Panajachel Things to Do Tips by toonsarah Top 5 Page for this destination
Panajachel Things to Do: 24 reviews and 41 photos
Art shop on Calle Santander
The hub of gringo life in Pana is Calle Santander. This long straight street links the older part of town with the lake and its whole length is lined with restaurants, bars, shops and handicrafts stalls, all aimed at parting the tourist from his/her money. But if that sounds like the last place you want to go, think again! The crafts are colourful and reasonably priced, especially if you haggle. The restaurants cater to all budgets and the ones we tried ranged from OK to very good. The bars serve excellent cocktails at low prices, and great local beers and rum. And while people may hassle you to buy, or eat, it’s all good natured and a smile and “non gracias” will suffice.
Here and there a glimpse of local life intrudes, especially around the school where, at any time of night or day it seems, children hang out and play basketball, and at the nearby food stalls that attract local families and at weekends young people from Guatemala City, in town to party.
It’s on Calle Santander too that you’ll find some budget accommodation options, the Post Office and shops for essentials such as laundry powder or batteries. We also got a good deal on currency exchange in an art shop here – the one in my photo.
Directions: No need for directions – I can’t imagine anyone comes to Pana and doesn’t find themselves at some point on Calle Santander!
Urn, Classic period
The Posada de Don Rodrigo has its own small museum, displaying Mayan ceramics and other artefacts found on the lake bottom. While the collection isn’t extensive it is attractively displayed and there is plenty of information in both Spanish and English. I learnt quite a lot about the different periods of Mayan history (pre-classic, classic and late classic, as they are known) which stood me in good stead a few days later when we were visiting the ruins at Tikal. There are also some displays about the Lake Atitlàn area in general – its geology, periods of human settlement, the impact of the Spanish conquest and so on.
When I visited I was the only person in there, and I had to ask the man on reception to come and switch the lights on for me! Entry for those staying at the hotel is free, but other visitors have to pay 35 Q (students 20 Q and under 12s free).
I couldn’t see any signs prohibiting photography so I took a few shots, but was sure not to use the flash. My photos show:
1. The top of a large urn from the Classic Period (300-600 AD), from San Pedro
2. A vessel of the later Pre-classic period (600 BC – 300 AD)
3. An incense tripod from the Classic Period, also from San Pedro
Directions: The entrance to the hotel is at the foot of Calle Santander – ask at reception for admission to the museum
Early morning on Lake Atitlàn
Lake Atitlàn is beautiful at any time, but an early morning visit is a must, especially if you are a keen photographer. As the day wears on the wind picks up and the surface of the lake becomes rippled, but for the first few hours after day-break the water is still and the reflections at their best. So grab your camera and head down to the lake before breakfast – you won’t be disappointed.
If you’re lucky there may be a local fisherman out checking his lines, as this one was on our first morning here. Or stroll along to where the small ferry boats dock to add some foreground interest to your shots. A few clouds may wisp the top of the volcanoes but that only makes the photo more atmospheric.
Directions: Walk down the track at the end of Calle Santander
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