The lake as seen from Panajachel

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

     Lake Atitlan is the jewel of the highlands. The lake is surrounded by astounding natural beauty. It floats in the sky, a mile above sea level, relying on 3 majestic volcanoes to hold gravity at bay.

     The word Atitlan is a Mayan word that translates as "the place where the rainbow gets its colors". The main tourist center is Panajachel, an 800 year old pueblo of about 14000, mostly Cakchiquel Mayas and some foreigners from every corner of the globe, living inside that rainbow.

     In the highlands of Guatemala, especially around Lake Atitlan, the Mayan culture still thrives. The spirit it invokes is the hidden gem of Guatemala, and makes this one of the most exotic destinations in the world.

     The Maya are known for being friendly, funny, welcoming of strangers, and also shy. Living among them is an enchanting experience. There are about a dozen other villages scattered around the lake. Some are Cakchiquel, some Tz'utujil and both speak different languages. The indigenous lake people were accustomed to dealing with other cultures they couldn't communicate with, long before tourists ever showed up.


     Panajachel has quite a few small hotels and pensions with 10 or 20 rooms and beautiful gardens, clean and comfortable. Most are owned and operated by indigenous families, who are very good at easing your transition into the living Maya world. They are a delight, and should not be missed.

     You will find them, and everyone else here, friendly and fun to be around. As you explore the area on and around our lake, with its incredibly beauty, the hospitable local folks will provide you with a lifetime of stories that your grandchildren will never believe.

Atitlan Sol: Lake Atitlan Travel Reviews and News