Located in the stunning highlands of Guatemala, you’ll find the picturesque Lake Atitlan. Surrounded by mountain vistas and volcanos, it stands as the deepest lake in Central America.

I knew before visiting Lake Atitlan that it would be breathtaking, but I never could have imagined the magnitude of it all. From the picture-perfect sweeping views over the water to the charming lakeside villages, this place felt like a hidden paradise.

During my trip, I explored different villages – each one delightfully intriguing and different from the last. Drawing from these experiences, I’ve written this comprehensive guide on where to stay in Lake Atitlan, highlighting the top towns, hotels, and activities in each area. So, let’s get right into it!

Don’t have time to read the whole post? Here are the Top 3 Places to Stay in Lake Atitlan

  1. Lush Hotel (San Marcos La Laguna)- Beautiful Atmosphere
  2. Tzampoc Resort (Santa Catarina Palopó)- Best Luxury Resort
  3. Hotel Atitlan (Panajachel)- Most Centrally Located
Enjoying the views of Lake Atitlan and the surrounding mountains from Santa Catarina Palopo, one of the best villages to stay in.

Where to Stay in Lake Atitlan: Best Lakeside Villages

There are 11 villages that surround Lake Atitlan and plenty of accommodations to choose from. Based on my experience, these are the best areas to stay in: Panajachel, San Pedro La Laguna, San Marcos La Laguna, Santa Catarina Palopó, San Juan La Laguna, and Santiago Atitlan.

Each of these villages has its own unique atmosphere and culture. However, they all share one commonality: their prime location is directly on the shores of Lake Atitlan, which is where you want to be.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about each village to help make your decision!

Panajachel: Best for a Central Location

On the north shore of Lake Atitlan, you’ll find Panajachel, known as Pana by locals. This town is a major transportation hub, so most visitors will at least pass through. If you’re looking to stay in a central location this may be your best bet.

Panajachel is also renowned as the gateway to Lake Atitlan’s villages, boasting excellent connections to other Guatemalan cities, like Antigua. From here, you can effortlessly access the other lakeside villages by boat.

Picture courtesy of canva.com

Why Stay in Panajachel?

Staying in a place with such convenient access, you won’t need to lug your luggage onto a boat to cross the lake. Yet Panajachel offers more than just its central location. Its waterfront provides stunning views of the volcanoes, particularly at sunset.

As one of the most developed towns in the area, Panajachel provides visitors with numerous restaurants, shops, and activities. Whether you’re exploring the market or embarking on an excursion, there’s plenty of excitement just waiting to be discovered. To sweeten the deal, it also serves as a launchpad for many local tours.

Things to do in Panajachel

Best Hotels in Panajachel

Hotel Atitlan

Rating: 8.5/10 Price Range: $$$ Luxury ☑️ Book Here

Hotel Atitlan is one of your more upscale options, perfect for a luxury stay. This is a waterfront property, with panoramic views of Lake Atitlan and the volcanos.

The rooms feature a distinctive colonial-style décor with wooden beam ceilings. Each room also includes a private terrace or balcony overlooking either the gardens or the lake.

A standout feature of this hotel is its outdoor terrace, complete with a pool, hot tub, and ample sun loungers. Although the highlight is of course its breathtaking views of Lake Atitlan. Additionally, there is a spacious botanical garden, brimming with tropical plants and flowers.

Porta Hotel del Lago

Rating: 8.3/10 Price Range: $$ Mid-range ☑️ Book Here

This hotel is centrally located in Panajachel with a stunning view of Lake Atitlan. Its location near the waterfront also makes it convenient to catch a boat and day trip to other villages.

The rooms are comfortable and spacious, but the best part is that each room has a private terrace or a balcony. Some rooms have panoramic views of the lake and mountains.

The amenities at this hotel include an outdoor pool and terrace overlooking the water, a natural sulfured cold tub and sauna, and two restaurants that serve local Guatemalan cuisine. If you are traveling with kids, another bonus is the kids club, open on the weekends.

Dreamboat Hostel

Rating: 8.2/10 Price Range: $ Budget ☑️ Book Here

If you’re seeking a budget-friendly stay with a social atmosphere, look no further than Dreamboat Hostel. 

There are a few different room options here, including a private double room with bathroom or typical hostel-style rooms which are shared amongst 4 or 6 people.

The best part about staying here is the amenities, which include a rooftop bar and terrace, an outdoor pool, a restaurant, and a shared kitchen area. The hostel is also great for meeting other travelers as they offer daily social events like karaoke nights and happy hours.

San Marcos La Laguna: Perfect for Relaxation

San Marcos La Laguna is a village on the western shore of Lake Atitlan. The village is known for being a “hippie haven,” most famous for its yoga studios and meditation centers. Here, you’ll enjoy an overall laid-back, serene experience.

In addition to the appeal of a zen atmosphere, this town has a variety of local shops and restaurants (which are absolutely delicious) and opts for footpaths instead of motorized roads. 

Admiring the sunset views of Lake Atitlan and the volcano from San Marcos
The lovely streets of San Marcos La Laguna. If you are wondering where to stay in Lake Atitlan, this village is perfect if you are seeking a spiritual retreat

Why Stay in San Marcos La Laguna?

For travelers seeking relaxation or a spiritual retreat in Guatemala, the village of San Marcos is an ideal destination around Lake Atitlan. It is particularly well-suited for those interested in yoga and meditation, as many retreats are held here. This village is renowned as a spiritual hub in the heart of Central America.

Surrounded by the stunning backdrop of volcanoes and the lake, San Marcos exudes a peaceful atmosphere. The village offers an overwhelming sense of tranquility, making it perfect for a calming stay.

Things to do in San Marcos La Laguna

  • Join a yoga class or retreat
  • Get a holistic massage or do a Reiki session
  • Go cliff jumping from the dive platform and swim in Lake Atitlan
  • Visit the Cerro Tzankujil Nature Reserve
  • Try local coffee at the Hidden Garden Atitlan
  • Hike the shoreline from Santa Cruz to San Marcos

Best Hotels in San Marcos La Laguna

Lush Atitlan

Rating: 8.5/10 Price Range: $$$ Luxury ☑️ Book Here

This luxury boutique hotel aptly named Lush, is a verdant oasis filled with vibrant green plants and trees, creating a serene atmosphere perfect for relaxation. Surrounded by tropical nature and offering stunning views of Lake Atitlan, it’s an ideal retreat.

The rooms are elegant and distinctive, some featuring exposed stone walls. The furniture is both beautiful and comfortable, enhancing the overall ambiance. Certain rooms include balconies with picturesque lake views, while others overlook the lush gardens.

For honeymooners, the hotel offers a stunning honeymoon suite with an open-air spa bathroom, kitchenette, and a spacious balcony offering views of the lake and volcanoes.

Lush is conveniently located next to the beach, providing easy access to swimming in the azure waters of Lake Atitlan. It is also close to San Marcos Natural Reserve and just a short walk from the village’s restaurants.

The onsite restaurant serves a fresh and delicious breakfast (included) and dinner (at an additional cost).

Enjoying a relaxing day at Lush Atitlán Hotel, a lovely place to stay in Lake Atitlan if you're seeking a relaxing holiday
Having some herbal tea at Lush Atitlán Hotel, a beautiful place to stay in Lake Atitlan if you're seeking a relaxing holiday

Kula Maya Boutique Hotel and Spa

Rating: 8.3/10 Price Range: $$$ Luxury ☑️ Book Here

This unique boutique hotel offers upscale, modern accommodations, of course with views of Lake Atitlan. There is an option to stay in a dome-shaped glamping tent, which includes luxurious furniture and a private bathroom. 

However, if you don’t want to try the glamping experience, there are also beautiful suite-style rooms available. The rooms are elegantly decorated and also feature spacious balconies with stunning lake views.

In addition to the picturesque views, this hotel also features a spa to allow for complete relaxation while on your trip. There’s also an outdoor pool and jacuzzi, both overlooking the lake.

Eagle’s Nest Atitlán

Rating: 8.2/10 Price Range: $$ Mid-range ☑️ Book Here

This resort is perfect for those traveling to Lake Atitlan for yoga and meditation. The resort is all-inclusive and includes 3 meals per day, 2 or more yoga classes, and sauna visits.

The rooms are a shared-dormitory style that sleeps 4 people, which allows you to meet and interact with other travelers and yoga enthusiasts. Each room features authentic wooden decor with a rustic and calming atmosphere.

The resort offers stunning views overlooking Lake Atitlan, surrounded by natural greenery. Its outdoor terraces, which overlook the lake and volcanoes, are ideal for peaceful yoga sessions. The overall atmosphere of the resort creates a beautiful setting for reflection and meditation.

Santa Catarina Palopó: Most Charming Atmosphere

Santa Catarina Palopó is located on the northern shores of Lake Atitlan. The village has a strong cultural heritage, and residents are mostly of the Kaqchikel Mayans. 

The small village has become one of the prettiest places along Lake Atitlan, due to both the surrounding natural beauty and a recent initiative to paint the houses an array of bright colors. 

The lovely streets of Santa Catarina Palopó, one of the best villages to stay in at Lake Atitlan
The beautiful infinity pool at Tzampoc Resort, a wonderful place to stay in Lake Atitlan

Why Stay in Santa Catarina Palopó?

Santa Catarina Palopó is a great place for anyone wanting to stay in a beautiful atmosphere steeped in cultural charm.

This village is less touristy compared to other places along Lake Atitlan. In fact, many people did not visit here until its recent repainting. Today, Santa Catarina Palopó has been transformed into a bright and colorful village and has become one of the most charming places in the area.

Another highlight of staying in Santa Catarina Palopó is the opportunity for cultural immersion. Throughout the town, you will see traditional clothing, hear the local Mayan language, and have a chance to learn more about traditional customs.

Things to do in Santa Catarina Palopó

  • Explore the village and see the bright and colorful houses
  • See the beautiful Santa Catarina Palopó Church
  • Swim in the Aguas Termales Natural, a natural hot spring
  • Visit the Mirador De Santa Catarina for stunning views of the lake and volcanos
  • Get a day pass to the Tzampoc Resort and swim in the infinity pool

Best Hotels in Santa Catarina Palopó

Tzampoc Resort

Rating: 9.1/10 Price Range: $$$ Luxury ☑️ Book Here

For a luxurious stay near Santa Catarina Palopó, Tzampoc Resort is by far the best choice. This resort features stunning, panoramic views of Lake Atitlan and the volcanos.

The rooms are spacious and have a traditional, artistic style. Some rooms also have private balconies with incredible views of the lake.

A highlight of this resort is its incredible infinity pool, which overlooks the lake and mountainous backdrop. Other amenities include complimentary breakfast, a sauna, a hot tub, a restaurant, and a bar.

This is truly the perfect option for where to stay in Lake Atitlan and is ideal for a honeymoon, an anniversary trip, or simply for a luxurious getaway.

The breathtaking infinity pool at Tzampoc Resort, one of the best places to stay in Lake Atitlán for a luxurious getaway

Hotel Casa Palopo

Rating: 8.5/10 Price Range: $$$ Luxury ☑️ Book Here

Hotel Casa Palopo is an upscale hotel located just outside the colorful village of Santa Catarina Palopó. Since it is located just outside of the village, it has a quiet and peaceful atmosphere simply begging you to relax and unwind.

The rooms at this hotel are beautiful, with bright decor and floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook Lake Atitlan. Each room also features a spacious balcony with a comfortable seating area.

This upscale hotel has beautiful surroundings, and several amenities including complimentary breakfast, a pool, gardens, and an on-site restaurant that serves a variety of local Guatemalan and French cuisine.

Villa Santa Catarina

Rating: 8.9/10 Price Range: $$ Mid-range ☑️ Book Here

Villa Santa Catarina exudes charm, boasting beautiful gardens with breathtaking views of the lake and mountains.

The rooms are adorned with charming traditional décor, each featuring a balcony—ideal for relaxing with a morning coffee or evening glass of wine.

At the heart of the hotel lies a large outdoor pool, nestled within a tropical garden area. Guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast and dine at the on-site restaurant, which offers a variety of local and international dishes.

San Pedro La Laguna – Best for Backpackers

San Pedro La Laguna is one of the more popular places to visit around Lake Atitlan. It’s located along the western side of the lake. The town is well connected by public transportation, and you can even get a shuttle here from Antigua, without stopping in Panajachel first.

Views of Volcanoes Santiago and Sane Pedro de Atitlan across Lake Atitlan in the early morning
Photo courtesy of Canva.com

Why Stay in San Pedro La Laguna?

San Pedro La Laguna has gained a reputation as a backpacker town, due to its abundance of hostels, lively atmosphere, and vibrant nightlife. However, even if you aren’t a backpacker you’ll surely enjoy staying here. Plus, the hotel prices are budget-friendly, so you can save your money for activities and experiences.

San Pedro La Laguna tends to be more touristy, and you will find a larger international community here compared to the other villages. This means you’ll also have a better chance to meet other travelers from all over the world, especially since the town has such a social atmosphere.

San Pedro is not only a great place to stay for its vibrant atmosphere and stunning scenery, but it also boasts some of the best restaurants, bars, cafes, and more.

The sun rising over the village of San Pedro La Laguna- one of the best places to stay on Lake Atitlan.

Things to do in San Pedro La Laguna

Shoreline of Lake Atitlan from the village of San Pedro La Laguna
Photo courtesy of Canva.com

Best Hotels in San Pedro La Laguna

Mikaso Hotel

Rating: 8.6/10 Price Range: $ Budget ☑️ Book Here

This budget-friendly hotel boasts a highly-rated waterfront location in San Pedro. Despite the town’s lively atmosphere and nightlife scene, here, you’ll enjoy the perfect peaceful setting for a restful night’s sleep.

The spacious and comfortable rooms include some with private terraces overlooking Lake Atitlan, offering incredible views at affordable rates.

Guests can enjoy the outdoor terrace with several tables and sun loungers, as well as a dock where they can go for a dip or simply soak up the atmosphere.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Mikaso
The front of Hotel Mikaso, a budget-friendly hotel to stay at in Lake Atitlan
Photo courtesy of Hotel Mikaso
The stunning lake view from Hotel Mikaso, offering a breathtaking panorama of Lake Atitlan
Photo courtesy of Hotel Mikaso

Sababa Resort

Rating: 7.9/10 Price Range: $$ Mid-range ☑️ Book Here

Sababa Resort is located on the waterfront of Lake Atitlan. You can choose between traditional hotel rooms as well as hostel-style dorm rooms.

The private hotel rooms feature modern furnishings and tropical wooden decor. Each room includes a private terrace overlooking the outdoor pool. For a budget option, you can also stay in the hostel-style rooms, which have wooden bunk beds.

Amenities include complimentary breakfast, an outdoor pool and terrace, a billiards room, a bar, and a restaurant serving delicious Mediterranean food.

Mandala’s Hostal

Rating: 8.4/10 Price Range: $$ Mid-range ☑️ Book Here

If you are a backpacker looking for hostel-style accommodations, then this is a great choice. The hostel is located in the central part of San Pedro, with easy access to bars, restaurants, and other things to do.

The hostel offers both private rooms and shared rooms. The rooms are basic but comfortable. 

A highlight of the hostel is its rooftop terrace, which is a great place to hang out and meet other travelers. It’s also the perfect spot to watch the sunset over Lake Atitlan.

San Juan La Laguna: Best for Art & Culture

San Juan La Laguna is situated on the western side of Lake Atitlan. This Mayan village is best known for its indigenous culture and artisanal crafts.

The village is mostly inhabited by indigenous Tz’utujil Mayans, who have worked hard to preserve the culture in this community. Throughout the town, several cultural centers offer different workshops and demonstrations of traditional activities.

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

Why Stay in San Juan La Laguna?

San Juan La Laguna is a great choice for those who want to see art and explore local culture. The village has a vibrant atmosphere, with colorful streets. In the center, you’ll find beautiful murals that depict Mayan culture.

There are several art galleries in the village, where you can see locally made art. San Juan is also known for its textiles, which makes it one of the best places in Lake Atitlan to buy art or handmade souvenirs. 

Things to do in San Juan La Laguna

  • Visit the Artisan Cooperatives to learn about traditional backstrap weaving
  • Hike to the Mirador Kaqasiiwaan Viewpoint
  • Check out the local art galleries
  • Hike to the top of Indian Nose Mountain
  • Explore the Coffee Plantations 

Best Hotels in San Juan La Laguna

Eco Hotel Uxlabil Atitlan

Rating: 8.5/10 Price Range: $ Budget ☑️ Book Here

Eco Hotel Uxlabil Atitlan offers an excellent option for budget-friendly accommodation with stunning water views and a rich cultural experience.

The rooms feature a rustic and traditional style, each equipped with a balcony offering incredible views of Lake Atitlan.

A standout feature of this hotel is the complimentary use of kayaks on the lake, allowing guests to explore the waters at their leisure. Other amenities include a complimentary breakfast featuring organic coffee and a restaurant overlooking the lake.

Santiago Atitlan: Best for a Local Experience

Santiago Atitlan sits on the bay of Lake Atitlán, nestled between two majestic volcanoes. Unlike more touristy destinations, this town offers a vibrant local atmosphere.

Renowned for its Colonial Church, the first Catholic church built in the area, Santiago Atitlan showcases a captivating blend of Tz’utujil Mayan culture and Catholicism. Originally inhabited by the Tz’utujil Mayans, the town now reflects a unique cultural fusion.

Additionally, Santiago Atitlan was an important site during the Guatemalan Civil War, taking place between 1960-1996. An intriguing destination for history enthusiasts keen to delve into the region’s past.

Canoes sitting on the shoreline of Lake Atitlan in quaint village of Santiago Atitlan
Photo courtesy of Canva.com

Why Stay in Santiago Atitlan?

Choosing to stay in Santiago Atitlan is perfect for those seeking an authentic and historical experience. Home to numerous Mayan temples, ceremonial sites, and Catholic churches, this town is renowned for its traditional roots.

Immersing yourself in local culture here involves sampling traditional Mayan dishes, exploring the vibrant local market, and delving into the rich history of the area, including the fascinating fusion of Mayan and Catholic cultures.

White church with brightly decorated pillars and fence in Santiago Atitlan.
Photos courtesy of Canva.com

Things to do in Santiago Atitlan

  • Visit the Colonial Church
  • Hike to Cerro Tzankujil, a hill overlooking the village and lake
  • Visit the shrine of Maximón, a revered Mayan deity
  • Explore the local artisan markets and shop for handmade crafts

Best Hotels in Santiago Atitlan

Hotel Los Olivos Santiago Atitlan

Rating: 8/10 Price Range: $$ Mid-range ☑️ Book Here

This mid-range hotel is a good choice for anyone looking for a quiet location near Santiago Atitlan. The hotel is surrounded by nature and has great views of the lake. 

The rooms feature comforting colors and contemporary decor. There are several room types available, including suite-style rooms and a stand-alone cottage. 

In addition to the tropical gardens that surround the hotel, there is also a pool and restaurant on site.

Casa Josefa Hotel

Rating: 8.8/10 Price Range: $ Budget ☑️ Book Here

Casa Josefa Hotel, a budget-friendly option, is ideally situated in the lively center of Santiago Atitlan. Its prime location allows guests easy access to the boat dock and many attractions, making it a convenient choice for travelers.

The rooms are basic but comfortable. While this hotel doesn’t give you the lake views, it does provide a local experience at an affordable price.

Posing on a wooden dock at Lake Atitlán, with a volcano in the background under a clear blue sky
Sitting on the back of a leather couch inside of Lush, in San Marcos de La Laguna. One of the best places to stay on Lake Atitlan.

FAQ: Where to Stay in Lake Atitlan

Below are a few commonly asked questions when planning a trip to Lake Atitlan.

How many days do you need at Lake Atitlan?

I recommend spending 4-7 days in Lake Atitlan. There are so many things to do here, from exploring the lakeside villages to hiking Indian Nose. Spending a minimum of 4 nights will allow you to visit a few different villages. You’ll also have time to experience the rich culture and enjoy some outdoor experiences.

Is it worth going to Lake Atitlan?

Lake Atitlan is absolutely worth visiting. The lake is surrounded by natural beauty, from the stunning blue waters to the mountainous backdrop. Home to Mayan communities such as the Tz’utujil and Kaqchikel people, these charming villages along Lake Atitlan hold a rich cultural heritage.

How safe is Lake Atitlan Guatemala?

Lake Atitlan is widely regarded as a safe destination to visit in Guatemala. Travelers can confidently explore the villages on foot during the day. However, it is advisable to take a tuk-tuk when walking between villages or traveling after dark, as there have been reports of petty crimes such as theft.

Conclusion: Where to Stay in Lake Atitlan

Deciding where to stay in Lake Atitlan can be a difficult choice because there are so many options. The best thing about Lake Atitlan is that there is truly something for everyone. So, whether you’re looking to backpack, embark on a romantic honeymoon, or simply searching for a relaxing getaway, Lake Atitlan is sure to be a perfect destination to visit in Guatemala.

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