I’ve already mentioned that Guatemala was by far my favorite. I didn’t spend the most time here, Nicaragua takes the cake for that, but I was here for three weeks and ten of those days were spent in San Pedro La Laguna on the stunning Lake Atitlan. There were a couple times after three or four days where I thought to myself “I should move on,” but I just couldn’t get myself to do it. It was always “oh, but I want to hike Indian Nose tomorrow” (which I never did) or “but I want to walk around the village more.” (which I did plenty of!)
While I was here I visited four of the villages around the lake with San Pedro as my base. I also went to San Marcos, Panajachel, and San Juan. Each town has it’s own personality really, but I wasn’t really in any of them long enough to really find out what. And don’t worry, there are plenty of hostels on Lake Atitlan so you can see a lot of it.
San Marcos is the little hippy village, I wouldn’t even call it a town, but it has a fantastic view of the volcanos for sure. The main “street” is easy to miss. After about 45 minutes of wandering, we finally found it, after the great view of the volcanos, and made our way down there. After so long wandering, we weren’t feeling it anymore and left, only for me to return the next day. I went to the National Park along the water and spent the afternoon lounging around in a tree with a new friend from the water taxi over. I even jumped out of the tree! It was only like, six feet up though, but worth the cool down from the water.
San Juan has a mysterious wine and cheese place that we set out to find but wound up out of luck as we arrived there during some kind of election. We came to the turn, walking from San Pedro, and saw a crowd of people, probably most of the village, gathered listening to someone speaking. All of a sudden there was clapping, fists were in the air, and the military guys nodded us through. We wandered down the main street, assuming the wine and cheese place was closed and ended up with some bad coffee and a view of the lake to make up for it.
Panajachel is the place to go to buy stuff. The main street is full of market stalls and shops with little streets off of that full of stuff too. The possibilities are endless when it comes to buying things. We wandered around here for a few hours after a slightly hungover breakfast and lovely boat ride over. The boat ride back was rough, but full of giggles and squeals at every bump.
San Pedro is the hoppin’ town with all the nightlife and spanish schools for days. There are plenty of places to stay and pretty much all of them have a view that you just can’t complain about. The village is fun to wander through and you can hangout in the abandoned former houses along the high shoreline. I would recommend walking out of the village a bit for some pretty spectacular views from a bit of a different perspective while staying in the same village.
Lake Atitlan is definitely somewhere I will be returning to, hopefully sooner than later. There are plenty more villages to be explored to see just how photogenic those are too. So, here I am sharing the beauty of the lake with you, mostly from San Pedro. These are some of my favorites from ten days worth of photos, which trust me, was a lot.
- Give yourself more time here than you think you need. There’s so much to see and do.
- Visit more than one village. They’re all so different.
- This is a great place for hiking, Volcan San Pedro and Indian Nose are just two examples.
- In San Pedro, walk up the hill through the village and out past the Santiago Dock. There will be a lot less people.
- Go kayaking one day. It gives you a new perspective on the towns and the lake itself.
Which is your favorite? Which village sounds the best to you? Have you been to the Lake? Do you want to go?