Map of Pamakanya & Lake Atitlan.


Questions? Email: or Call: – 301.785.0421

Questions? Email: 

Friends of the lake

A percentage of your rental fee will be donated to Amigos de Santa Cruz. If you’d like to contribute to that or other local organizations, they’d appreciate your help!

Amigos de Santa Cruz
This dynamic and worthy foundation helps the indigenous people of Santa Cruz La Laguna, which includes Jaibalito. All funds are used for children’s education, village medical care and other services, including a library. Contributions to Amigos de Santa Cruz are tax deductible for USA citizens; it is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Asociación Amigos del Lago de Atitlán - Friends of the Lake
An organization that focuses on environmental conservation around the lake. This wonderful organization helps educate the indigenous populations around the lake on the importance of conserving the natural environment and keeping the lake clean and healthy. Their programs include trainings on proper waste management, children’s programs and a trash/recycling disposal service.

Pueblo a Pueblo—Lake Atitlan Medical Project.
Pueblo a Pueblo’s mission is to empower individuals, organizations and communities to improve their own lives by facilitating access to services, commodities and financial resources. Pueblo a Pueblo links communities and individuals with shared goals while promoting self-reliance through local capacity building and support of beneficiary-driven projects.

​Contributions are tax deductible for US citizens.

About Lake Atitlan

The famous Lake Atitlan that Aldous Huxley once called "the most beautiful in the world" is located in the mountainous Department of Solola, in the Guatemalan highlands about 150km from the capital. Atitlan, the largest freshwater lake in Central America is a natural wonder of deep, vivid waters ringed by dramatic hills and three 10,000-foot volcanoes: Toliman, Atitlan and San Pedro.

Along the shores of Lake Atitlan lie a dozen picturesque Mayan villages where life and customs have changed little over the centuries.

Villages around the lake

Good restaurants and shopping. Excellent high end art gallery: La Galeria; and interesting unique pottery from San Antonio Palopó at Rincón Palopó along Avenido Santander. Good place to buy textiles and handicrafts from the vendors. Daily mercado (fresh food). Other activities include the nature reserve, stocking up on groceries, using the internet, getting money from the ATM (cajero).

Santa Cruz
Low key and friendly, with a few restaurants (e.g. the Iguana) and a dive school along the shore. A hike up the road to the village will give you a serious workout!

San Marcos
New age offerings, including massage, meditation, yoga, several restaurants, small stores, and more. A good place to hike to/from Pamakanya for lunch.

San Pedro
The guide books are calling it the next Panajachel.  Kind of scruffy, but a great friendly hippie hangout. Lots of Spanish schools. Not many crafts. Good fresh food at the market. Best place on the lake to buy coffee including organic coffee. Several restaurants specializing in delicious Asian food—they take their time so bring a book or game!

Santiago Atitlan
Santiago has a lot going for it, if you only have time for one trip on the lake, this might be your best bet.  As soon as you get off the boat, someone will likely approach you and ask if you want a tuk-tuk to see Maximom (Mash-ee-moan).  We recommend you say “yes.”  A knowledgeable tour guide will can take you to see all the main sites of Santiago.  You can follow the tour with a shopping stroll down the main road where you will find items that you may not have seen in Panajachel, especially woodcrafts and local paintings.  There is also a large, traditional market.  If you are hungry, we like Restaurante El Pescado, at the top of the strip.  (Kitty-corner from the restaurant is our favorite “wood guy” Don Antonio who will give you good deals on carved animals and statues. 

San Juan
Small village, home to a weaving women’s cooperative & Producto Organico (organic produce cooperative). Great place to buy bags and purses as well as art. Very progressive and eco-friendly town.

Good place to visit a local market and great way to experience a chicken bus without having to go too far!

Santa Catarina Polopo

Santa Catarina and its neighbor San Antonio are on the other side of the lake from Pamakanya and are best reached by tuk-tuk or van found easily at the dock.  Santa Catarina is best known for the two ceramics studios.  A visit to the ceramic coorperatives allow you to see how it is made and purchase beautiful items at prices much cheaper than in Antigua or Panajachel.

Local market days

Solola: Tuesday and Friday. Extensive and very traditional. An easy chicken bus ride from Pana. You can also take a tuk-tuk but it’s a bit harrowing up the steep windy road. This is a truly wonderful market to visit but can be a bit overwhelming.

San Juan: Sunday. But most of the tourist oriented textile tiendas are open mainly during the week.

Santiago Atitlan: Sunday. The central market here is also more traditional but there are many people selling textiles and goods intended for tourists as well.  There is also great “tipica” shopping up and down the main street.  You can find all that they sell in Pana, and then some. 

Panajachel: daily. Larger market on Thursday and Sunday. Bomberos textile market on Tuesday and Friday mornings on Calle Principal. The market stalls and small shops along Calle Santander are open daily and a great place to shop for handicrafts. 

Chichicastenango: Thursday and Sunday. Famously huge. Fabulous selection of sophisticated Guatemalan goods, for the ardent shopper. Fascinating ancient church—hire a guide for explanation. Pretty drive. Day trip, arrange transportation from Panajachel.