"A typical Cakchiquel Maya village" San Antonio Palopó by toonsarah

San Antonio Palopó Travel Guide: 12 reviews and 38 photos

Girl in traditional dress, San Antonio Palopó

San Antonio Palopó is one of the smaller villages on Lake Atitlàn and a visit here will only occupy a couple of hours but it’s well worth doing.

The people here are Cakchiquel Maya, and if you also visit Tz'utujil villages such as Santiago Atitlàn you’ll soon spot the differences in their traditional costumes. Whereas in the latter bright reds and embroidered flowers are the norm for huipiles, here, without exception as far as I could see, every woman and girl wears the same lovely shades of blue in narrow vertical stripes.

There are two ways to get here from Panajachel: pick-up truck (cheap but bumpy) or boat (dearer, because you will have to hire a private one as the ferries don’t call here, but more scenic). Actually there is a third way – some of the tours of the lake call here too.

But despite the few tours it is much less visited than Santiago and feels much more genuine. Locals definitely outnumber tourists on its streets and if you stray any distance from the dock and church, as we did, you will find yourself the object of curious (but not unfriendly) looks.

The village clings to the steep hillside that rises from the lake, with its little white church catching the eye perched high above most of the other buildings. Apart from the church there is little of architectural merit; this is a relatively poor community and houses are basic rather than decorative.

But this is a very good place to come to get away from the crowds of Panajachel or Santiago Atitlàn, and to get a flavour of everyday life on the shores of Lake Atitlàn.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:A taste of Guatemalan village life
  • Last visit to San Antonio Palopó: Nov 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (4)

Comments (10)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jun 8, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Sarah, you have been blessed with such an exciting stay there...Thanks for sharing! ><><><

  • Elisabcn's Profile Photo
    Apr 17, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    Nice little page, Sarah! Ah Guatemala! Maybe one day!! :-)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    Yet another lovely page from your visit to Guatemala. Nice photos of the Cakchiquel Maya women and girls all dressed in blue.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2011 at 7:16 AM

    Another wonderful adventure Sarah. I enjoy them.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Jan 23, 2011 at 5:01 AM

    Sarah, lovely little page about this gem in Guatemala. It looks like you have done a good price negotiation with the boatman. Well done. :-)

  • Jan 7, 2011 at 12:19 AM

    i agree with claus, would love to go back to guatemala one day!

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    Another great excursion from your Guatemalan travels, Sarah. It's no wonder you enjoyed your time here so much with short travel times and lots of great photographic subjects.

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Jan 1, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    genuinely interesting page, happy new year to you and yours. sb.

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Dec 30, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    Nice little place. Man would i like to go back to Guatemala.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Dec 27, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    What a lovely story of how San Antonio came to life :-) And I love the cute angles in your first photo :-)) The churches are nicely decorated (forgot to say that for S. Atitlan as well. And it was this blue pattern I loved so much!


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