“Pana,” as it’s known to locals, is the biggest hippie town south of California. It is located on the banks of Lake Atitlan in central Guatemala. Panajachel is all about de-stressing and chilling out. Many of the full-time residents are Americans and Europeans who moved to Panajachel years or decades ago, seeking a simpler life.
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It’s not a very large town, and if you were to remove restaurants, cafes, bars and curio shops, you’d be left with some churches, a few dusty streets and the municipal building. It is a great home place for exploring the region.
Where is it?
What do do?
- Boat tours
- Experience its night life
- See the local art galleries
- Take a chilly dip in the lake
- Rent a motorcycle or a bike
- Learn Spanish in one of its many Spanish schools
- Visit the Hot Springs
- Lake Kayaking
- Scuba diving
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Where to go
- Santiago Atitlan
- Santa Cararina Palopo
- San Antonio Palopo
- And the rest of less popular villages around the lake
- The natural private reserve in the Valley of Buanaventura
The shores of the Atitlan Lake where Panajachel is located was once the scenario for a battle between the Spaniards and their Cakchiquel against the Tzutuhils. The Spaniards won and soon after that they set up a church and monastery in Panajachel and used the town as a center for converting the Indians of the region to the Catholic faith. The original façade of the church stills stands, and is one of the gems of the colonial style in Guatemala.