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Panajachel is in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. Panajachel, or Pana as it is widely known is a small town on the North shore of Lake Atitlán. Pana is a small town with a booming tourist industry. With the exception of possibly Antigua, Panajachel is one of the major tourism areas in Guatemala.

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Points of Interest in Panajachel

  • Casa Cakchiquel, Calle 14 Febrero (Corner of Santander and 14 Febrero),  +502 7762 09 69, e-mail: Built in 1948, Casa Cakchiquel was one of the first hotels on the lake and according to legend, Ernersto "Che" Guevara, Ingrid Bergman, and other intellectuals, artists, and writers enjoyed the house at its best. Today the house has been restored and features a fair trade store, rotating exhibits, and a vintage photo and postcard gallery. It is also home to organizations Thirteen Threads, Radio 5 and Restaurante Hana. Free WiFi free.

Church of Saint Francis

Panajachel Municipal Market

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About Panajachel


  • Volunteer, Robert Muller LIFE School; LIFE's mission is to provide a top-notch, multicultural education to expat and indigenous children alike. LIFE School is the only English-speaking non-profit school in Guatemala. 44% of its current students receive some for of financial assistance. For more information please visit:LIFE School [1]

You can also volunteer for free with Mayan Families ( The organization provides support to Indigenous and Ladino Guatemalans through education scholarships, emergency food and medical services, donations, etc. You can install new stoves, teach preschoolers, translate, cook food for their Elderly Feeding Program, help sort donations and more! In addition to the aforementioned volunteer opportunities, Panajachel has a number of other Non-Governmental Organizations that accept volunteers on a no-fee basis. A couple of these include: Thirteen Threads (, Mayan Traditions, and Estrella de Mar.

  • Scuba diving (502) 5706-4117. In the nearby village of Santa Cruz La Laguna is ATI Divers( Diving in the lake is interesting as this is high altitude diving into a fresh water lake. Also, due to the fact the volcanic activity is present there are hot spots under the bed of the lake. At various points it is possible to feel the heat with your hands by digging them into the floor of the lake. The life in the lake consists of crabs, fish, snails and plants. ATI Divers do the PADI open water course for $220 over four days. PADI advanced is $200. Fun dives are $30/$50. They also do an altitude dive course for $80. Located on the same site and run by the same people is La Iguana Perdida. See sleep below. [2]
  • Kayaking, Many of the lake side resorts own recreational and sea kayaks that they are more than willing to rent. But if you're not staying at a resort the public beach in Panajachel in front of Hotel Del Lago has a small two story tower that rents kayaks. The mobility of the kayaks and warm waters provide endless stopping points for private cliff-side diving and swimming as well as a close up look at some very fancy homes. Prices for the day are around 100-200Q for a two person kayak. 50Q at La Iguana Perdida backpacker's hotel! Los Elementos Adventure Center has a excellent kayaks, and offer guided tours as well as hourly rentals. Full moon and sunrise paddles are a unique way to enjoy the lake. 2-4 day around the lake tours are an affordable adventure if you are looking for something special. 5359.8328
  • Bike rental, Kukulkan travel and adventure tours offers quality bike rentals for village around the lake also offers boat tours, hiking around the lake, climbing volcanoes, coffee tour, and other adventures ideal for adventure tourism can be organizing in Panajachel.[3]☎ (502) 5755 7030
  • Nature Reserve, For 55Q the nearby Reserva Natural Atitlán, or Atitlan Nature Reserve and butterfly sanctuary is part of an old coffee finca. You can see monkeys, coatimundis and many species of birds, walk on hanging bridges towards the waterfall or the private beach. Stay in their "green" Hotel Atitlan. The oldest house in the area (~1700 AD) and a stone, German-built mill (~1880s AD) are on the property. You can ride eight zip lines across the valley with a great view of the property, the lake and the volcanoes and then ride into the forest for 220Q (which also includes the normal 55Q admission to the Reserva). The equipment and gear is very secure and you always have two guides. More info: [4] ☎ (502) 7762 2565
  • Boat Tours 5359.8328. Private boat tours to explore the more remote areas of the lake, or for private transportation to any area of the lake. Maximum capacity 8 passengers. Travel in affordable luxury. Ideal for birdwatching, visiting the geothermal hot springs, or just for a swim in the middle of the lake.[5]


(Note: Before choosing a restaurant and/or hotel stop by the Nature Reserve and pick up their list of hotels who have joined the recycling collective. Please boycott those places that have not, as Pana has a huge pollution problem. This includes Pana Rock)

  • Guajimbo's, Calle Santander. The menu notes that their vegetables are disinfected and they use purified water for drinking water and ice. They have the best steaks: huge, grilled to perfection with creative toppings.
  • Las Chinitas, Plaza Los Patios, Calle Santander.. Serving delicious Chinese, Japanese, and Malaysian food in a variety of combinations. On one night the crowd was almost entirely foreigners, with a folk band of gringos playing 60's and 70's American hits. They use purified water for vegetables and drinking.
  • El Patio, in Plaza Los Patios on Calle Santander. Renowned for their Pepian, El Patio is a standard for locals as well as those who've adopted Lake Atitlan for their home. Beautiful street side tables in an enclosed patio area allows you to survey the parade of humanity. Great food and the best Papa's Fritas in Guatemala. Full bar.
  • Lazarronis, in Plaza Los Patios on Calle Santander. They have great pizza's to start with but then serve local as well as International plates. There are vegetarian choices amongst which is an excellent vegetable lasagna. A great place to have a super tipico breakfast and watch the street.
  • La Terrazza 7762-0041. Edificio Rincon Sai, Calle Santander. - Very good food!
  • Pana Rock, Calle Santander.
  • Circus Bar. Av Los Arboles (only a few steps from Calle Principal). The best pizza in Guatemala. Typically features live bands at night on weekends. Well-known place, now with another branch in Antigua.
  • Sunset Cafe 7762-0003. at the foot of Calle Santander. The tables are located in an open room with gorgeous views over the lake. Cuisine includes Mexican and International dishes. Come for the view, not for the food - it's not that good. Prices are mid-range, with entrees at Q30-40. Enjoy an exotic cocktail or a variety of beers from the bar. The menu notes that their vegetables are disinfected and they use purified water for drinking water and ice. Live Music every night of the week.
  • Anubis Grille, near the corner of Calle Principal and Calle de Arboles, makes the best burger in town and probably the best burger you've had in a while. Try the 'Hungry Wolf' Burger. 40-50Q
  • Dina's Chocolate, If you are a connoisseur of fine chocolates and sweets, make sure you search stop by the small store in downtown Pana, where the calle Santander forks into a "Y" A very special variety is the chile lime! Pricy, but a rare break from nestle bars in this part of the world!
  • Solomon's Porch, Inside Comercial El Dorado complex (town center-- intersection of Calle Principal and Calle Santander),  7762 6032. Tu- Sat, noon-- 10 p.m.. The Porch is an internet Cafe and restaurant with live music on the weekends. It also has Pana's best projection cinema with over 500 original movie DVD's to choose from.

Towards the bottom of Calle Santander and near the bus stop on Calle Principal there are a number of street vendors selling Tacos, Sweetcorn, Sweet nuts and other snack foods. These are a good cheap option for the budget traveller. The "food court" is on Calle Santander, in front of the elementary school (big curved roof), across the street from the Mayanet internet cafe. Street vendors an be found there all hours of the day and evening.

  • The Last Resort, calle 14 de Febrero (right off of Santander on left, 20 m). Clean, quiet neighborhood place. Good food, good size portions. 30-65Q.
  • Ricassoli Pizza Steak House, Calle Santander,  5770-3100. Cuisine: Italian/Traditional Guatemalan. Provides a delicious typical breakfast plate for only 18Q! (Dec 10, 2011)
  • Restaurante Hana, Calle 14 Febrero interior de Casa Cakchiquel (Near Calle Santander.),  4298-1415. 12-3pm 6-8pm Closed Mondays. Serves traditional Japanese dining in a beautiful, authentic Japanese restaurant. Located inside the historic Casa Cakchiquel.


In Pana it is almost a tradition (at least for Guatemalans) to drink and walk up and down the Santander street with a "Litro" in their hands. A "Litro" is a 1 liter bottle of beer. Usually Gallo or Cabro brand. But you can get virtually any drink you ask for.

While you may still drink in the streets in Panajachel, it is no longer as common; only during certain festivities or special events will the party spill out in to the street.

  • La Palapa, Calle Principal y Los Arboles. Provides wi-fi to customers. Q10 Cuba Libres, beer, and tequila during happy hour in addition to daily specials. They also feature live music, trivia, and weekend BBQs. A hostel recently opened on site, ask on of the staff members for details.
  • Cafe-Bar above Tierra Maya Tours, Calle Santander,  7762.6076. Provides wi-fi to customers. 2-for-1 Cuba Libres (rum, coke & lime wedge) for 25Q & Black Russians (blanco y negro) for 30Q (on 9 Dec 2011).

Pana Rock Cafe - Buy a cubetazo of your favorite beer (or peruse the extensive drink menu), meet some locals and listen to Latin Rock or a live band with an ambiance unrivaled by any bar in the country.

Planeta Le Du - Very chill, stop here to grab any variety of great drinks.


Mayan boys, girls, women & men walk the streets of Pana from morning until night selling authentic Mayan good such as textiles, paintings, jewelery, clothing, accessories & even nuts. They can be quite hard sellers and will VERY often approach people dining inside of restaurants along the main roads (Calle Santander especially). It is common to be approached a dozen times while eating. It is quite off-putting, as sometimes a refusal will result in a begging appeal for money to buy food. Usually a very firm 'No thanks' will do the trick. Prices of the goods offered seem to compete fairly well with shops selling similar goods in Pana. If you see something you like it is still highly recommended to haggle. Try and pay around half to two thirds of the original asking price, as a guide.

If you're interested in buying traditional Mayan clothes or textiles, the towns around the lake are great places to do so. The quality of textiles here is significantly higher than in most other places of the country. The best quality goods are found in Santiago Atitlan, on the south side of the lake.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Panajachel on Wikivoyage.