Panajachel Tourist Vendors Near Lake Atitlan

Things to Do in Panajachel: Gateway to Lake Atitlan

Panajachel is a travelers hub & gateway to Lake Atitlan – find out the things to do in Panajachel along with information on accommodation, food & transport.

Things to Do in Panajachel

Unless you want to shop for souvenirs, there aren’t that many things to do in Panajachel.

Your best bet is to visit the pier and start visiting other villages on Lake Atitlan:

Panajachel Tinamit Maya Arts and Crafts Market

With so many vendors there is no need to head to Chichicastenango.

Sadly, the lake water near Panajachel is polluted and not recommended for swimming.

You either have to go to a more remote area, or rent a kayak.

Otherwise, enjoy the view of Lake Atitlan and the volcanoes from the boardwalk – it’s one of the reasons why Lake Atitlan is one of the top places to visit in Guatemala.

Panajachel View of Lake Atitlan and Volcanoes from Pier

Stare out across the lake since you can’t jump in! 🙁

The one attraction you can visit is Museo Lacustre (Q35 / $4.80), which features a section dedicated to the submerged Maya site of Samabaj.

They simulate what it is like to dive the lake site.

We here at DIY Travel HQ didn’t visit the museum, but want to dive Samabaj when it becomes unrestricted – still, it’s probably one of the best things to do in Panajachel.

We picture diving the ruins being similar to MUSA in the Yucatan:

Colourful coral at MUSA

Diving a Maya ruin would combine two of our favorite things to do.

In case you did want to purchase a few souvenirs for friends and family, look no further than Calle Santander.

The street is filled with weaving, masks, knick-knacks, and other vendors – like the Chichicastenango markets on a smaller scale.

Bargain hard!

Panajachel Weaving Vendor

If you can’t agree upon a price, the next vendor has similar items.

For food and other non-touristy items, head to the market down Calle Principal.

There is also a small plaza and Saint Francis Church – a nice attractions, especially as there aren’t many things to do in Panajachel.

Panajachel Saint Francis Church

The church and market area are the most genuine in Panajachel. (Photo courtesy of Expedia)

Where to Stay in Panajachel

Competition, and bare bone rooms, have kept prices down in Panajachel that will please backpackers.

Budget options do not include dorms, but rather private rooms in hospedajes.

Lower your expectations and you won’t be disappointed. Basic and clean should be your goal.

Todos Santos Cuchumatan Hotel Mam Room

Hospedaje rooms are basic, but clean and cheap. Everything a backpacker needs.

What to Eat in Panajachel

Panajachel is packed for options when you get hungry.

Calle Santander is more upscale, and restaurants get cheaper as you head along Calle Principal towards the market.

The comedors around this area are your budget option.

Panajachel Calle Santander

For the casual traveler, food options are plentiful.

How to Get to and From Panajachel

Panajachel can be reached via ‘chicken’ bus from Quetzaltenango (Xela) for Q25 / $3.40 and Guatemala City for Q35 / $4.80.

Private shuttles also run to Antigua.

Alternativly, head to Los Encuentros and transfer there.

Buses can be caught at the intersection of Calle Real and Calle Santander.

Panajachel Tourist Office

You don’t have to look far to book onward transportation if you don’t want to take a ‘chicken’ bus.

Getting Around Lake Atitlan

The best way to get around Lake Atitlan is by boat.

The exception is Solola which is reached by ‘chicken’ bus (Q3 / $0.40).

Clarify where the boat is heading before departing as different boats travel to different villages.

The other base for Lake Atitlan is San Pedro La Laguna (Q25 / $3.40 or Q15 / $2.05 for locals).

Panajachel Boats to Lake Atitlan Villages

Despite being charged a tourist price, the boat is your best bet to get around Lake Atitlan.


*** The Final Word – Even though there aren’t many things to do in Panajachel, it’s a convenient base for exploring Lake Atitlan for a few days ***

Where did you stay on Lake Atitlan & why?

5 Shovels

Super easy DIY travel around city centres

Visited in August 2016