La Laguna
    Steet Scene in San Pedro La Laguna
    by gdilieto
  • Panajachel
    Panajachel
    by easterntrekker

Lago de Atitlán Things to Do

  • Private boat tours to remote locations

    We recently took a private boat tour with Los Elementos Adventure Center and I recommend it because we were able to go to locations that would have been difficult to find on our own. Many of the best and most exotic places can only be reached by boat. . . and only if you have a guide who knows where to go. We visited several of the geothermal hot...

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  • Take a Boat Tour of the Lake

    Needless to say, there isn't a better way to enjoy Lake Atitlán than taking a boat tour. You may take one of the public boats connecting the major villages of the Lake (Panajachel, Santiago Atitlán, San Pedro La Laguna) and that will still work out fine or, for a custom tour, you can hire a private boat and ask the driver (lancero) to be taken...

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  • Visit the The Maya Villages of Lake...

    There are some ten villages bordering Lake Atitlán, constituting the main attraction of the Lake. With the exception of Panajachel, that has turned over the last two decades into a major tourist hub, in all those other villages Maya culture is still prevalent, traditional dress is worn and native language spoken. Besides Panajachel, the place where...

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  • Enjoy Sunset on the Lake

    If you are in Panajachel, head to the lakeshore at sunset to enjoy beautiful scenery of the sun setting over the lake. The best spot I found is the shore at the end of Calle del Embarcadero, where boats to San Pedro La Laguna depart and arrive. The photo posted is taken from there.

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  • Make Your Base in Panajachel

    Panajachel is the center of tourism of Lake Atitlán. I guess, just like the other villages of Lake Atitlán, the town was once an enclave of Maya communities, today there is very little left and the town is just a lineup of hotel, restaurants, souvenir shops and other establishment (usually run by Ladinos and expats, very few by Maya people)...

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  • Playing Volleyball at the Lake

    In Panajachel, if you would like to do some sport to relax or exercise, head to the lake shore and play some volleyball under the shade of two volcanoes. I bet this is one of the most scenografic playground you have ever played at.

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Lago de Atitlán Hotels

Lago de Atitlán Restaurants

  • Real Japanese Sushi!

    Real Japanese style sushi and not the stuff they pass off as sushi in some Guatemalan restaurants. This place is a full-on Japanese restaurant inside a Japanese hotel full of Japanese travelers. I tried the Maguro Don which a lot of the Japanese travelers were ordering. I guess it is somewhat famous with the Japanese backpackers. Maguro Don is...

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  • Kinda fifties style

    Not a bad place to go for a beer as the service is friendly and its close to the lake...wouldn't recommend it for a romantic evening or a big meal though. They turn the water off in the bathrooms and we had to ask to have it turned back on. The fries were the worst I've ever had ( maybe the grease was turned off too)

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  • Fun Atmosphere

    This upstairs restaurant/bar is a nice lively spot to go for a meal or just a drink . The margaritas looked amazing but we always stay away from ice and mixed drinks in Central America ( beem sick too often). We had a chicken sandwaich and a beer and both were great. The restaurant is open air with bambii walls and nice think wooden...

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Lago de Atitlán Nightlife

  • Checking out the markets

    WE enjoyed walking along the main streets in the evening in Panajachel There are lots of markets with wonderful things to look at and many other people about doing the same thing .WE always shopped first as the shops close pretty early . Later was fun to pick a restaurant ...some even had music. Casual

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  • Pana or San Pedro?

    Pana or San Pedro? That is the question . . . Boats don't run at night, so you'll have to make up your mind which town you want to spend your evening in and book a room. Don't expect great nightclubs and wild parties, but Panajachel has a decent selection of good restaurants, a couple dance clubs and a handful of drinking holes. We heard some great...

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  • relax at the freedom bar

    Freedoms is really the only so called nightclub for dancing in San Pedro. It is situated on a hillside overlooking Lago de Atitlan. The atmosphere is very relaxed. Dress code? Here?

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Lago de Atitlán Transportation

  • Atitlán transportation guide - San Pedro

    To get to and from San Pedro la Laguna:-Boat: to San Marco, Santiago, Panajachel and other lake villages. 15-30Q.-Pick-up Truck: to Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Santiago, San Marco and other villages-Shuttle: to Antigua-Chicken Bus:to/from Guatemala City - leaving S.Pedro starting at 6am. Transportes Wendy, Mendez, Pedrana. Leaving Guate starting at...

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  • Panajachel Transporation Guide

    By Boat - to San Pedro, Santiago, San Marco, Santa Cruz and other lake villages, take a boat from the main pier. 15-30Q.By Pick-up Truck - to San Marcos, Santa Catarina, San Antonio, Sololá and other villagesBy Shuttle: direct shuttles available to Antigua and San Cristobal de las Casas (Mexico)By Bus:to Guate - direct buses leaving about every...

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  • Take a boat from Panajachel

    Most people arrive to Lake Atitlan via the town Panajachel, and from here the easiest way to get to other destinations at the lake is by boat. There's a lot of possibilities, and you will probably have to bargain a bit with the boat owner to get a good price.The main destinations is Santiago Atitlan, San Pedro la Laguna, San Antonio Palopo.

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Lago de Atitlán Shopping

  • Souvenirs from Mayan Street Vendors

    If you would like to take some souvenirs home, you don't have to look around too hard. In every villages of Lake Atitlán you will be approached by young Mayan kids (usually girls) selling traditional textiles, handicrafts and trinkets. You can bargain as hard as you like. Be considerate.

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  • Shopping in Panajachel

    The shopping here is the best we found in Guatemala. There are so many wonderful woven fabrics ...we came home with much more than planned . I bought brightly made slippers for everyone in our family . they are so different and very comfortable. And the tableclothes !!! It was so hard to choose! Oh and wonderful purses made of multi coloured and...

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  • Local outdoor market

    We stumbled upon a fairly large outdoor market in San Pedro. They had a bit of everything there...produce , general supplies and cheap trinkets . It was a weekend when we were there so we're not sure if it is going on weekdays , we thought not. There was one area devoted to food . It looked delicious and was so cheap .

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Lago de Atitlán Local Customs

  • Paddling in Cayucos on Lake Atitlán

    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...

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  • (Do Not) Urinate in Public Places

    "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.

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  • For the love of chicken

    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!

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Lago de Atitlán Warnings and Dangers

  • Warning: Be Prepared to Deal With...

    Guatemala is among the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere. A large percentage of the population consists in native Mayan people who often live in remote and impoverished villages. Many Guatemalans of working age don’t have jobs, especially in indigenous Mayan communities which populate this part of the country. Those communities often...

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  • Watch your teeth

    I don'y know what it is about Panachel but they make terrible nachos . They are hard as rocks . i think they are basically tortillas that they try to adapt by deep frying. They smell great but be warned if you value your teeth and in my case expensive crowns!!

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  • A few things to keep in mind . . .

    When we were here during the spring, there was noticeable smoke hanging in the air due to agricultural burning that goes on throughout the country during this time of year. If you are going to do some hiking around the lake or up to one of the volcanoes, be very careful as banditos have been known to rob tourists. It's a good idea to always go in...

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Lago de Atitlán Tourist Traps

  • The Diez Minudos Syndrome

    Those ones experienced with traveling in Latin America would know the "mañana syndrome" affecting population at these latitudes ("tomorrow" usually meaning an undefined time in the future). If planning to take a boat at Lake Atitlán, prepare to deal with the local interpretation of that, i.e. the "diez minudos syndrome", in accordance to which...

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  • Know the Price Before You Go!

    As soon as you get near the lake, you will be accosted by a swarm of people trying to get you to go with them to cross the lake. They tried to tell us that the public ferry cost $100 US to go round-trip and they said they would take us for only $70 per person. We had a Guatemala guidebook with prices so we told them they were lying and the public...

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  • Panajachel

    Every guide book I read called this city a tourist trap. Yes there are a lot of expats and bars, and souvenier shops. We decided to stay down the road in a quieter area because of this. Have fun!! We actually like the little town and will most likely stay there ourselves on our next visit. There is so much left unlearned that we want to go back...

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Lago de Atitlán Off The Beaten Path

  • Take a walk along the lake

    On my last trip to Lake Atitlan I had a walk along the shore of the lake. I walked from Panajachel to Santa Catarina and further on to San Antonio before I headed back again.It was really interesting to see the local indians and their colorful dresses. Walking just a short distance from one village to the next you would see completely different...

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  • The end of the path

    Here is where the main road ends and the beaten path literally begins and Casa Domingo is just over yonder. Its also the last place to grab a cold gallo before the beaten path begins. These little gallo shacks are very quaint adds to the charm.

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  • Looking for Posada Casa Domingo

    Posada Casa Domingo is pretty much of the beaten path. If you have reservations and cant find the place just go up the dock, make a left at the first and only main road and keep walking. Eventually the paved road ends and you will hit a trail. No matter keep look for the gallo sign make a right and its right there.

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Lago de Atitlán Sports & Outdoors

  • Kayaking & hiking adventure tour

    I had a great kayaking tour with Los Elementos Adventure Center this month. We started from their base camp in Santa Cruz la Laguna, and paddled out to the middle of the lake to watch the sun rise. It was beautiful and serene. The perfect way to start the day. Afterwards, we paddled west towards San Marcos. Along the way we passed steep cliffs and...

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  • Paragliding

    If you're interesting in some adventure, I'd highly recommend trying paragliding. It involves running off the side of a mountain with a modified parachute strapped to your back, but once you get past that, it's a great and peaceful experience. You certainly can't beat the views as your glide over the hillsides and the lake itself. Arrangements can...

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  • Scuba Dive

    I didn't do it, but I head there is at least one scuba diving outfit in Lago Atitlan. The water is crystal clear on many spots so I bet it will make for a nice dive or two. I hadn't learn how to dive at this stage of my trip so I gave it a miss. I'll return there someday though to give it a try :).

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Lago de Atitlán Favorites

  • 25 Centavos

    On the Guatemalan coin of 25 Centavos, you can see a picture of the traditional xk'ap. So this head-dress can be seen in the village of Santiago Atitlan.

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  • xk'ap

    The most remarkable headdress I did see during my trip through Guatemala was in Santiago Atitlan, a small village at the borders of the Atitlan Lake.There still few women were an xk’ap. This is a band of red cloth (it must be about 10 meters long), wrapped around the head. I must say that I did only see one lady with this headdress, our guide told...

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  • Colorful dresses

    During our stay in Panajachel, at the border of Lake Atitlan, we did make a boat trip to some small villages on the other side of the lake. Each village had a different dress code, the colors of the clothing were different each time. The colorful people we met.

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Explore Deeper into Lago de Atitlán
Ziplining! A Great Way to See the Lake!
Things to Do
Hiking Volcan San Pedro
Things to Do
Go for a Dip
Things to Do
Boats to the villages
Transportation
Take a tour
Things to Do
Taxis in Panachel
Transportation
Shuttle tp Panajachel
Transportation
Homemade pasta
Restaurants
Good for breakfast
Restaurants
Lake views
Things to Do
San Pedro dress
Local Customs
San Pedro Church
Things to Do
Fresh chicken
Local Customs
Visit San Pedro
Things to Do
Traditional Dress
Local Customs
People watching-
Things to Do
Swimming in Lake Atitlan
Things to Do
Cooking Cakchiquel style
Things to Do
Gorgeous Embroideries
Shopping
Beautiful Ceramics
Shopping
Hand woven fabrics
Shopping
Iglesia de San Antonio Palopo
Things to Do
Cigar smoking idol - Maximon
Things to Do
A violent past - Santiago
Things to Do
Streets of Santiago Atitlan
Things to Do
Santiago Atitlan
Things to Do
Take a cruise on the Lake
Things to Do
Panajachel
Things to Do
Take the Ferry Across Lago Atitlan
Things to Do
Wash day on Lake Atitlan
Local Customs
More Fabrics are in Santiago
Shopping
Guatemalan Fabrics in Panajachel
Shopping
VIEW THE VOLCANOES
Things to Do
BOAT SERVICES
Transportation
Coffee
Local Customs
Locals
Local Customs
Great hand woven items
Shopping
Other
Transportation
Boat
Transportation
San Antonio Palopó
Things to Do
Map of Lago de Atitlán

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