The area surrounding Lake Atitlan in western Guatemala is packed with possibilities for activities and things to do. From exploring the small towns around the lake to getting to enjoy the natural beauty or going the adventurous route with activities like scuba diving, the area has something for everyone.
For a more casual day of entrenching yourself in the nature of the area consider going to the Nature Walk just outside of Panajachel where you can walk through the gardens, viewing the old coffee plantation and being immersed in a natural habitat for a wide range of birds. Right next to the Nature Walk is Hotel Atitlan, where you can wander through the many Botanical Gardens that the hotel maintains while getting a glimpse of the peacocks that live in these varied but connected gardens on the edge of the lake. Also in this same small area is the Butterfly Farm where you are able to wander through the habitat of the Mariposa.
Exploring the towns
Panajachel is a fantastic, bustling town with everything from bars and restaurants that do have a touristy feel to small shops where you can pick up some trinkets that are hand made by the locals at reasonable prices.
Across the lake via a quick boat ride you can walk through the town of San Pedro. San Pedro is a backpacker’s paradise with extremely cheap accommodations and a very laid back atmosphere. Take a wander through some of the small paths that wind throughout the small town to get a feel for this unique village.
Santiago Atitlan is your chance to really see and experience the indigenous culture of the Tz’utujil. Santiago is one of the areas within Guatemala where you will be immersed into a more traditional culture that is quite different from what you will experience in a larger city like Antigua or even Panajachel.
If you want to get out of the towns and really experience the area you can head to Volcán San Pedro, from where you can start your hike up the volcano. This will be your chance for some off the beaten path activities that will also provide some incredible views of the area.
If you are feeling the urge to do something a bit out the ordinary, head to the X-Treme Cables just outside of Panajachel, near the Hotel Atitlan where you will hike up the mountain a bit, getting a feel for the wondrous natural beauty of the area before hopping onto a series of zip lines for you trip back down. Do be prepared to see some incredible wildlife on this trek as well, including the monkeys that inhabit the area.