La Cueva Maya, or “The Maya Cave”
From here, the view of Panajachel, Guatemala and Lake Atitlán is impossibly beautiful. The cave still serves as a ceremonial site for those who practice indigenous religions in the Maya village’s uphill from town. Smoky and filled with the fragrance of incense, the mysterious site can be reached via a short local bus ride from town, and a short scenic hike
While Calle Santander is lined with shops selling everything from beaded jewelry to fresh Guatemalan coffee, more authentic goods can be found in the Artisan Market. This is where you’ll find vibrantly colored hammocks, local crafts and artwork, and handmade peasant dresses, sombreros, and purses all adorned in brilliantly hued Mayan dyes. And remember that haggling is a way of life when shopping in Guatemala.
Built in 1948, Casa Cakchiquel was one of the first hotels on the lake and according to legend, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Ingrid Bergman, and other intellectuals, artists, and writers enjoyed the house in its heyday. Today the house has been restored and features a fair trade store, rotating exhibits, and a vintage photo and postcard gallery.
For a brief history of Lake Atitlán and its people, head to the Museo Lacustre de Atitlán. Here you'll find a handful of informative displays tracing the history of the region back to pre-colonial times.
Reserva Natural Atitlán
Hike the trail that loops through a small river canyon, crossing suspension bridges and passing a butterfly atrium and enclosures of spider monkeys and coatimundis. For the more adventurous, the complex contains a zip-line tour, where you glide through the forest canopy courtesy of a series of cables, a helmet, and a very secure harness. There's also a private beach for a bit of post-adrenaline rush relaxation.
5- to 6-hour boat tours depart in the morning and make stops in San Pedro La Laguna, Santiago de Atitlán, and San Antonio Palopó. As soon as the boat lands in each town, you'll be met by local touts and tour guides offering to show you around. For example, in Santiago de Atitlán, they offer to take you to see Maximón; in Santa Catarina Palopó, they'll take you to see some weaving.
You can experiment fishing for non-native mojarra (black bass) by contacting one of the local tour agencies, or simply heading down to the waterfront docks.
Get a bird's-eye view of the lake and volcanoes from in a tandem rig departing from several different takeoff points on the volcanic hillsides surrounding Lake Atitlán
Experience the rush of high-altitude freshwater diving, which is slightly more challenging than open-water diving at sea level. Most dives take place in 30- to 35-feet of water, and on a particularly clear day, you might see underwater ruins and relics, as well as volcanic steam vents. Certification courses are also offered. Remember that because of altitude and decompression, divers must stay in the area for at least 18 hours after diving.
Off Road Tours
The rugged back roads and mountain trails around Lake Atitlán are well suited to two-wheel travel, whether by mountain bike or off-road motorcycle. Several tour operators and a couple of rental agencies offer guided tours.
Regis Hotel & Spa
3ª. Avenida 3-47 zona 2
Panajachel, Sololá, 07001
Tel (502) 2244-0800
Toll-Free (502) 7762-1149