Things to do in
San Juan La Laguna

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From Antigua: 3 Mayan Villages on Lake Atitlan Day Tour

1. From Antigua: 3 Mayan Villages on Lake Atitlan Day Tour

This is a real immersion in the Mayan culture and you will see the lifestyle of the Mayan people. See how ancient technology is used for textile manufacture as you visit three Mayan villages around Lake Atitlan. The departure is from Antigua, with a 2.5-hour drive to Panajachel (Lake Atitlán). Then, visit San Juan la Laguna, San Pedro, and Santiago Atitlan, returning at the end to Panajachel. This is a round trip around Lake Atitlan, and there will be a one-hour stop in every town. Admire the colorful town of San Juan. Visit its attractions down the main streets such as galleries and women's coops, and witness a chocolate and coffee production demo. Then, explore San Pedro. A small town populated by Mayan Tzutujil. Discover its interesting sights and learn about the local culture there. Lastly, make a stop in Santiago Atitlán, where you can make a visit to a deity revered by the locals and visitors. Its market day is very colorful, and you can visit Santiago Apóstol Parish Church, built in the colonial times in the Renaissance style.

Lake Atitlan: Boat Trip and Full-Day Tour with Lunch

2. Lake Atitlan: Boat Trip and Full-Day Tour with Lunch

After pick-up by your local guide from Panajachel, make your way to volcanic Lake Atitlan and set off on a boat trip across the peaceful water. Listen as your bilingual guide shares facts about life in the Guatemalan Highlands, and visit the villages of Santiago Atitlan and San Juan La Laguna. Learn about the local Maya culture in these traditional communities, as well as the benefits the textile and coffee farming industries brings to this peaceful region of Guatemala. While in San Juan La Laguna, enjoy a typical lunch at a local restaurant. Then admire the view of the 3 majestic volcanoes nearby; Atitlan, Toliman, and San Pedro.

Explore San Juan - Full-Day of Cultural Sharing

3. Explore San Juan - Full-Day of Cultural Sharing

You have a full day to explore San Juan, the “Swiss village” of Lake Atitlan. You will spend approximately 5 hours on a guided walking tour where you learn about the unique changes that have transformed this Tzutujile Mayan village into a model community. Visit art galleries, woman's weaving cooperatives, a medicinal and curative plant garden operated by the comedrones (mid-wifes), a coffee tour, the school and library, confradia shrines, and even the mayor’s office. You will meet several families, visit with them about how their lives have changed through experiential tourism. See a traditional children’s dance performance, and learn about the story behind the dance. Enjoy lunch with local recipes from this area, or if you prefer enjoy a cheese sampler platter with over 20 cheeses, all from Guatemala. (Lunch not included in tour price). Several famous painters are from San Juan and we visit their galleries to see them at work. The village has over 40 public murals depicting important elements of the Mayan culture, the Mayan calendar and counting system. Your guide will explain the meaning behind each mural; including the Mayan story of creation, ceremony, counting system and the development of mathematics and the 5000 year old calendar.  Women Weavers and Nuestra Artesania includes demonstrations showing how the beautiful fabrics are made; from harvesting the cotton, to spinning it into yarn, dieing the yarn, and then creating one of-a-kind fabrics with the back strap loom. The Qomaneel center is a medicinal and curative herb garden operated by the midwives of San Juan. You are guided through the garden and given samples of each plant along with a description of its curative powers. All natural soaps, teas, and shampoos are made on the premises.   Learn about the confradia system and how it helps keep the traditions, both Catholic and Mayan. This tour gives the visitor a little bit of all that Guatemala has to offer. 

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What people are saying about San Juan La Laguna

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 7 reviews

An amazing tour! Totally recomended, we learned a lot about the mayan culture, history and deities. Salvador, our guide, is from Lake Atitlan, he is amazing, truly recomended. At the start, due to a confusion with the name of the hotel, the driver didn't pass for us. But Salvador made the arrangement with the company to give us a private shuttle few minutes after. So, it was great! Again, totally recomended. You have to walk a lot in the tour to enjoy it in fullness, so is not recomended for childs or old people.

The tour itself is great. The views of the lake, volcanoes and Mayan villages are spectacular. Upon arriving in Panajachel, it seems that in the office they are somewhat uncoordinated with all the tours, but they assign you a guide soon. Benjamin is a fantastic and local guide, with whom you will feel very safe and will give you a lot of useful information.