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Things to do in Panajachel

Our most recommended things to do in Panajachel

Lake Atitlan Boat Day Tour with Expert Guide

1. Lake Atitlan Boat Day Tour with Expert Guide

Cruise across Lake Atitlan and visit the villages of San Juan La Laguna on this full-day shared sightseeing tour. Ringed by 3 volcanoes on its southern flank, Lake Atitlan is the deepest lake in Central America. Departing from Panajachel, at the gateway to the lake, your private guide will take you on a scenic shared boat trip before exploring some local textile communities and the Mayan villages of San Juan La Laguna. Get amazing views of the Atitlan, Toliman and San Pedro volcanoes, as you experience for yourself why the area became such a Mecca for beatniks and bohemian writers such as Aldous Huxley. Capture the scent of coffee plantations, and then try some freshly ground coffee. Here, you can immerse yourself in the laid-back vibe of the Tz'utujil Mayans and turn the noisy dial of modern life down to zero.

Solola Market and Mountain Villages Tour

2. Solola Market and Mountain Villages Tour

See the local handicrafts from this region, and shop if you wish.  However this tour is less about shopping and more about sharing the Mayan culture.  You will find the people warm and welcoming, and more of the Kachekel Maya dress in traditional traje (clothes).  Even the men still dress in traditional clothes. You will visit many interesting sights unique to this location including the local government office, and the indigenous mayor's office.  Learn how and why the two mayor's exist side by side.  Your guide can explain about the Mayan calendar and teach you about the unique Mayan counting system. Full day trip takes you high into the mountains above Lake Atitlan and features the Solola market, small farms, and Mayan villages. Drive through maize and terraced vegetable fields, coffee fields, old growth forest, and into the cloud forest.  Visit a sacred Mayan site with the chance to witness a Fire Cleansing Ceremony.  The day begins in Panajachel and the start of our adventure. You drive along ancient roadways that have been used by the Kachekel Maya for centuries.  You will view villagers going about their daily life, encounter farmers tending their maize and coffee fields, and see some of the most magnificent scenery in the world.  You can visit a sacred Mayan site where rituals are performed by the local shamans, and make your own offering at the alter. This rugged and remote area has barely been touched by the outside world.  Our drive takes us 2500 feet above the waters of Atitlan for breath taking views and pristine scenery.  We drive into the countryside to visit the small mountain village of Conception.  The road to this village has been paved for less than 10 years. The town is especially proud of its beautifully maintained church built in 1612.  Visit the confradia of Saint Frances and a lesser known Maximon.  Learn about the confradia systems and why they are important to the people of Guatemala.

Guatemala: 10-Day Mayan Explorer Adventure

3. Guatemala: 10-Day Mayan Explorer Adventure

Spend 10 days in Guatemala exploring the country’s stunning landscape of volcanoes and mountain lakes. Learn about the Mayan lifestyle, shop at traditional markets, visit ancient ruins, and hike up a volcanic peak. Transfers and first-class public bus service are included, as is basic hotel accommodation with private bath. Detailed Itinerary Day 1: Guatemala City – Antigua Your driver will meet you at Guatemala City’s Aurora Airport for the transfer to your Hotel in Antigua. Day 2: Antigua – Lake Atitlan Today you’ll travel from Antigua to Panajachel, where you’ll stay overnight with a Mayan Family in San Jorge village. Experience the local Mayan lifestyle. Day 3: Lake Atitlan by Boat Take a boat tour to visit Mayan communities along the lake, including San Pedro, Santiago, and San Antonio. Day 4: Panajachel – Chichicastenango – Antigua (Thursday and Sunday only) Travel from Panajachel to the Chichicastenango Market, the largest market in Guatemala, where vendors offer colorful clothing and souvenirs. You’ll have time to bargain and do a lot of shopping and interacting with Mayan sellers. Day 5: Antigua – Pacaya Volcano Active Trek Your driver/guide will pick you up at your hostel for the transfer to the bus station. You’ll have a 1-hour ride to the Pacaya Volcano base, and then hike for 2 hours to the volcano’s peak. Day 6: Antigua – Lanquin – Semuc Champey You will be transferred from your Antigua hotel to Lanquin, travelling for the whole day. Day 7: Lanquin – Kanba (Kanba Caves and Semuc Champey Day Tour) A local guide will meet you at your hotel to begin this day tour. Experience the pristine KanBa Caves and relax by the crystal clear waters of the Semuc Champey pools. Day 8: Lanquin – Semuc Champey – Flores Your will be transferred from Lanquin to Flores by shared van, travelling for the whole day. Day 9: Flores – Tikal The driver will meet you at your hotel for your transfer to Tikal park. Arriving early in the morning, you’ll be among the first visitors and have a chance to see monkeys in the jungle area. Explore the ancient Mayan ruins. Day 10: Flores – Guatemala City You have a free day in Flores to relax on the amazing beach of Lake Peten Itza. That night you'll be transferred by first-class public bus on the overnight service to Guatemala City for your departure.

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

4. 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.

Chichicastenango and Panajachel One Day Tour

5. Chichicastenango and Panajachel One Day Tour

This day-long tour of Guatemala, beginning from Antigua or Guatemala City, covers market villages to picturesque lakes and is sure to give you a bar-none introduction to some of the country's loveliest sights! Start your day at the open market of Chichicastenango. Here, you can explore the indigenous market and witness the incessant exchange of fruits, vegetables and handicrafts between local people and foreigners. This charming local market really does offer just about everything—you can even shop for wood products, ceramics and the sorts of gifts that the Mayan priests offer on their pre-hispanic altars. We will then move on to visit Santo Tomás church, where the Popol Vuh (The sacred book of the Maya) was found. For the perfect end to the day we will spend the remainder of our time overlooking one of the world's most beautiful lakes.

Lake Atitlan: Mayan Ceremony at the Sacred Caves

6. Lake Atitlan: Mayan Ceremony at the Sacred Caves

Experience an important ceremony of the Maya people of Guatemala at the most sacred and holy location on Lake Atitlan. Transfer to the trailhead from Panajachel. Then, walk to the 1st cave (a maximum 20-minute hike). Named “Nimajay,” “San Simon,” “Singing” and “Colorado,” the 4 caves have been used by the Mayans for centuries for their Fire Cleansing and Protection Ceremony. The highland tribes travel for hours to visit the holy caves, and you will feel the energy and power as soon as you approach the cave entrance. Watch the shamans perform the ceremony (not guaranteed, but available on most days), and experience an authentic part of the living Mayan culture of the Guatemala highlands. Your guide will explain why the ceremonies are performed, and teach you about the ritual and unique meanings of the Mayan calendar. Located 1,200 feet above Lake Atitlan, the caves offer panoramic views of the lake and caldera. Stand on top of Eagle Rock, and marvel at how the earth drops hundreds of feet around you. Feel your spirit soar like a bird as you stand with nothing but air on all sides. You can also visit the shrine of San Simon/Maximon, the colonial church, and a 200-foot waterfall.

3-Day Tour of Lake Atitlan & Chichicastenango Market

7. 3-Day Tour of Lake Atitlan & Chichicastenango Market

Experience two of Guatemala's most celebrated points of interest: sparkling Lake Atitlan and the Chichicastenango Market on this 3-day tour from Antigua. Visit the highland town of Chichicastenango, world-famous for its open-air market. Here you'll find amazing handicrafts created by the indigenous Maya people as you witness an incessant exchange of fruits and vegetables. Next to the market stands the Church of Santo Tomas, a 16th-century church where you can observe age-old Mayan rituals being performed. Filling an enormous caldera and surrounded by volcanoes and traditional Mayan villages, Lake Atitlan has become renowned for its indescribable beauty and unique cultural history. Spend a day on a guided boat tour of the lake and surrounding towns, then experience the nightlife of Panajachel. Detailed Itinerary Day 1: Antigua ̶ Chichicastenango – Panajachel Travel from Antigua to Chichicastenango. Explore the open-air market, where a wide array of produce, finely woven textiles, and intricate handicrafts are for sale. Afterward, visit the Church of Santo Tomas. Evening transfer to Panajachel for overnight. Day 2: Lake Atitlan Boat Trip Board a private boat for a scenic trip across Lake Atitlan. Visit two traditional Maya villages that line the shores of the lake and admire views of the nearby volcanoes. Afterward, enjoy free time in Panajachel on your own. Day 3: Panajachel ̶ Antigua Have free time to further explore Panajachel. In the afternoon, transfer to Antigua Colonial City.

Antigua – Panajachel Private Shuttle Service

8. Antigua – Panajachel Private Shuttle Service

Hire a private shuttle for your travel between Antigua and Panajachel. You’ll be picked up at any local hotel or residence, travel in comfort and safety on this 2.5-hour transfer, and be dropped off at the address you request. Unlike shared shuttles, this service does not have a set schedule, which allows you to set a travel time of your choice. If you’re renting a house, you can ask the driver to stop at a market so you can pick up what you need. You can also stop at a bank to exchange money, or at a restaurant for a meal. Vehicles are supplied by Xocomil Tours, a reliable travel agency operating since 1995, and offering safe and comfortable transfers. All vehicles are recent models and are fully insured. The drivers are all professional and helpful, helping ensure that you enjoy your visit to Guatemala.

Santa Cruz La Laguna: 6-Hour Solola Hike & Market Visit

9. Santa Cruz La Laguna: 6-Hour Solola Hike & Market Visit

Your day begins with a visit to the village of Santa Cruz La Laguna before heading high into the mountains. Hike along ancient paths that have been used by the Kachekel Maya for centuries. On this 6-hour adventure you’ll see farmers tending their maize and coffee crops, and see some of the most magnificent scenery in the world. Visit a sacred Mayan site where rituals are performed by local shamans, and make your own offering at the altar. The hike will take you up 2,500 feet above Lake Atitlan, affording breathtaking views of the lake. This rugged and remote area has had little contact with the outside world. The 4-hour walk/climb through magnificent scenery is a bit difficult, but not overly challenging if you’re in good health. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way, or eat at a local comedor. (Lunch is not included in the tour price.) You’ll come to a remote Mayan village high in the mountains, and from this point take a colectivo, a shared van/pick-up for the last few miles into Solola. Take time to explore the second-largest market in Guatemala before heading back to Panajachel by local bus or truck.

Acatenango Volcano Trek & Tour from Antigua 2D/1N

10. Acatenango Volcano Trek & Tour from Antigua 2D/1N

There are approximately 5 hours of walking to reach the camp, along the way there will be several stops for rest, hydration and food. There is the option to visit the volcano of fire the first day with an extra walk of 03 hours round trip. People who wish to do so must confirm at the time of booking to assign a guide with experience in the fire volcano. The prize for visiting the volcano of fire is Q200 per person. The accommodation in the tents is shared Day 2: 4 am Start of ascent to the summit of Acatenango 5.45 am Arrival at the summit of Acatenango Sunrise view on the summit summit descent 7:30 a.m. Breakfast at camp team review 8:30 a.m. Start of the descent 11:30 Arrival at La Soledad Village 12:30 Arrival in Antigua Guatemala

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What people are saying about Panajachel

Overall rating

4.2 / 5

based on 27 reviews

I like the options they present for trips, and I loved the tours to the towns of Lake Atitlán. Although it would be advisable in each place to give about 2 hours to stay. It is also recommended from the beginning to put the options with the price of different hotels, so that the client can choose from the beginning. And it is also recommended that with the transport the seats of each traveler be reserved, because in the minibuses the small seats are uncomfortable and if you change the minibus, they sit where it is available.

Very neat and accomplished

Everything offered was fulfilled. Comfortable transport. Very friendly in the chosen hotel. Good location and willing to collaborate. The guide in the Lake very attentive to his work. A very pleasant experience. Thank you

It may seem a bit pricey but well worth it. Your guide, Lee, will take you places you would not find on your own. As a Mayan in the know he can explain everything to you. You will not be disappointed

although we came late for the ceremony. the local tour guide was extremely knowledgeable. He showed me some great spots around and its overall history of his people.

Great tour! If you are interested in learning more about mayan culture or how cristianity has merged with local religion you should definitely give it a go.