Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, Destination Guide

Awake your inner adventure with a breathtaking trip to Guatemala’s most treasured territory, Lake Atitlán. This stunning lapis lazuli-colored lake, formed from a volcanic crater, is dotted with Mayan villages and offers a range of authentic experiences, from coffee plantations to ceramic workshops. Rejuvenate amidst the energy of the surrounding–and yes, active–volcanoes at one of the mesmerizing boutique hotels. Let the local flora and fauna enhance your culinary experience with exciting dishes and refreshing cocktails. For a seamless arrival with an added history lesson from your pilot, arrange a helicopter ride from the airport directly to your hotel and enjoy an unforgettable bird’s eye view of this paradise.

Where to Stay 

Casa Palopó 

Nestled in the lush hillside of the Lake Atitlán region, Casa Palopó is a luxury Relais & Chateau property rich with Guatemalan culture. Each room is uniquely decorated with contemporary and indigenous artwork, which showcases the vibrant colors of the country at every corner. Complete with two swimming pools that boast panoramic views, a grass helipad for a traffic-free arrival, and a top-of-the-line culinary program designed to excite your senses, this boutique hotel offers everything you need and more for a romantic escape with a loved one or an adventurous trip with the family. 

Casa Prana

If you’re looking for an elegant oasis in a tropical, off-the-beaten-path destination, Casa Prana is your answer. Built over nine acres of thriving gardens, this majestic villa turned boutique hotel is a magical getaway with a bohemian flare. From the saltwater swimming pool to the yoga studio in the sky to the beach volleyball court, Casa Prana presents resort-level amenities with the charm of a private residence. Don’t forget to book time at the spa for the ultimate retreat with views of the volcanos. Pro-tip, Casa Prana is only reachable by boat or helicopter, so plan accordingly. 

Where to Eat 

El Artesano Wine and Cheese

Located in San Juan de Laguna, this alfresco bistro offers a hint of European sophistication in the middle of the jungle. Enjoy a decadent charcuterie board filled with local cheeses and a wide selection of fine wine on the garden patio. While the unmarked dirt road path toward the entrance might be hard to find, the secrecy of this hidden gem is part of the experience and reward. 


A multi-colored festival tent filled with rustic lounges and planet-inspired light fixtures sets the scene of a meal at Zoola. This Israeli-inspired eatery is a fun place to gather a group of friends or the whole family for fresh shakshuka, juicy kebabs, crispy falafel, and endless pita. Part of a larger hostel property, this restaurant is beloved by locals and tourists alike. 

Where to Drink 

El Tecomate Cocktail Bar

With a focus on fuzing Lake Atitlán’s tropical ingredients with local spirits like Guatemala’s Ron Zacapa rum, El Tecomate is not your average bar. The mixology team aims to please all cravings from salty to sweet to sour craft cocktails. Located in Panajachel, this buzzy spot is worth a visit after an afternoon exploring the markets or a dinner out with friends. On weekends, a resident deejay turns the cocktail party into a full-fledged discoteca. 

Simoneta Mixology Cantina 

Using only fresh and locally grown fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs, Simoneta takes their cocktail game seriously. As the first mixology house in the region, this intimate bar serves delicious drinks in eclectic glassware with playful and utterly photogenic garnishes. Pop by for a pre-dinner drink before the nighttime crowd overflows the bar into a street party.   

Where to Visit 

Local Artisans Market, Panajachel

Discover exquisite handmade crafts, homeware, and traditional Guatemalan clothing at this outdoor fair. From beautifully woven textiles to intricate keepsakes, the stalls at the Panajachel markets are filled with artists from across Central and South America. Whether you’re looking for a gift or a personal souvenir, you’re bound to be inspired by what these passionate artisans have to offer. 

Ceramic Factories, San Antonio Palopó

Known for its distinctive ceramics, San Antonio Palopoé is a mecca for gorgeous pottery. The colorful, handpainted, and hand-glazed pieces are unique to this specific Lake Atitlán town due to the high-quality clay that is found in this area because of the rich volcanic riverbed. Naturally, bright shades of blue are the common thread among the local ceramicists, who create a wide range of homeware and traditional pottery. 

Boat Tour or Sunset Cruise 

The best way to take in the lake’s beauty is, of course, while on the water. Book a private or group boat tour to easily explore a few of the villages in one day. For a more romantic option, plan a sunset cruise with a bottle of bubbly. The sunset’s reflection on the lake is a watercolor picture come to life. 

La Voz Café Coffee Plantation Tour, San Pedro la Laguna

Part coffee tour and part hike through the lush rainforest, this hands-on experience is one of a kind. From the first cherry buds to the final bean, the La Voz Café fully guided tour breaks down the maturation process before visiting the museum dedicated to the art of coffee roasting and packaging. End the visit with a cup of 100% organic Lake Atitlán coffee and make sure to bring some home to enjoy later.

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