"Panajachel . . . Where it's okay to be a gringo" Top 5 Page for this destination Panajachel by acemj
Panajachel Travel Guide: 133 reviews and 294 photos
Panajachel was once a sleepy little Mayan town on the northeastern edge of Lake Atitlán. In the 1960s, it was discovered by the hippies and ever since it has been a magnet for Bohemian, easy-going Westerners. At some point in recent years, the town adopted the nickname "Gringotenango," but don't let that dissuade you from a visit. In Panajachel, it's okay to be a gringo.
Guatemala is smaller than the US state of Tennessee, so you can squeeze in quite a bit no matter how short your stay. No visit to this diverse country is complete without stopping at Lake Atitlán, which Aldous Huxley (the British author of Brave New World) once famously called "the most beautiful lake in the world". Panajachel, sometimes called "Pana" by locals and travelers alike, has the best infrastructure of hotels, restaurants and information of any of the lake's dozen or so villages that surround it, making it a fun place to hang out day and night.
While in Pana, my buddy Ryan and I experienced some things that we were expecting such as beautiful natural scenery and interesting local Mayan culture. But it was the unexpected delights that I'll remember most. We were surprised to find some great food (excellent lake fish and the best Mexican fajitas either of us had ever had). And we were excited to meet some interesting characters (mostly older, hippy throwbacks) who had either lived there or had been visiting for 20 years or more. These people were able to give us a unique perspective on how things have evolved and changed over the years. Some things have improved (like the local economy) and some things have gotten worse (like village authenticity and pollution). All in all, Pana is still a great place and one of the most convenient bases for exploring the spectacular Lake Atitlán.
- In a nutshell:"Lake Como, it seems to me, touches on the limit of permissibly picturesque, but Atitlan is Como with additional embellishments of several immense volcanoes. It really is too much of a good thing." - Aldous Huxley
Just up the hill from Panajachel is the town of Solola. If you don't have time to visit the famous market in... more travel advice
I took this photo near the beach on Calle Santander. Panajachel isn't as picturesque and clean as Antigua Guatemala. It... more travel advice
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acemj's Related Pages
Panajachel Travel Guide
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- "Panajachel . . . Where it's okay to be a gringo"
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- Things to Do in Panajachel
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- Nightlife in Panajachel
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- Warnings and Dangers in Panajachel
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- 27 Reviews
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