Lake Atitlán is humbling. It is a gorgeous blue lake surrounded by volcanos and dotted with little towns. It’s vast and sheer beauty is almost impossible to describe. The added fact that the surrounding towns each have a distinct personality and are filled with the kindest people on earth makes it even better! Whether you are visiting to learn Spanish, attend a yoga workshop, or simply on vacation, you won’t leave Lake Atitlán the same.
San Pedro is a mix of traditional Guatemalan lifestyle with a backpacker scene. And it was our home for 3 weeks as we took Spanish classes and lived with a host family. It is the 2nd biggest lake town and a popular stop on the lake. Click the link above for a full breakdown of San Pedro and our experience learning Spanish at Lake Atitlán Spanish School.
San Marcos is a yogi’s paradise with a plethora of new age classes and workshops. It is a bit of a scene with everyone in hippie garb drinking heart opening cacao. But whether you think its woo-woo or legit, it is undeniable that it is a place where people come in search of bettering themselves.
We didn’t plan on going to Santa Cruz once, and ended up going twice! We had some of our best and most unique accommodations here.
A lake town that is often skipped over, Tzununa was a pleasant surprise. We only stayed here because I found the Bamboo lodge on Airbnb too good to pass up.
Haven’t tried out Airbnb yet? Click here to get a $40 travel credit.
We soon discovered Tzununa is a destination (for a very short trip) all on its own.
The Bamboo Lodge we stayed at is owned by nearby Atitlán Organics, a small farmed owned by two young Americans. The farm offers free tours on Fridays and several permaculture courses. And you must see the goats! They are so cute.
Tzununa is also rivaling San Marcos with its up and coming yoga scene. Head to Doron Yoga for a stunning lake view studio or hike to a nearby waterfall and take a shockingly cold nature shower!
San Juan La Laguna
San Juan is another small, rarely visited town on the lake. We stopped by for a tour of the tejido shop with our school. The process behind fabric making is very interesting and impressive. Since San Juan it is nearby to San Pedro, you don’t need to take a lancha, simply hop in the back of a “pickup” for a cheap ride.
Panajachel or “Pana” as the locals call it serves as a gateway to Lake Atitlán. Most shuttles from Antigua drop off here where you can catch lanchas to other parts of the lake. We didn’t spend too much time in Pana but there is one area with shopping, restaurants, and hotels to check out if you plan on staying there.
Chichicastenango, the largest market in Central America, is a popular day trip from the lake. With a rich Mayan history and the all the fun chaos of a big market, Chi-Chi is a fun stop if you have the time.
Read about our visit to Chichicastenango here.
Lake Atitlán is a must-do when visiting Guatemala. Don’t limit yourself to just one town. Hop on a lancha and explore all this amazing lake has to offer!
Want more information to plan your trip to Lake Atitlán? Check out the Guatemala Lonely Planet here.