"La beba in Panajachel" Panajachel by la_beba

Panajachel Travel Guide: 133 reviews and 294 photos

You have to make the town of Panajachel your home base for exploring Lake Atitlán. Panajachel is a colorful and lively, yet laid back, beach town. One of the things that makes Panajachel so interesting is its blend of people that stroll its streets. This includes Mayan women in their traditional dress, the wealthy of Guatemala City who come here to vacation or spend the weekend, backpackers, and hippies from the 1960s and 70s that appear to have visited but never left.

The volcanoes, San Pedro, Toliman, and Atitlan set an incredible stage for this town. Panajachel is also the gateway to explore the three indigenous villages around Lake Atitlan. Santiago Atitlan, Santa Cararina Palopo and San Antonio Palopo, all are famous for its women weavers and their typical clothes.

During the period of the Spanish conquering Guatemala, the shores of the lake were the scene of the great battle in which the Spanish and their Cakchiquel allies defeated the Tzutuhils. The Spanish set up a church and monastery in Panajachel soon afterward, and used the town as a center for converting the Indians of the region to the Catholic faith. The original facade of the church stills stands, and is one of the gems of the colonial style in Guatemala.

Panajachel, or Pana as it is called by many locals, is a town full of interesting sights, sounds, and smells. The town has numerous hotels and is full of small quality restaurants and interesting nightspots. During the day you can visit the surrounding villages, enjoy the breathtaking views onto the volcanoes that surround the lake or visit Panajachel's busy market street. It is one of the best places in Guatemala to shop for souvenirs.

  • Last visit to Panajachel: Apr 2004
  • Intro Updated Feb 18, 2005
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“100% woman and the maraschino cherry on top of everything else ;o)”

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