2005 Landslide Tragedy
In October 2005, a large landslide buried the village of Punabaj on the northern outskirts of Santiago Atitlan. Approxiately 600 villages, mainly Sutujil indians, lost their lives. Many of the bodies were never recovered and still remain under the large sheet of hardened mud that now dominates this area. Rebuilding of the area has also not occurred because locals are afraid to live there. If you agree to have a tuk-tuk take you on a mini-tour of Santiago Atitlan it is likely that this will be one of the stops. It is quite a sobering experience.
You are off the beaten path!!
If you've made is to Santiago Atitlán, you're already off the beaten path, but you can get farther off the path if you'd like. After Panajachel, San Pedro and San Marcos, Santiago Atitlán is probably the most visited of the towns around the lake. There are a plenty of other towns around the lake including San Antonio Palopo, Santa Catarina Palopo, San Jorge la Laguna, Santa Cruz la Laguna, San Pablo la Laguna, San Juan la Laguna along with a few others. You can get to all of them by hitching a ride in the back of a pickup, by boat or by hiking.