The 10 Best Things to Do in Panajachel, Guatemala

November 24, 2017 Frederic Celentano

Panajachel (Spanish pronunciation: [panaxaˈtʃel], Pana) is a town in the southwestern Guatemalan Highlands, less than 90 miles from Guatemala City, in the department of Sololá. It serves as the administrative centre for the surrounding municipality of the same name. The elevation is 1,597 metres (5,240 ft). Population was 11 thousand in the 2000 census, estimated as 15,000 now (Insituto Nacional de Estadística de Guatemala), and has approximately doubled each of the last few decades. The town of Panajachel is located on the Northeast shore of Lake Atitlán, and has become a centre for the tourist trade of the area as it provides a base for visitors crossing the lake to visit other towns and villages.
Restaurants in Panajachel

1. Hotel Atitlan Gardens

Behind Atitlan Hotel, Panajachel 07010, Guatemala
Excellent
77%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 223 reviews

Hotel Atitlan Gardens

Reviewed By Clopez4C - Mexico City, Mexico

Great place with amazing view and great services. People make you feel at home. Restaurant and bar are a great place to dine but we decided to try the restaurants in town. 5 minutes away. The only down side is the WiFi is extremely slow but who needs it to be able to walk on their Gardens?

2. Lake Atitlan

Guatemala +502 5554 2598
Excellent
74%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 642 reviews

Lake Atitlan

Reviewed By EmanneercsAllowed - Palo Alto, CA

Until recently, this was probably a stunning lake. Surrounded by volcanoes and charming villages, it looks idyllic, and unlike any other lake I've ever visited.
Unfortunately, the lake is seriously polluted. So even if the surface looks calm, boating across it is a jarring experience, a continuous and not exactly gentle bump-bump-bump. The locals seem to be used to it but for me, a half hour of this was torture -- and I'm in good shape with no back problems.
Although there are roads connecting some of the lake towns, visitors are warned not to take them because of robbers. I don't know if this is a valid concern or not. I never felt unsafe among the hordes of tourists and we tuk-tuked from San Juan to San Pedro, no problem.
Finally, after Reading about "magnificent volcano views" I was prepared for unprecedented photo ops (I'm a photographer). Unfortunately, I learned too late that March and April are the hazy months. Still a good time to visit because it's dry and the temperatures are comfortable, but don't expect the spectacular vistas you'll see online. Sunsets, though, are pretty impressive even with the haze.

3. Mayan Kitchen

Casa Blanca betwen Hostel Fe Street, San Pedro La Laguna 07018, Guatemala +502 5824 7440
Excellent
99%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 158 reviews

Mayan Kitchen

We are a local business from Santa Cruz la Laguna run by local family and want to show how to cook some of the best Guatemalan dishes

Reviewed By _cmandav - London, United Kingdom

I loved spending time with Anita and my small group (there were just 4 of us total, which was perfect) learning about the history of San Pedro and about traditional Mayan/Guatemalan cooking. I would definitely recommend doing the cooking class, super easy to set up...MoreHrllo Mandav, Thank you for this beautful review you left for me. I really appreciate. Thank you very much. It was a pleasrue to have spent time with all of you. Anita

4. Los Elementos Adventure Center

Santa Cruz La Laguna 07014, Guatemala
Excellent
93%
Good
4%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 334 reviews

Los Elementos Adventure Center

Your base camp for exploring Lake Atitlan Guatemala. Choose from kayak excursions, hiking the Mountains surrounding the lake, or by private tour boat. You can find an adventure that suits your interest and level of activity. We are family friendly and ready to help you have a unique holiday experience.We specialize in offering experiences that will let you learn about the Mayan culture and meet many of the locals whom we have come to know. The Mayan people are very proud of their cultural past and they enjoying sharing their efforts to keep it alive and strong today. We can also help arrange a custom itinerary for all or part of your Guatemalan travels.We have started Los Elementos Adventure Center and Day Spay and Kayak Guatemala as a way of creating jobs for locals and supporting our non-profit Amigos de Santa Cruz. One of the big challenges of life in Guatemala is to improve the lives of the local people. Amigos de Santa Cruz is focused on improving the education and nutrition of the Mayan. We also support Mayan Medical Aid, which focus' on providing medical aid. Any tour or excursion you arrange will help support these non-profit organizations. Concierge service and all inclusive packages are our specialty. Custom and taylor made tours to your specific interests.

Reviewed By matthewhodal - Elgin, Illinois

We booked a whole day of fun. Took a shuttle from Antigua and spent the day kayaking, cliff jumping in to the lake, doing archery, and hiked to the rock climbing site. It was a fabulous experience for my family. The guide alex was outstanding, and lee and his wife were very accommodating and wonderful. Such a beautiful place!! Thank you!

5. Solola Market

Town Centre, Solola 07001, Guatemala
Excellent
65%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 39 reviews

Solola Market

Reviewed By Anton F - Kiev, Ukraine

If you want to see dead Mayans, go to Tikal; but for the real Mayan experience you should visit one of Atitlan villages. Solola is one of the best, with authentic people, traditions and culture. The market is very attractive, with lots of traditional things, food and so on. It's much more convenient than Chichicastenango market and rather cheaper.
The best experience on the lake is people. The real Mayan people. Here, in Solola.

6. Ixiim Cooking School

Calle Monte Rey | Panajachel, San Pedro La Laguna 07010, Guatemala
Excellent
94%
Good
6%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 66 reviews

Ixiim Cooking School

Learn how to cook your own guatemalan food (Pepian, jocon, rellenitos, mole, tamalitos...) acompanied with your tipical beverage (horchata, rosa de Jamaica, atol...) learn to grind corn to prepare your own tortillas and enjoy your food in our beautiful garden. Vegetarian and gluten-free recipes. Ask about our tours to the local market and the corn mill.

Reviewed By EPKennyD - Eden Prairi

We spent an afternoon cooking from scratch a wonderful meal. Roll up you sleeves and get ready to cook. We had a lot of fun too. The entire team is friendly and delightful. Ines was is a great cook and teacher. Super family activity with...MoreThanks you very much. It was a pleasure to have you at the school, we would love to see some pictures of you making Pepian back at home. Loves. Ines

7. Iximche

Excellent
43%
Good
45%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 264 reviews

Iximche

Reviewed By vmimartins - Guimaraes, Portugal

The ruins are very interesting but the use that they still today makes them even more interesting. We watched a Mesoamerican ball game that was being played by local youngsters and we attended a Mayan ceremony that was taking place there...

8. Stand Up Paddle Atitlan

Casa Xecaj, 1 minute walk from Main Dock, Santa Cruz La Laguna 07014, Guatemala
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 38 reviews

Stand Up Paddle Atitlan

Our purpose is to provide stand up paddle board experiences to visitors of Lake Atitlan. Our tours are designed for beginners and intermediates who want to try paddle boarding on a beautiful lake with stunning scenery. I am a certified ASI (Academy of Surfing Instructors) Level 2 Paddle Board Instructor. We are based out of Santa Cruz la Laguna, but can easily be accessed by all other towns on the Lake. Safety is very important to us so please be aware the wind and water swell effect tour operations. Tours and experiences are mornings only. Our basic tour is designed to be a great way to try paddle boarding, learn basics, and have a fun. I can also provide more advanced tours for experienced paddlers as well, just ask! Come join us on the water :)

Reviewed By Zsanka - Antigua, Guatemala

I had my first ever paddle boarding experience with SUP Atitlan in what turned out to be not-so-first-timer-friendly weather conditions but the continuous tips and support from Marshall made the whole thing a lot of fun and i felt safe and confident throughout the whole time. Marshall is not only super-friendly but also makes sure you understand the ins and outs of paddle boarding and leaves you prepared for every situation. Will gladly use SUP Atitlan again next time im at the lake!

9. Los Elementos Day Spa

Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala +502 4095 3751
Excellent
97%
Good
2%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 70 reviews

Los Elementos Day Spa

Visit our spa on the shore of beautiful Lake Atitlan and indulge your senses. You will be lulled into a relaxing meditation from the sounds of the lake while relaxing into the best massage of your life.

Reviewed By Mike G - San Francisco, California

After a week of diving and hiking, I was thrilled to find a masseuse in Santa Cruz. I made an appointment with Elaine, and I felt welcomed the moment I arrived. She gave me a great massage in her studio, and then afterward we relaxed in lounge chairs for a while, enjoying the view. You're on vacation: treat yourself!

10. Santa Cruz Cooking Classes

CECAP Building | CECAP Building, Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlan, Santa Cruz La Laguna 07014, Guatemala +502 5003 8877
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 22 reviews

Santa Cruz Cooking Classes

Learn to cook authentic Guatemalan dishes like Pepian and Tamalitos while enjoying a fantastic view of Lake Atitlan. All proceeds support the community of Santa Cruz La Laguna through the local nonprofit Amigos de Santa Cruz which runs education and economic empowerment programs (check out Amigos de Santa Cruz Foundation on Facebook for more information) Call 5003-8877

Reviewed By difelidi - Panama City, Panama

Claudia was amazing. She is such a friendly person, though running her shop quite straight forward. She showed us how to do things and cooked with us. We had a lot of fun. She could also explain everything. We felt very welcome, and there was...MoreWe're glad you enjoyed cooking with Claudia! Thanks for supporting CECAP and young chefs in Santa Cruz. Come back and visit again soon!

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