Lake Atitlán is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Besides the natural and cultural spectacle you experience there, the lake carries a mystical atmosphere that both energizes and surprises you.
There are many charming destinations around Lake Atitlán. You’ll discover large and small typical villages scattered around the lake, each with its own character and identity. Witness the Maya women walking around in beautifully colored traditional clothing, immersing yourself in the daily life of this rural Maya population. Tuk-tuks take you from one spot to another while the hum of motorboat taxis plays in the background.
The best way to experience the lake and enjoy the panoramic view of the mountain landscape and the three majestic volcanoes is by boat. It’s also the ideal way to embark on a village-hopping tour and visit the different towns around Lake Atitlán, each with its own uniqueness and charm.
Among the most popular destinations after Panajachel are Santiago Atitlán, Santa Catarina Palopó, San Pedro La Laguna, San Juan La Laguna, and San Marcos La Laguna.
The Maya culture thrives and is present everywhere. Let yourself be amazed by the breathtaking beauty of this natural treasure.
Panajachel (commonly known as Pana), as the gateway to the lake, is well-connected and offers the most diverse range of services in terms of trade, accommodation, and food. Calle Santander, the street that connects the center to the lake’s shores, is a great place to buy souvenirs at good prices and explore the abundance of craft shops.
Near Pana, you’ll find Santa Catarina Palopó, a small town full of colorful buildings painted by its inhabitants.
In Santiago Atitlán, you can visit Maximón, a Maya deity and folk saint resulting from the religious syncretism between Maya culture and the Catholic religion. The image of Maximón is placed in a different household every year. Those seeking miracles, good health, and love bring offerings in exchange for his favor: strong liquor, hand-rolled cigarettes, and money.
San Pedro is the destination for backpackers, with numerous hostels and a vibrant party scene around the lake. San Marcos offers a holistic and relaxed option, while San Juan La Laguna is home to the artisans of the lake.
Places like Santa Cruz La Laguna, Jaibalito, and San Lucas Tolimán offer traditional Maya villages that are authentic hidden gems.
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