Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Panajachel on Lake Atitlan, Solola

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ith its stunning views of Lake Atitlan, traditional Mayan markets and wealth of restaurants, there are so many things to do in Panajachel, Guatemala you’ll be tempted to stay for a lifetime.

View of Lake Atitlan with the three volcanos San Pedro, Atitlan and Toliman DP
Viewpoint at Lake Atitlan with the three volcanos San Pedro, Atitlan and Toliman. 

Over the past 25 years, my Guatemala-born husband and I have spent a lot of time in Panajachel. It’s my favourite place to go to escape the heat of the lowlands. 

Located in the department of Sololá, a 2.5 hour drive by car from Guatemala City, it’s a popular day trip destination for locals and visitors alike. 

But if you’ve got one-week (or longer) for your Guatemala itinerary, Panajachel also makes a great base for explorations.

With a population of around 15,000 people, it’s small enough to be able to walk to amenities such as banks, ATMs, supermarkets, restaurants and ferry docks.

It’s also a hub for transportation, offering easy access for tours of Maya villages, volcanoes for climbing, hiking trails and other Lake Atitlan attractions. 

By staying in Panajachel rather than San Pedro la Laguna or other villages on Lake Atitlan, you avoid having to take a boat every time you want to go exploring. 

And it’s gorgeous!  

Young woman in Panajachel looking at Lake Atitlan with volcano in the distance.
Our niece enjoys a spectacular view of the volcanoes and Lake Atitlan in Panajachel.(Credit: Francisco Sanchez)

Here’s our guide to the best hotels, tours, Spanish language schools, restaurants, attractions and best things to do in Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. 

How to Pronounce Panajachel 

First, it’s important to be able to pronounce the name of this town! The pronunciation is “Pan – a – ha – CHEL”  with the emphasis on the last syllable.  

Among locals, it’s often abbreviated and just called “Pana” Guatemala for short. 

What Panajachel and Lake Atitlan are Known For

View of Lake Atitlan, clouds and mountains in Panajachel, Guatemala.
Lake Atitlan is dotted with villages named after the 12 apostles.

One of the things Panajachel is best known for is its serene beauty. It’s famous for its location on the shores of teardrop-shaped Lake Atitlan set among a necklace of volcanoes in the Sierra Madre Sur mountains. 

In his 1934 book, Beyond the Mexique Bay, Aldous Huxley compared Lake Atitlan to Italy’s Lake Como. And German explorer Alexander von Humboldt called it “the most beautiful lake in the world.”

View of boats on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
View across Lake Atitlan Guatemala. (Credit: Michele Peterson) 

Panajachel Weather – Land of Eternal Spring

Another one of the main attractions in Panajachel is its weather. The altitude of Panajachel is 1,562 metres above sea level. This means it enjoys spring-like weather year-round.  The rainy season is from May to October.

Unlike the sweltering lowlands of Zacapa (where my husband is from) or the humid rainforest of the Peten region (where I got dengue fever), the towns around Lake Atitlan, including Panajachel, have a comfortable and temperate climate.

While the entire country of Guatemala is known as the land of eternal spring, the towns around Lake Atitlan really do have the most pleasant climate. 

Safety in Panajachel

Panajachel is also one of the safest places to visit in Guatemala. I’ve lived in Panajachel for several months at a time and never felt unsafe when venturing out solo.

But it’s worth reading these safety tips for travel in Guatemala and Central America before you go.

Another reason to visit Panajachel is that, according to Guatemala’s national newspaper Prensa Libre, there have been no cases of zika.

This is the virus transmitted by the bite of the Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus mosquito, the same type that also carries dengue and chikungunya. 

🌟 Pro Tip: Read more at 12 Tips to Avoid Getting Bitten by Mosquitos. 

Can You Swim in Lake Atitlán?

Boys swimming in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
Boys swimming in Lake Atitlan. (Credit: Michele Peterson) 

If you look at a map of Guatemala and see the size of Lake Atitlán, you might be tempted to think it’s a top spot to go swimming. 

Unfortunately, there are few beaches and the lake contains cyanobacteria. This toxic strain of aquatic bacteria can affect the liver, kidneys, central nervous system and skin of both humans and animals.

Fortunately authorities are taking steps to control blooms of the blue-green algae, rising water levels and reduce contamination by untreated sewage and agricultural fertilizers used in the farms surrounding Lake Atitlán. 

But reports by monitoring agencies such as the  Authority for the Sustainable Management of the Lake Basin of Atitlán and its Surroundings (AMSCLAE) indicate that Lake Atitlán still has problems with pollution.

Gastroenteritis is the most common illness associated with swimming in waters polluted by untreated sewage. Eye, ear and throat infections are also a possibility.

Although children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are those most likely to be affected, anyone is at risk.

So, although many people do swim here, I don’t recommend swimming in Lake Atitlán.

17 Top Things to Do in Panajachel and Lake Atitlán

Woman walking past Church of St. Francis de Assisi in Panajachel Guatemala.
Church of St. Francis de Assisi in Panajachel, Guatemala.

1. Study Spanish at a Spanish Language School

Panajachel is known for its welcoming community, making it easy for students to practice Spanish with locals in everyday situations. 

Both of the main language schools in Panajachel offer immersive programs, combining classroom instruction with cultural activities and homestays with local families.

This not only helps you learn the language faster but also gives you a deeper appreciation of Guatemalan culture and traditions.

The spring like climate in Panajachel makes it especially comfortable for taking classes outdoors. I studied Spanish for more than a month at Jardín de America, Spanish School in Panajachel.  There’s nothing quite as wonderful as being surrounded by flowers and fresh lake breezes when mastering verb conjugations!  

Living and studying Spanish in Panajachel is also more affordable than studying Spanish in Antigua or Oaxaca City. This makes it a top destination for students seeking quality education on a budget.

With reliable WiFi, Panajachel is one of the most popular places for digital nomads in Central America.

🌟 Pro Tip: For secure mobile data in Guatemala, I recommend using the Airalo Global eSIM for travellers. You can stay connected at very affordable rates. 

Check rates for local and regional eSIMS at Airalo.com. 

2. Commune with Nature (or Go Ziplining) at Atitlan Nature Reserve 

Sign at Atitlan Nature Reserve.
There’s lots to choose from at this expansive eco-attraction.

Set on the outskirts of Panajachel (Google Map), the Reserva Natural Atitlán offers an exhilarating t blend of eco-adventure and beauty.  It’s a top attraction in Panajachel for nature enthusiasts, adrenaline seekers and family travellers.  

Begin your day with a hike along the reserve’s trails lined with cascading waterfalls, suspension bridges, bamboo forest, palm trees and lush vegetation. You see monkeys, tropical birds, rivers, steep cliffs and a beach.  

For an adrenaline rush, soar (or pedal) across the tree canopy on a series of zip lines and bike cables. You’ll enjoy aerial views of the forest and shimmering Lake Atitlán along the way.

Also don’t miss the mariposaria (butterfly sanctuary) and educational exhibits at the visitor center.

The park is open from 8 am to 5 pm. But if you’re really keen you can overnight in a jungle bungalow. 

If you overnight here, you’ll need transportation (tuk tuk or taxi) into Panajachel. But nothing beats the experience of falling asleep to the sound of hooting owls, peeping tree frogs and other wildlife. 

Book a Ziplining Tour (with hotel pick-up) at the Atitlan Nature Reserve  on Viator.com

3. Stroll Panajachel’s Boardwalk and Promenade 

Crafts for sale in Panajachel.
You can’t miss the crafts and T-shirts for sale while strolling the pedestrian zones. (Credit: Francisco Sanchez)

Visiting Panajachel is one of the top things to do in Guatemala. While it gets a fair bit of criticism for being touristy and full of vendors selling cheap goods, the fact is it does have several attractive pedestrian zones.

In my experience, as long as you avoid major holidays, you can often have entire streets to yourself. 

Young woman walking n Panajachel with view of Lake Atitlan.
You’ll be rewarded by panoramic views after running the gauntlet of craft stalls. (Credit: Francisco Sanchez)

The main street of Calle Santander is lined with cafes,  boutiques and restaurants all the way to the waterfront. 

4. Go Kayaking and Hiking in Panajachel 

A unique way to experience the beauty of Lake Atitlán is with a full-day or half-day excursion combining hiking and kayaking along its picturesque shores. 

Not only will you have the opportunity to visit villages near Panajachel where local farmers cultivate their coffee crops but you’ll witness fishermen in traditional hand-carved boats as you glide across the lake in a kayak.

For those looking for an extra thrill, cliff jumping is an option.

Check rates and availability of a Kayaking and Hiking Tour on Viator.com.

5. Learn About Cacao in a Hands-on Chocolate Workshop 

A unique thing to do in Panajachel is to take a cacao workshop at the Casa del Chocolate Artesenal on Calle Santander (Google Map).

Person demonstrating products at Casa del Chocolate in Panajachel.
Learn about cacao at the Casa del Chocolate Artesenal on Calle Santander in Panajachel.

The knowledgable staff provide visitors with an immersive journey into ancient Mayan chocolate traditions, including the history and cultural significance of cacao in Mesoamerican societies.

You’ll enjoy hands-on fun like grinding cacao beans with traditional stone tools and learning the basics of crafting pure, artisanal chocolate.

Two young women deomonstrating cacao sorting.

The workshop also includes tastings of various cacao products, highlighting the bean-to-bar process.

If you don’t have time for a full session, the shop is packed with a range of products from 70% cacao bars to rum. It’s the ideal place to buy tasty souvenirs of Panajachel. 

6. Enjoy a Resort Day Pass in Panajachel

If you’d like to go swimming in Panajachel and aren’t keen on swimming in the lake, it’s possible to get a resort day pass to a luxury hotel with a swimming pool at a reasonable rate.

Enjoy pool loungers, a buffet lunch and relax poolside views of Lake Atitlan. Get details in how to get a Hotel Day Pass in Panajachel.

7. Explore the Maya Villages around Lake Atitlan

Claudia and her grandma in San Jorge.
Beautiful traditional clothing in San Jorge. (Credit: Michele Peterson)

The Maya indigenous people make up  51 per cent of the national population in Guatemala. Solola is the heart of the Maya world so you can expect to see locals dressed in traditional clothing.

Their clothing is woven on backstrap looms and is created in a rainbow of beautiful colours and patterns unique to each village.

Special ceremonial dress is worn for the many occasions, events and holidays in Guatemala when it’s possible to see traditional dances performed. 

There are two piers in Panajachel offering service by lanchas (small boats) to the various villages surrounding the lake. You can also take organized tours of Lake Atitlan visiting San Pedro La Laguna, Santiago Atitlan and San Antonio Palopo.

The pier at the end of Calle Rancho Grande is for boats leaving for Santa Catarina, San Antonio, San Lucas, Santiago Atitlan distances range from and tours of the lake. 

The pier at the end of Calle de Embarcadero is for departures to Santa Cruz, Jaibalio, Tzunana and San Marcos.

Another popular way to visit a Mayan village is to take a guided ATV Tour  to Santa Catarina and San Jorge.

8. Learn about the Mayan Genocide in Santiago Atitlan

One of the best things to do in Panajachel is to educate yourself about the injustices and persecution of the Maya people. A good place to begin is in the town of Santiago Atitlán on the shores of Lake Atitlan.

Home to the Tz’utujil Maya people and surrounded by the volcanoes San Pedro, San Lucas Toliman and Atitlan, it’s one of 12 pueblos named for the apostles.

Mural in Peace Park of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala
Mural in Peace Park of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala.

Santiago Atitlan is especially notable as it was the site of one of the most important events of the civil war in Guatemala in the late 1970s and 1980s.

On July 28, 1981, Stanley Francis Rother, a priest from Oklahoma, was murdered in Santiago Atitlan, one of many killed as part of the armed conflict between military forces and the Maya people.

On Dec. 2, 2016, Pope Francis officially recognized Father Rother as a martyr for the Catholic faith. Blessed Father Rother is the first U.S. born martyr of the Catholic faith. His feast day — July 28 — is the same day as his martyrdom.

Another significant event occurred on December 1990. That’s when the Guatemalan army fired automatic weapons on an unarmed crowd of Tzutujil Mayas on the shores of Lake Atitlan, killing 14 people. The massacre prompted international outrage and criticism. 

Today, there are several important plaques and peace memorials to Blessed Stanley Rother and the massacre in Santiago Atitlan.

9. Sample Regional Guatemalan Cuisine

The outdoor street market in Santiago Atitlán is also top spot to scout out traditional Guatemalan foods such as avocados, watermelon and tortillas.

But keep a look out for the unique local food known as patin, a tiny sardine-like fish in a tomato chile salsa that comes wrapped in maxán leaf.

Vendor in the Santiago Atitlan market with patin wrapped in hoja de maxán
Vendor in the Santiago Atitlan market with patin wrapped in hoja de maxán

Other traditional Guatemalan dishes to try include pulique, a stewed chicken dish popular for special occasions, as well as jocon de pollo, a stewed chicken in salsa verde.

Don’t miss pepian de pollo, another stewed chicken dish often considered the national dish of Guatemala.

A selection of popular Guatemalan foods including rice, stuffed plantain and chicken pepian.
A selection of popular Guatemalan foods including rice, stuffed plantain and chicken pepian.

They all hail from the regions in the highlands of Guatemala so are worth seeking out while in Lake Atitlan.

Popular experiences include taking a hands-on Maya cooking class near Lake Atitlan. Or, take a coffee plantation tour. 

10. Take a Day Trip to Chichicastenango

Local men and women on the stairs in the K’iche’ Mayan town of Chichicastenango Guatemala.
The K’iche’ Mayan town of Chichicastenango Guatemala.

One of the best things to do in the Lake Atitlan area is visit the colourful Mayan market in Chichicastenango.

The Chichicastenango market, home of Maxeños, the natives of Chichicastenango. takes place on Thursdays and Sundays.

Many tour operators offer shuttle services to the market on market days so book a Tour to Chichicastenango in advance. 

Check prices and availability of a guided tour to Chichicastenango on Viator.com.

11. Visit an Authentic Market in Sololá

Crowds of people at the market in Solola, Guatemala
Visiting the market of Solola near Panajachel. (Credit: Michele Peterson) 

The market in Sololá, Guatemala, is held on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Getting there is part of the fun as you can ride a “chicken bus” from Panajachel to Solola round-trip. 

These brightly coloured repurposed school buses are popular throughout Guatemala.  

Chicken bus in Solola Guatemala
Chicken bus in Sololá, Guatemala. (Credit: Michele Peterson)

At this lively market, many of the local Kaqchikel Maya people wear their traditional attire. Most of the women will be wearing intricately woven huipiles (blouses) and cortes (skirts), while the men might wear shirts with colorful patterns.

It’s a much less touristy market than those in Chichicastenango as the emphasis is more on fresh fruit and vegetables, household goods, livestock and dried spices rather than handicrafts. 

However, the Sololá market is not just a place for buying and selling goods; it’s also a social hub where people meet, chat, and exchange news. 

So it’s an immersive way to experience the local culture and traditions of the Guatemalan highlands firsthand. 

12. Soak in Hot Springs or a Mayan Temazcal

Get a wellness boost  by taking a day trip to the large thermal baths at Fuentes Georgina or visiting the geothermal waters at the St. Regis Hotel on Santander Avenue.

It’s also possible to relax in a Mayan sauna known as a temazcal (also spelled temescal). While the sweat lodges of Oaxaca are better known and more accessible to the public, steam baths are also available in Guatemala if you know where to look. 

In Panajachel, Hotel Utz Jay (Google Map) offers both a hot tub and traditional sauna onsite.

Another place to experience a Maya sweat lodge is at The Sanctuary, a meditation, yoga and retreat centre in San Marcos La Laguna. They offer a deluxe sauna featuring medicinal herbs, salt scrubs, aromatherapy oils and other healing products. 

13. Experience Local Culture at a Festival

Main square of San Pedro la Laguna Guatemala
Main square of San Pedro la Laguna Guatemala with large statue of San Pedro. (Credit: Michele Peterson) 

While in Panajachel be sure to visit the villages of Lake Atitlan.

They are top spots to experience Guatemala’s unique festivals such as the town’s saint day, Day of the Dead, Dia del Diablo  Semana Santa and the processions known as posadas during Navidad (Christmas) 

14. Learn about Guatemalan Weaving and Embroidery

Vendor in blue blouse standing in front of embroidery stall in Chichicastenango in Guatemala.
While prices aren’t lower in Chichicastenago, there is a vast selection of crafts to choose from

Guatemalan Mayan weaving is a centuries-old tradition that is both a cultural expression and a practical art form.

Using backstrap looms, which are portable and anchored by the weaver’s body, artisans create textiles rich in symbolic meaning and intricate patterns.

Each design often tells a story, representing the weaver’s village, social status, and personal identity through motifs inspired by nature, mythology and daily life.

The vibrant colors are typically achieved using natural dyes from plants, insects, and minerals.

Insider Tip: Take a hands-on course to learn Guatemalan Backstrap Weaving in San Juan la Laguna.

15. Visit the Lacustre Museum in Panajachel

Located on the grounds of the Hotel Posada de Don Rodrigo in Panajachel, the Museo Lacustre is one of the top things to do around Lake Atitlan.

Its exhibits on Mayan culture, the history and the geological formation of Lake Atitlan are quite comprehensive given the relatively small size of the museum itself.

Don’t miss the information about Samabaj, a sunken Mayan city that lies submerged underwater in Lake Atitlan. Discovered in 1996 by a diver who was looking for the lost Mayan city, it was buried by rising water levels around 250 A.D.

Its ceremonial monuments, altars and other structures are the first underwater archaeological ruins to be officially excavated in Guatemala. The precise location of the ancient site is kept secret to avoid looting of valuable artifacts.

16. Go Hiking around Lake Atitlan from San Pedro La Laguna

Boat at dock in San Pedro La Laguna Lake Atitlan
It’s an easy ride to Pan Pedro la Laguna, Lake Atitlan. (Credit: Michele Peterson) 

One of the top places to go hiking near Panajachel is in San Pedro La Laguna. The best short day hike is at Parque Ecologico Volcan San Pedro (Google Map) in the cloud forest near the top of the volcano. 

You’ll hike past a patchwork of avocado and papaya orchards as well as shade-grown coffee bursting with glossy red berries.  

Another popular hike is Indian Nose, a hill that resembles a Mayan Lord. Check safety conditions and travel with a guide. 

17. Check Out the Restaurant Scene in Panajachel  

Deli Jasmin restaurant in Panajachel.
Deli Jasmin restaurant is one of my favourite restaurants in Panajachel.

There’s a wide range of dining options including Guatemalan street food, vegetarian and vegan cuisine, typical Guatemalan cuisine as well as bars and coffee shops with traditional drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).

Some of my favourite restaurants in Panajachel include.

  • Deli Jasmin (for its garden setting and satisfying breakfasts),
  • Cafe Loco for when you need a coffee fix.
  • Tuscani for pizza and pasta. 
  • Cheros Bar Pupuseria. 
  • Guajimbos for Uruguayan steak and grilled meats.  
  • Panajachel market is also a prime place for fresh fruits, typical Guatemalan street food and snacks. 

How to Get to Panajachel, Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan Guatemala
Beautiful Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.

Fortunately, getting to Panajachel is relatively easy and inexpensive. If you’re coming from San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas or Huatulco and Puerto Escondido in  Oaxaca, read Night Bus to Guatemala for detailed instructions.

If you’ve arrived in Guatemala City by plane, you can either stay in Guatemala City overnight or take a shuttle to Antigua, the colonial city. Most hotels can arrange to send a private shuttle to pick you up at the airport. 

You can save some money by taking a shared shuttle. But that will  add  to the transfer time as the shuttle will drop off other passengers at their hotels along the way.

You might get lucky and be the first dropped off, but if not, you might spend an hour (or more) bumping along the cobblestone streets of Antigua when you could be nicely settled in your room.

View of Antigua Guatemala with the Agua volcano in the background
Antigua Guatemala is a short shuttle away from Lake Atitlan Guatemala

Check out my post 3 Budget Hotels you’ll love in Antigua for three hotels that are clean, well-located and safe. I’ll be adding some fabulous new hotels offering great value soon, so sign up for my newsletter to be the first to hear about them.

I recommend spending a few days in Antigua before taking a shuttle to Panajachel. It takes around 2 hours to get from Antigua to Panajachel by shuttle van.

But choose your shuttle company wisely. Some companies use the oldest vans imaginable (bald tires, poor brakes) and have a poor record of showing up on time.

Your best bet is to book a private shuttle from Antigua or the airport.   You won’t waste time driving around picking up and dropping off other passengers. Plus, private shuttle vans are generally in better condition.   

Check rates and availability of a Private Shuttle from Antigua or Guatemala City Airport on Viator.com. 

Read our post on Safety Tips for Guatemala for advice on travel between cities in Guatemala.

Thinking about volunteering in Guatemala? Get involved in a community project such as assisting marginalized groups, teaching English or saving sea turtles through conservation by volunteering in Guatemala.

Lake Atitlan Map 

Map of Lake Atitlan and the villages

Ferry docks in Panajachel

There are two docks in Panajachel. A shared boat to San Pedro la Laguna  costs 25 Q ( around $3)  and take approximately 30 minutes.

Muelle de la Playa Publica (Public Dock)

Located at the end of Calle Rancho Grande, this marina is where you catch the public boat to Santiago Atitlan, take a tour or book a private boat.

Schedule Panajachel to Santiago Atitlan 06:00-07:00-08:35-09:30-10:30-11:30-13:00-15:00-16:30.

Sanitago Atitlan to Panajachel 06:00-07:00-08:30-11:45-13:00-12:30- 13:30- 14:00-15:00-16:30.

Muelle Tzanjuyu

 Located at the end of Calle del Embarcadero on Lake Atitlan, this dock is where you catch the public boats to Santa Cruz, San Marcos, San Juan, San Pedro la Laguna

The schedule is every 30 minutes from 06:30-18:00

🌟 Pro Tip: Unless you have nerves of steel, the best time of day to travel is in the morning. Avoid taking the boat in the late afternoon and sit at the BACK of the boat if you can.

The Xocomil is a strong, sudden, midday wind that sometimes happens on Lake Atitlan after 1:00 pm. The Maya believe the Xocomil carries away sins and it can make for a very rough ride. 

Service can be cancelled if there aren’t enough passengers or if weather conditions are rough. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is Panajachel, Guatemala known for?

Panajachel was a famous hippie haven in the 1970s. Then, in the 1960s and 1970s, Panajachel gained notoriety as a stop on an international hippie trail that also included Morocco, India and Nepal.

It was a hang-out for young people, counter-culture and anti-establishment groups rejecting mainstream culture. Full moon parties, crystals, meditation centres and vortex energy fields drew people looking for an alternative way of life.

Today, most of the hippies have moved on to San Marcos or San Pedro where yoga, youth hostels and meditation workshops are still thriving. Being close to activities can help expats deal with feelings of homesickness when travelling. 

 Best Panajachel Hotels – Where to Stay 

Swimming pool at Porta Hotel del Lago in Panajachel, Guatemala.
Freeform swimming pool at Hotel Porta del Lago. (Credit: Michele Peterson) 

Be sure to book your accommodation before you arrive in Panajachel. The most popular hotels and apartments fill early.

Budget Hotels in Panajachel

Posada de Los Volcanes 

Set within a leafy garden, Posada de los Volcanes is walking distance to everywhere in Pana. It also offers tour services including shuttles to Antigua and Guatemala City Airport.  

Check rates and availability at Posada de los Volcanes on Booking.com. 

Hospedaje de Viajero 

Hospedaje de Viajero is another popular budget hotel located on Calle Santander. It’s close to the lake as well as several good restaurants and also features a rooftop terrace. 

Check rates and availability at Hospedaje de Viajero  on Booking.com.

Selina Atitlan 

Posh interior of Selina Atitlan in Panajachel.
Posh lobby of Selina in Panajachel. (Credit: Francisco Sanchez)

A popular budget place to stay in Panajachel is Selina Atitlán.

Much like its other locations in around the world (including our faves in Puerto Escondido and Mexico City), this upscale hostel is ideal for digital nomads, backpackers and budget travellers.

Swimming pool at Selina in Panajachel.
relax around the swimming pool at Selina. (Credit: Francisco Sanchez)

This property features a shared kitchen, bar restaurant, pool and tour desk. There’s also a wide selection of nicely decorated rooms from community dorms to private rooms for two people. 

It even has a swimming pool!   

Check rates and availability at Selina Atitlan in Panajachel on Booking.com. 

Mid-range Hotel in Panajachel

Swimming pool at Pool at Hotel Porta del Lago Lake Atitlan.
Enjoy the swimming pool complete with volcano views. (Credit: Michele Peterson) 

Although service can be a bit lacklustre, the  Porta Hotel del Lago is a good option thanks to its  spectacular views, an outdoor swimming pool and restaurant.

This Panajachel is perfect for families.  The location is also very convenient. The room rates are generally around $150 USD a night or less.

Check rates and availability for Porta Hotel del Lago in Panajachel on Booking.com. 

Luxury Hotel in Panajachel

Both Hotel Atitlan and Hotel Posada de Don Rodrigo are a step up in terms of the quality of the accommodation and views.

They offer expansive gardens, comfortable rooms and a prime location overlooking Lake Atitlan with spectacular views.

The Regis Hotel and Spa is another popular luxury hotel in Panajachel. This historic property even has its own thermal pools where you can soak away any travel ache and pains. It’s also in the heart of Panajechel’s restaurant row. 

Check rates and availability for Hotel Posada de Don Rodrigo in Panajachel on Booking.com.  

Check rates and availability for Regis Hotel Spa on Booking.com. 

Ultra Luxury Hotel in Panajachel

Two lounge chairs overlooking the infinity pool at Casa Polopo in Guatemala.
Soak up the incredible views at Casa Polopo (Photo Credit: Casa Polopo)

If you’re looking for a romantic stay for a unique destination wedding or honeymoon, a top choice for a boutique hotel on Lake Atitlan would be Casa Palopó.

This luxury boutique hotel is a short distance outside Panajachel enroute to Santa Catarina Palopo. It overlooks Lake Atitlán with spectacular views of three volcanoes.

A member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection, Casa Palopó is one of the best luxury hotels in Guatemala. .

Check rates and availability for Hotel Casa Polopo in Santa Catarina Polopo on Booking.com

For other memorable spots for a wedding or honeymoon, check out these 17 Unique Wedding Destinations. 

This travel guide was originally published in 2019. It was substantially updated with new photos and information in 2024 following several onsite visits. 

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