Not sure where to stay in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala?
To be honest, I am not surprised.
With more than 10 stunning villages in Lake Atitlan, choosing the perfect place to stay at Lake Atitlan is no easy task. After spending more than 2 months backpacking Guatemala, I can tell you that picking the wrong place to stay in Lake Atitlan will affect your Guatemala trip!
That is why I am here to help.
Below you will find our recommended hostels and hotels in Lake Atitlan and their location. We will also discuss the different Lake Atitlan villages and the pros and cons of staying in them!
Want a Quick Tip on Where to Stay in Lake Atitlan?
There are many different villages in Lake Atitlan with their own pros and cons. The three most popular villages are San Pedro, San Marcos, and Panajachel.
If this is your first time visiting Lake Atitlan, you cannot go wrong with choosing any of the three places to stay. These villages are great bases for exploring some of the best things to do in Lake Atitlan.
Here are some quick recommendations on the best places to stay in Lake Atitlan.
Best Areas to Stay in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Panajachel is one of the most, if not, the busiest town in Lake Atitlan. With city-like facilities such as diverse accommodations, great food options, and a good mix between locals and tourists, it is not difficult to see why it is so popular.
If you are coming to Lake Atitlan from Antigua, chances are you will be dropped off in Panajachel or San Pedro because these two towns are the most connected ones in Lake Atitlan.
In general, Panajachel is great for more comfort-seeking travelers that are willing to pay a little more.
Pros of Staying in Panajachel:
- Convenient, easy to get to other cities in Guatemala
- Wide variety of accommodations from budget hostels to luxury hotels
- Lots of restaurants and street food
- Bustling and very lively
- Big local markets with souvenirs, crafts, textiles and more
Cons of Staying in Panajachel:
- Far from some of the best attractions in Lake Atitlan such as the Indian Nose Hike and San Pedro Volcano
- Water is not the cleanest for swimming
- Could be too loud for some travelers
- Very touristy
Where to Stay in Panajachel
- Best Hostel in Panajachel – Selina Atitlan
- Best Vacation Rental in Panajachel – Villas Jucanya
- Best Hotel in Panajachel – Porta Hotel del Lago
2. San Pedro
Filled with affordable hostels, good street foods, and popping nightlife, San Pedro is a backpacker’s paradise. If you are solo backpacking Guatemala, you will meet many other travelers and have nights you won’t forget (unless you drink too much).
You are also located close to some of the best activities to do in Lake Atitlan. You will find plenty of tour companies that offer you tours and transportation around the lake. The water is cleaner (though not the cleanest) compared to Panajachel.
Pros of Staying in San Pedro:
- Excellent backpacker scene
- Beautiful restaurants and bars overlooking the lake
- Lots of tour agencies to arrange transportation and tours
- Great nightlife
- A variety of accommodations available
- Easy to get to and easy to leave
Cons of Staying in San Pedro:
- Caters toward tourists so not a very authentic Guatemalan experience
- Restaurants and bars tend to be more expensive than rest of Lake Atitlan
- Not the cleanest water for swimming, but most still do
Where to Stay in San Pedro:
- Best Hostel in San Pedro – Sababa Resort
- Best Vacation Rental in San Pedro – La Villa
- Best Hotel in San Pedro – Zoola San Pedro Atitlan
3. Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is one of the most relaxing places to stay in Lake Atitlan. Most of the hostels and hotels in Santa Cruz are located right next to the water so guests can swim and sunbathe under the Guatemala sun.
The water in Santa Cruz is considerably cleaner than both San Pedro and Panajachel, making it a great option for any travelers looking to enjoy the refreshing waters of Lake Atitlan.
Many accommodations will have stand-up paddleboards and kayaks for anyone looking to do a little more than just swimming in the lake.
Pros of Staying in Santa Cruz:
- Getting to experience Free Cerveza Hostel
- Quiet and authentic
- Great for swimming
Cons of Staying in Santa Cruz:
- Only accessible by boat
- Not a lot of amenities (restaurants or groceries) available
- Hard to get around town
Where to Stay in Santa Cruz
- Best Hostel in Santa Cruz – Free Cerveza
- Best Vacation Rental in Santa Cruz – Lake Front Suites
- Best Hotel in Santa Cruz – Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort & Nature Reserve
4. San Marcos
San Marcos has the nickname of hippie’s haven and it is easy to see why. Along the narrow streets of San Marcos, you will see various handicrafts stores, people rocking dreadlocks, and health-concious restaurants.
This Lake Atitlan village itself is quite small so all of it can be seen in one day. But what ultimately draws a lot of travelers to stay in San Marcos is the magical and relaxing vibes of the town.
San Marcos is also the home of Cerro Tzankujil Nature Reserve, which is arguable the best place to go swimming in Lake Atitlan. Adrenaline junkies will also fancy this place as there is a 10+ meter high platform where you can safely jump into the water.
Pros of Staying in San Marcos:
- Cerro Tzankujil Nature Reserve is the perfect place for swimming and cliff-jumping
- Lots of wellness facilities for meditation and yoga
- A variety of restaurants including vegan and vegetarian food
- Quite touristy
Cons of Staying in San Marcos:
- Might be too “hippie” for some travelers
- Not very authentic
- Hard to get to and hard to get out
Where to Stay in San Marcos
- Best Hostel in San Marcos – Eagle’s Nest
- Best Vacation Rental in San Marcos – Anzan Atitlan
- Best Hotel in San Marcos – Lush Atitlan
5. Santa Catarina Palopo
Santa Catarina Palopo is a small municipality located about 3 miles southeast of Panajachel, the transportation hub of Lake Atitlan. The town is one of the less-touristy towns in Lake Atitlan, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve any tourist attention.
The town is the center of a cultural revival movement where 800 homes are painted with colors and patterns from the Kaqchikel Maya culture. It is a town where authentic Mayan culture is celebrated and still pronounced.
Besides being a quiet, non-touristy town, Santa Catarina Palopo is home is natural hot springs. Though a bit of a hidden gem, the hot springs are located lakeside so they are not too difficult to find!
Pros of Staying in Santa Catarina Palopo:
- Authentic traditional village
- Unique painted houses
- Off the beaten path
Cons of Staying in Santa Catarina Palopo:
- Far from most attractions in Lake Atitlan
- Not much to do in town
- Not very tourist friendly
- Not a lot of accommodation to choose from
- Hard to get to other places
Where to Stay in Santa Catarina Palopo
- Best Hotel in Santa Catarina Palopo – Tzampoc Resort
6. San Juan
Made out of 95% Tz’utujil, one of the 21 ethnic Mayan groups that lived in Guatemala, San Juan is a small authentic village that sees very little tourism. Most visitors of San Juan usually come from San Marcos or San Pedro on a day trip and explore the traditional arts, crafts, galleries and co-operatives.
Off the beaten path, San Juan is ideal for travelers looking for a more authentic experience with more interactions with the locals. If you are staying here, you need to take advantage of the local eateries (comedores) and the weaving and chocolate museums.
Pros of Staying in San Juan:
- Peaceful and quiet
- Great place to experience traditional Mayan life
- Lots of unique museums such as chocolate-making and weaving
- Short boat ride from San Pedro, meaning you can get in and out easily
Cons of Staying in San Juan:
- Won’t find much of a traveler/expat community here
- Little to no tour agencies to arrange transport/tours
- Foreigners might not feel like they fit in here
- Not a lot of accommodations to choose from
Where to Stay in San Juan
- Best Hotel in San Juan – Eco Hotel Uxlabil Atitlan
7. Other Notable Villages to Stay In Lake Atitlan
With a total of 11 villages in Lake Atitlan, there are many worthy places to stay. The ones we have mentioned above are the most popular and will most likely be able to cater to your traveling needs.
Other notable villages to stay in Lake Atitlan are Jaibalito, Santiago Atitlan, and San Lucas Toliman. If you enjoy the utmost peace and quiet, you might want to consider these towns. Otherwise, a day trip to these towns should be enough to see their wonders.
Best Luxury Hotels in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
If you are looking for a dreamy location to kick it and relax, consider Hotel y Cafe La Casa Del Mundo. Located on the side of the cliff, the views of this hotel is beyond your imagination. The hotel grounds feature many hammocks, chairs, and other cozy spots where you can just relax and read a book.
Guests can also go swimming at the lake or rent kayaks or paddleboards.
Located in a small town called Jaibalito, there really isn’t much in town. However, the hotel provides breakfast in the morning (at a cost) and a family-style dinner! It is the perfect way to meet other guests in the hotel and socialize!
- Location: Jaibalito
If you want a place in Lake Atitlan to treat you like kings and queens, stay at Hotel Atitlan. Featuring a swimming pool and a jacuzzi, your legs will thank you after a day of hiking and exploring in Lake Atitlan.
As you sit in the pool to relax, you will be mesmerized by the stunning landscapes Guatemala is known for. Volcanoes after volcanoes, villages after villages, there is no better way to forget about all the worries in the world!
If you are not convinced of the quality of this hotel, check out their meticulous gardening work. It looks like a Japanese garden on the cover of a magazine.
The hotel is also a bird sanctuary of many exotic species!
- Location: Panajachel
If you haven’t been convinced by any of the hotels above, there is one more hotel that will blow your mind.
Porta Hotel Del Lago is a luxury hotel located in Panajachel. Featuring a gigantic swimming pool, a jacuzzi, and plenty of places to sunbathe, guests can properly relax in this high-end hotel.
The spacious rooms are clean and offer unparalleled views of Lake Atitlan. Nothing is like waking up to the sun rising over the beautiful volcanoes that surround Lake Atitlan.
Make sure you consider this hotel when you visit Lake Atitlan!
- Location: Panajachel
Best Budget Hotels in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
1. Lush Atitlan
Lush Atitlan is the place to stay in Lake Atitlan if you want to relax in some of the most calming environments. Located in the hippie town of San Marcos, the accommodation is filled with greenery such as gardens and jungles.
If your perfect day consists of waking up to a gorgeous sunrise and views of the charming Lake Atitlan, then spending the rest of your days exploring San Marcos and relaxing at your hotel, Lush Atitlan is the place for you.
- Location: San Marcos
El Delfin Hotel y Restaurante is one of the best affordable hotels in San Pedro, Lake Atitlan. Though I did not stay there personally, I have heard good things from the travelers that have stayed there. The hotel features an on-site restaurant and a bar, as well as a well-equipped fitness center.
San Pedro is a backpacker town known for its crazy nightlife and noise. However, the location of this hotel is just far enough from the hecticness so you can get a good night’s rest!
- Location: San Pedro
Located in Panajachel, Hotel Utz Jay is one of the highly-rated cheap hotels in Panajachel, Lake Atitlan. Only one block away from the main street, the hotel is situated close to all the action in town.
If you want to take it slow and relax, the hotel grounds are filled with amazing native species of plants, cute decor, and lots of chilling-out spots.
Don’t miss this economical hotel when you are in Panajachel!
- Location: Panajachel
Best Hostels in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Free Cerveza, or “Free Beer” in English, is one of the most famous hostels in Lake Atitlan. Why? Because this fun glamping hostel offers free beer for an hour every evening. Well, that is only one of the many reasons why I consider Free Cerveza the best hostel in Lake Atitlan.
Located on the waterfront of the small Lake Atitlan village called Santa Cruz, guests can enjoy what Lake Atitlan is known for: Gorgeous scenic views, swimming in the lake, and just relaxing properly.
The hostel offers shared glamps, dormitory beds in the treehouse, and a private lakehouse that juts into the lake. If you are on your honeymoon or want somewhere romantic, the lakehouse is the perfect setting.
The hostel also has plenty of activities if you don’t want to just chill out on their private deck. Yoga, outdoor gym, stand-up paddleboarding, kayak, and even a sauna room are all available at Free Cerveza hostel!
- Location: Santa Cruz
Selina Atitlan is an affordable hostel with the comfort and amenities of a luxury hotel. A huge pool area with sun loungers for guests to relax? Check. An amazing on-site restaurant featuring healthy and local cuisine? Check. Comfortable beds in spacious dormitory rooms? Check! The list of pros for Selina Atitlan goes on and on.
What I liked the most about the Selina hostel in Lake Atitlan was its very relaxing vibes. It is the proper place to sit by the pool and do nothing all day. However, if you do prefer to be more active, the hostel offers activities and tours for guests!
Located in Panajachel, it is also very easy to get to and has many amazing shops and restaurants in its close vicinity.
- Location: Panajachel
Sababa Resort is a newly open resort with dormitory-styled rooms in San Pedro. Featuring resort-like facilities such as a beautiful swimming pool and dainty decor, it is surprising how affordable this hostel in San Pedro is.
The private rooms are gorgeous and many of them face the beautiful lake. The dormitory rooms are even better in my opinion. Spacious, clean, and amazingly detailed with wood, the rooms speak luxury.
There is no better way to get your day started with their buffet-style breakfast!
- Location: San Pedro
Best Vacation Rentals & Airbnbs in Lake Atitlan
1. Casa Tzampoc
(Images Courtesy of VRBO)
If you are looking for a unique family getaway in Lake Atitlan, consider this 6-person home. Featuring a beautiful private swimming pool, guests can admire the volcanic views as they rest their aching limbs after a day of exploring Lake Atitlan.
This Lake Atitlan VRBO is located a short drive away from Panajachel, the biggest Mayan village in Lake Atitlan. Guests have their own personal paradise while still being close to some of the best restaurants in the area.
If you don’t wish to travel far, the fully-equipped kitchen is perfect for preparing a gourmet meal. A private chef can be arranged with the property if you wish.
- Location: Santa Catarina Palopo
If the ideal place to stay in Lake Atitlan involves breathtaking views and supreme comfort, then the Anzan Atitlan is perfect for you. With wide windows, guests can enjoy stunning lake views directly from the bed or the standing bathtub.
The Lake Atitlan vacation rental is located a few km from San Marcos La Laguna, meaning that guests are away from the craziness and can enjoy the lush nature of Lake Atitlan. The property features a private dock where guests can go swim or suntan. If you can’t be bothered, each apartment unit also features a private balcony facing the lake.
Anzan Atitlan is the perfect getaway for couples or a family. Its onsite restaurant features mouth-watering dishes made from fresh local ingredients. Be prepared for a completely relaxing and luxurious experience at Anzan Atitlan.
- Location: Outskits of San Marcos
(Images Courtesy of Airbnb)
One of the most liked Airbnb on Instagram in 2020, Lakeview Lodge is simply a paradise. Its most outstanding feature is the gorgeous front terrace that offers a 180-degree view of Lake Atitlan. The terrace has a comfy lounge chair and a hammock, perfect for total relaxation. It is also an excellent place to sun tan.
Inside this Lake Atitlan Airbnb are more incredible amenities such as a fully-equipped modern kitchen, triple-filtered water purification system, and a king size orthopedic mattress for a dreamy rest. There is also a garden that offers fresh avocados, bananas, dragon fruits, mangos or coffee depending on the season.
Perched over a hill, this Lake Atitlan offers unparalleled privacy, making it a perfect romantic getaway!
- Location: Tzununa
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Falling in love with Lake Atitlan is inevitable, especially if you find the right town in Atitlan for you.
Hopefully, this guide has given you some insights on where to stay in Lake Atitlan.
Any questions? Leave a comment!
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