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promoting Lake Atitlan
it's bio-diversity and eco system

good things around lake atitlan

multi-cultural expats sharing their best addresses

Virtual Guatemala multimedia services has been located in Panajachel since 20 years.
In this period we have produced many videos, posters and websites for different NGOs, foreign cooperation and government agencies on the lake's problematic, ecosystem and decay. Which gave us an unique opportunity to criss-cross the lake and its many villages and towns, and observe since the fast out-growing of Lake Atitlan surroundings and the inevitable degradation of it's waters.

Through we would like to draw awareness on the degradation of this beautiful
high-altitude sub-tropical lake, and share some of our reliable adresses and recommendations on
and what to do on your stay here.
We are not a travel service nor a travel guide, and our recommendations are solely based on
many years of experiencing lake atitlan.
Enjoy your visit!

circa. 1875  Eadweard Muybridge
can be seen at the Casa Kachiquel Photo Museum

a manifest for Lake Atitlan
Juan Skinner Alvarado (MSc.)

Member of the Scientific Committee of International Lake Environment Committee , ILEC
Integrated Lake Basin Management and Overcoming Obstacles to the Development of Waste Water Treatment Infrastructure in the Lake Atitlan Basin (ILBM)

   ... continue reading ...

circa. 1920
can be seen at the Casa Kachiquel Photo Museum


Or Pana, not particularly a picturesque town, more like the hub for Lake Atitlan's many surrounding villages… shops, banks, ATMs, hotels , restaurants; where one can stay and explore the villages around the lake on a daily schedule.
Tours can also be arranged from Pana to the rest of Guatemala, Chichicastenango, Antigua, Tikal etc…
Many foreigners live in Pana and around the lake and run hotels and restaurants with european standards and international cuisine, which in many cases makes you miss the mayan flavour and traditions and some villages because of the many foreigners running business Denature them.

circa. 1940 Panajachel
can be seen at the Casa Kachiquel Photo Museum

where to stay

Our favourite : Residencial Antares (click on Airbnb)

Los Encuentros

Located in Jucanya on route to las manos, 10 minutes walk from
calle Santader.
Is an intimate lodge with seven guest units, a relaxing lounge,
bar, a wood-burning sauna, a naturally (solar) heated lounging pool,
a natural medicinal plant garden, a well-equipped massage room and a
fitness center.

San Buenaventura de Atitlan

Located in the bay of
San Buenaventura, a 10 minutes
tuk-tuk ride from calle Santader.
Next to the Natural Reserve.
Out of noisy panajachel, in a beautiful garden and open views of the lake, confortable and peaceful.
Swimming pool and private beach.

Jenna's River
Bed & Breakfast

Located Camino a Santa Catarina, a 10 minute tuk-tuk ride from calle Santander. Spectacular views of the lake and it's volcanoes are visible from every Yurt and terrace. good food.

Santa Catarina

Located in Santa Catarina 4 kilometres from Panajachel.
Comfortable, good food, pool and hot volcanic water pool.


our favorite : Japanese delivery - call Takashisan 5431-5719 (see menu)


Located in the end part of calle santander, economic, good italian cuisine, and some Guatemalan dishes, owned by a professional Guatemalan chef.

El Bistro

located in the end part of calle Santader. Best value in town, mainly italian cuisine, only place we recommend to safely eat Carpacio and Tartar.

Dolce Gelato

located in the end part of calle Santander, italian owned, traditional italian recipes, best gelato in town, also in San Marcos and San Pedro.

El Rincón
del Chef

Located in Jucanya, road to
Santa Catarina.
Owned by a profesional Guatemalan chef, international cuisine,
menu changes daily.
Closed on Saturdays.


we recommended : Tuk Tuk Gerson call 5561-9082


located close to the market and town hall in the heart of Panajachel. The Church of St. Francis of Assisi was built by the religious order of Franciscans during the Spanish conquest of Guatemala. The 16th-century Catholic building has made it through the centuries despite several earthquakes that have rocked the area. worth while a visit.

La Galeria

La Galería has been exhibiting art in Panajachel since 1973. Originally opened to show the work of Guatemalan painter Nan Cuz, it presents today a wide selection of national and international artists. Its unique building is also used for cultural events and houses an extensive collection of folk art.

barrio Jucanya

Jucanya (or the other side of the river), is a popular quarter of Panajachel, mainly living quarters for panajachelenses, hardly any restaurants , hotels or shops. but worthwhile a visit specially in the later hours of the afternoon where inhabitants start coming back from their work, field work, fishing etc…its very picturesc and safe.

Nature Reserve

located in the Buenaventura peninsula 10 minutes Tuk Tuk ride from calle Santander.Nature & Wildlife Areas, Monkey’s, pistes etc… Hiking Trails, Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks, Outdoor Activities, Nature & Parks, Tours


Be Blue by Ixcasala (click here)


located on the north side of the town, close to the town hall,
it has been renovated 10years ago, very colourful and animated.
you will find close to everything from 6am to 6pm.

el Guipil

located on calle santander, this small boutique hold a lot of articles from jewellery to used books in many languages, hapless and souvenirs, also a for money exchange.


not a tipical guatemalan souvenir shop, most articles come from Asia, but a very nice boutique with a nice assortment of jewellery.


located in the end part of calle Santander, postcards,books in english, maps and many more articles and souvenirs.

other towns around the lake

Santa Catarina Palopo

is located on the shores of Lake Atitlán, approximately 4 km South-Southeast of Panajachel, (15minutes Tuk Tuk ride)The vast majority of the residents of the town are indigenous, descending from the Kaqchikel Maya.
Perhaps the most easily recognizable characteristic of Santa Catarina Palopó is the blue huipil, or blouse, which is worn prominently by the women of the community.
a recently spurred tourist industry has created a market for souvenir style goods and services.

San Antonio Palopo

is located on the eastern shore of Lake Atitlán. aprox 8 km from Panajachel) The people of San Antonio Palopo are Cakchiquel Maya with a distinctive style of clothing. arguable one of the most pitoresc village around the lake, many small factory shops of ceramics items. tiny climing streets trough the village, impresive view of the lake from the 17th century small church.

San Lucas Toliman

San Lucas Tolimán located 45 minutes drive south of Panajachel, on the foot of volcanos Toliman and Atitlan, many coffee fields nice main plaza and at the shore end of the town the 18th century church, The people of San Lucas Toliman are Cakchiquel Maya . also the gateway to the coast and the guatemalan low lands.

Santiago de Atitlan

southwest of Panajachel across the lake.[1] Major highways reach Lago Atitlan at San Lucas Toliman and Panajachel. A road links Santiago to San Lucas Tolliman. Boats connect the numerous communities around Lago Atitlan.
The majority of the residents are indigenous Mayans. It was the capital of the Tz'utujil people in pre-Columbian times and its name was Chuitinamit.
Santiago Atitlán is the home of the Cojolya Weaving Center and Museum,
maybe one of the most I’mpresive indigenous town around the lake, market. main plaza and 17th century massive churh are a must in your visit to Santiago.

... to eat around the lake with access by boat or road from Panajachel


In Santa Catarina, nice restaurant pool side, international and local cuisine, Good Club Sandwich and stuffed peppers speciality


In Santiago, nice restaurant with terrace overlooking the Santiago bay, international and local cuisine
best Hamburgers around the lake.


In San Lucas, restaurant with terrace overlooking the San lucas Bay.
international and local cuisine good value friendly service.

Jenna's b&b 

 in permaculture Nice restaurent terrace overlooking lake atitlan and volcanoes good international and exotic cuisine, curries etc…

... to stay around the lake with access by boat or road from Panajachel

Villa Sumaya

In Santa Cruz, a retreat & wellness center. Dedicated to rejuvenating holistic practices and healing modalities as well as preserving Mayan traditions and facilitating outdoor adventure in the heart of the Altiplano. Majestically located on the shores of Lake Atitlan, we offer custom designed all inclusive services, to personal, group and family retreats.


In Santiago. This is the perfect place to enjoy an excellent stay in Santiago Atitlan, Solola Guatemala. traditional tz’utujil village design like the wooden beams, carved stone raised on two separate porches with large wooden columns, and thatched roofs. The bungalows are romantic with their carved stone and thatch roofs, with private gardens, terraces, and bathrooms with hot water. All of the rooms have views of the lake and volcanoes.


In San Lucas. A family-run hotel, serene and tranquil.

Los Tarrales

Has 11 double rooms with private bathrooms and hot shower and one single room with a semi-private bathroom. The rooms are distributed in four different historic buildings: La Casona, Lodge, Casa del Recibidor, and Las Chachas. Lounge areas are available in all buildings. Los Tarrales has also two tree houses with private bathroom, hot shower and electricity provided by solar panels in a shaded coffee plantation. The tree houses are located about 300 m from La Casona.

The Murals of San Bartolo, El Peten
by Heather Hurst, American archaeologist and archaeological illustrator.


for all your travel arrangements : LAX TRAVEL PANAJACHEL


also known as Santo Tomás Chichicastenango
Chichicastenango hosts market days on Thursdays and Sundays where vendors sell handicrafts, food, flowers, pottery, wooden boxes, condiments, medicinal plants, candles,
Next to the market is the 400-year-old church of Santo Tomás. It is built atop a Pre-Columbian temple platform, and the steps originally leading to a temple of the pre-Hispanic Maya civilization remain venerated.


is a Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican archaeological site in the western highlands of Guatemala. It was the capital of the Late Postclassic Kaqchikel Maya kingdom from 1470 until its abandonment in 1524. The architecture of the site included a number of pyramid-temples, palaces and two Mesoamerican ballcourts. Wikipedia
Closes 4PM. a 45 minutes car drive from Panajachel.


commonly referred to as just Antigua or la Antigua, is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches. It served as the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. a 2hours car drive from Panajachel.


is the ruin of an ancient city, which was likely to have been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala.[2] It is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala. Situated in the department of El Petén, the site is part of Guatemala's Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. a 40minutes flight from Guatenmala city, 8hours car drive from Panajachel.

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