While I only had a short stay in Guatemala’s city of Antigua which is a touristic place I wanted to do a trip not so far away. The capital Guatemala city didn’t really interest me that much, however Lake Atitlan with its tiny towns around the lake and its surrounding volcano’s was worth a visit.
A shuttle picked me up at Adra Hostel and took me to Panajachel which is the most important town at Lake Atitlan cause it’s from here you can take boats to the other towns around Lake Atitlan, also here you can get the better deals to do activities around the Lake cause there are many little tour agencies and besides that a lot of shops where you can buy cheap food and any other stuff you might need on your trips and tours.
I have been to many Lakes already in my life, I don’t get easily impressed. I’ve been at Lake Ritsa in Abkhazia, Iskanderkul in Tajikistan, Lake Powell in the US and for me the Lake of the Lakes, Lake Titicaca. Lake Atitlan is not going to top Lake Titicaca for me but I can understand why some flip-flop backpackers like to stay in one of these villages for several days, weeks and those who have a lot of time on their hands months.
I would not want to stay there longer than a day in each village just because I do think they all look pretty much the same. They are nice each in their own way, but all of them have coffee shops, bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, tour agencies. The difference between them is that some of the towns have nicer streets with nicer colors. The Lake itself and the volcanos that’s what makes it so nice. The nature that should be the reason to see Lake Atitlan. The small Villages of San Marcos, San Juan and San Pedro (referred as the party town) and Santiago was a nice bonus.
It’s also something different to go from one village to another by boat instead of a bus, which is the most common transportation used in Central America. I enjoyed my day trip and I understand the people who want to spend more days at the Lake and take their time to hang around in each village but also those who go there on a daytrip (me for example) and make a quick stop in a few villages on the lake just to walk around a bit to see what it’s like, experience the vibe and call it a day.
If you would like to hike the Volcano or do water activities your best option would be to stay a few days in the hostels or hotels at one of these towns around the Lake.
After I visited the towns that I mentioned above, the boat dropped me off from where I started in Panajachel from there a minibus picked me up at the agency of Adrenalina tours (the touragency I booked my tour with) in the calle Santander which is the main street in Panajachel with all the shops, restaurants, bars etc,…