View of San Juan La Laguna from Cruz Lookout

Things to do in San Juan La Laguna: Indian Nose Village

In City Guides, Guatemala, Traditional Villages & Markets by Erik Van Gilson2 Comments

San Juan La Laguna sits under the ‘nose’ of the popular Indian Nose hike on Lake Atitlan. Find out the things to do in San Juan La Laguna & how this weaving village creates a vibe of its own.

Things to Do in San Juan La Laguna

There is no can’t miss attraction but there are a few quick highlights if you are hiking Indian Nose from San Juan La Laguna.

Other things to do in San Juan La Laguna are:

  • quick hike to the Cruz lookout
  • finding Maximon (San Simon)
  • visiting the main church
  • watching a weaving demonstration

San Juna La Laguna is one the shores of Lake Atitlan, one of the best places to visit in Guatemala.

San Juan La Laguna Park

Tired of walking? Take a break in this San Juan La Laguna park.

  • Cruz Lookout

The official path to the Cruz lookout is the same as hiking to Indian Nose so it is best done together.

However, you can still visit just the lookout if you just want a quick view of the eastern shore of Lake Atitlan – it’s definitely one of the best things to do in San Juan La Laguna.

Admission for the Cruz lookout is Q20 / $2.75 – if you want to hike to the lookout & continue along all of Indian Nose the price is Q30 $4/15.

The entrance is opposite the gas station on the road to Santa Clara La Laguna.

Indian Nose Hike Entrance in San Juan La Laguna

The same trail leads to the Cruz lookout, and Indian Nose.

A free alternative is to scramble up and down the side of the hill past the gas station.

There is a set of stairs etched into the hill you can climb before hiking up the side of a corn field.

Follow the road to Santa Clara La Laguna for two bends until you see the stairs near a telephone pole.

Try to be discreet if you’re a foreigne like us here at DIY Travel HQ. The vegetation will hide you once you get past the initial stairs quickly.

The Cruz lookout will be visible and on your left at the top.

San Juan La Laguna Indian Nose and Cruz Lookout Free Entrance

Avoid the entrance fees, and hike to Indian Nose and the Cruz lookout for free!

  •  San Juan La Laguna’s Church

The main church in San Juan La Laguna is different from others on Lake Atitlan so it’s one of the top things to do in San Juan La Laguna.

The front façade is multi-dimensional, and comprised of two different types of stonework with an older annex to the left.

Take a look at the ornate wood-carved doors upon entering.

The interior is simple but spacious as you make the rounds looking at the artwork on the walls.

San Juan La Laguna Church

San Juan La Laguna’s church is the architectural highlight of the village.

  • Finding Maximon (San Simon)

Maximon, also known as San Simon, is a revered god to Guatemalans in the highlands.

He is part Mayan gods, Jesus, and even the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado.

The main purpose of finding Maximon is that he is a bad-ass.

Each village has different customs, but he always likes offerings of tobacco, alcohol, and of course money.

You can also find Maximon in Zunil.

How many gods do you pray to that openly have as many bad habits?!

Zunil Finding San Simon (Maximon) Badass

Donations appreciated. Bad habits aren’t cheap!

Unfortunately, the first guy at Maximon’s house wanted Q25 / $3.45 to visit so we declined.

It was free in Zunil, and only Q14 / $1.93 for two of us with pictures in Santiago Atitlan.

We then tried going back twice more with different people working the door, but they both denied he was located there.

Either they recognized and blacklisted us, or they really don’t want tourists to witness a ritual they take very seriously.

San Juan La Laguna Maximon San Simon Location 2016

Is Maximon (San Simon) really in this building?

Maximon (San Simon) moves locations each year to maintain an equilibrium, but can be found on 5a Calle near the church until May 2017.

If they refuse you entry as well, there is always Zunil and Santiago Atitlan.

San Juan La Laguna 5a Calle

From the church, head down the street on your left to find Maximon (San Simon).

  • Weaving Shops and Demonstrations

What differentiates San Juan La Laguna from surrounding Lake Atitlan villages is that they are a non-touristy town with an artsy edge.

There are still cheap hotels and Spanish schools, but it is nowhere near as overrun with tourists as San Pedro La Laguna and Panajachel.

The handful of weaving shops near the market are low-key, and have nice designs which seemed more original than those at Chichicastenango.

San Juan La Laguna Weaving

If you need a souvenir from Guatemala, then check out San Juan La Laguna’s weaving shops.

One shop also runs demonstrations for tips on how the thread is dyed, and created.

We didn’t catch a performance, but got an idea from the displays lining the wall.

It was interesting to see what traditional weaving materials are used to create the colors.

Definitely poke your head in for a quick lesson, it’s one of the top things to do in San Juan La Laguna.

San Juan La Laguna Weaving Demonstration

Learn how to make your own weaving thread from scratch in San Juan La Laguna.

Getting To and From San Juan La Laguna

Most people visit San Juan La Laguna from San Pedro La Laguna when hiking Indian Nose.

You can walk the 2-3 km in 30 minutes, or take a tuk-tuk for Q5-10 / $0.70-1.35.

Another option is to catch the ‘chicken’ buses that pass through at Q5 / $0.70.

It is best to catch ferries to other Lake Atitlan towns from San Pedro La Laguna, with the exception of San Marcos La Laguna as they are infrequent.

Walking to San Juan La Laguna

The best part of visiting San Juan La Laguna was the stroll from San Pedro La Laguna.


***The Final Word – Don’t go out of your way to visit but give it two hours to check out the things to do in San Juan La Laguna if you find yourself there ***

Were you able to see Maximon (San Simon) in San Juan La Laguna?

5 Shovels

Super easy DIY travel around city centres

Visited in September 2016


  1. Thanks for sharing about your experience in San Juan!

    I have read about this town in my guidebooks and from other blogs, and I am actually really looking forward to spending some time here and experiencing this authentic village, that many tourists haven’t really discovered yet.

    Would you say that it would be (relatively) safe for a female to explore there alone?


    1. Hi, Brittany. I would say San Juan La Laguna is a safe place to wander around. San Pedro La Laguna may be a better base though since there are frequent boats to other villages. It depends on what you are looking for on Lake Atitlan.

      I just hiked San Pedro Volcano, and that is safe since you get a guide included in the entrance fee and police were on the trail. Indian Nose has opportunistic residents, but is safe besides that. You just have to be careful on remote paths around the lake. The villages themselves are fine.

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