Lake Atitlan Facts For Travelers
The entire Atitlan Lake, which is ten miles at its widest, was formed thousands of years ago in the crater of a massive volcano. It’s so deep, over a mile down, that many scuba divers wonder if some rare marine creature will emerge one day. The lake, with its incredible views of quaint Mayan villages, massive volcanoes such as San Pedro Volcano and hillsides is worth a long visit. Stay at one of the villages which are only accessible by boat, or at the popular hot spot Panajachel with its funky cafes, delicious restaurants, and fun markets.
Ringing this beautiful lake in Guatemala are a bunch of tiny villages. The most popular of all is San Pedro, where you can enjoy cheap Spanish classes and international cuisine. San Marcos is also popular for its yoga retreat, Pyramids, along with an inside peak to how indigenous people live. But these are just a couple of hamlets to visit, so spend some time here and explore! But the largest town around the lake is Santiago.
Where is It?
See the map
Places to visit in Atitlan
These are the most popular hot spots in this region. But for the gotta-see-it-all traveler, scroll down to the CITIES LESS TRAVELED to get the goods on this whole region.
You have arrived at a tourist oasis conveniently located on the banks of Lake Atitlan with a view to die for. Pana is surrounded by three volcanoes: San Pedro, Atitlan, and TolimÃ¡n, a visitor will have their fill of indigenous culture and colorful markets, delicious restaurants and cafes, plenty of activities, and a great nightlife. Hop on a boat to any of the neighboring villages such as San Pedro de Laguna, San Marcos de Laguna, and many more for a day trip or an extended visit.
- Walk around the colorful town
- Take a boat across the lake to a neighboring village
- Visit Reserva Natural Atitlan
- Have your pick of delicious restaurants
San Pedro la Laguna
The one-time backpackers Shangri-La has now grown to be a great tourist stopover. With majestic volcanoes surrounding the small town with a high ex-pat population and even higher Mayan one. You’ll be surprised by the great accommodations to be found here and even more astonished by the number of delicious restaurants and fun bars. Even though the town is best known for lounging around and soaking in the amazing views, it’s also full of fun activities that will entertain everyone.
- Thermal Springs
- Learn Spanish at a number of the Spanish schools
- Kayak and boat tour
- June 29 – The Feast Day of San Pedro
San Marcos la Laguna
Are you in the mood for spiritual enlightenment, yoga retreats, and any number of ‘new age’ callings? You’ve come to the right place. This tiny lakefront town is full of silent retreats, meditation, and yoga classes, and lovely accommodations to offer you tranquility with a dash of magnificent scenery.
- Traditional Mayan Sauna
- New Age retreats, courses, and readings
- Yoga Class
Santiago de Atitlan
This traditional Mayan town, nestled cozily amongst the three Volcanoes: San Pedro, Atitlan, and Toliman, is worth a visit. None of the other Lake Atitlan villages will give you an insider view of how the indigenous of this region live. It is not unusual to bump into Indians wearing their traditional clothing as they pass by any one of the 35 churches.
- Local Market (Friday and Sunday)
- Visit La Iglesia Parroquial Santiago Apostol, home to Maximon (Mayan God)
- Hike the trail to the viewpoint
- Horseback ride around Santiago de Atitlan’s countryside
So much TO SEE in the Atlantic Lowlands and Coastal Region!
Museums & Gardens
- Butterfly Garden
- Orchid Garden
- A Bird Refuge
- La Iglesia Parroquial Santiago Apostol
Parks & Reserves
- Reserva Natural Atitlan
- The Indian’s Head
- San Pedro Volcano
- Atitlan Volcano
- Toliman Volcano
So Much TO DO in the Atlantic Lowlands and Coastal Region!
- Bird and Wildlife observing
- Boat Ride
- Scuba Diving
- Jet Skiing
- Mountain biking
- Off-road vehicle tours
- Rock climbing and
- Horseback riding
- Shopping at a local market
- Learn Spanish
- June 29 – The Feast Day of San Pedro
- October 28 – Maximon’s feast day (Santiago de Atitlan)
Less Traveled Cities
- Santa Cruz de Laguna
- San Juan la Laguna
- San Antonio Palopo
- Santa Catarina Palopo
- San Lucas Toliman
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