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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Julia

One Day at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala: Itinerary to Transform and Travel

Lake Atitlan surrounded by 12 villages named after the 12 apostles is heavenly. Lonely planet once named Lake Atitlan "Eden on Earth". It is easy to see why.


Lake Atitlan is the deepest lake in all of Central America with a maximum depth of about 340 meters, or about 1, 120 feet. The lake is about 7.5 miles at its widest point. It is breathtaking to the eyes with endless exploration all around you.


That's one of the reasons why I decided to spend not just One Day at Lake Atitlan or in Guatemala, but about one and a half months! I am spending five weeks at Lake Atitlan.


If you don't know where to start with your time at and near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, I am here to help you #createit! Traveling helps you transform in more ways than one when you travel globally.


While there is plenty to experience one day all around Lake Atitlan to transform and travel whether you come solo, with family, or with a group, you will definitely want to consider staying longer.


Follow this One Day at Lake Atitlan Itinerary to Transform and Travel. It will help you make your travels transformational even it's a short trip. These are my recommendations for the top experiences for your one day in and around Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.



Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

Kayaking at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala near Jaibalito with views of San Pedro Volcano



My Experiences with Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

This is my first time in and near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Thanks to Guatemala, Lake Atitlan, and my Airbnbs in San Marcos La Laguna and San Pedro La Laguna, it likely will not be my only time visiting Guatemala.


There is so much to experience in and near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala including the nature, adventures, villages, and food.


Although I am staying in Guatemala for about a month and a half, I love to create adventure days to share for myself and others whether you are somewhere short or long-term and want to create adventure days too. That's why I created One Day Travel guides.



View of San Pedro La Laguna from Cerro Tzankujil Reserve in San Marcos La Laguna


Travel fills me up. New people, adventures, and experiences are something I love. My story includes being conceived in Bulgaria, born in Poland, and in 4 countries by the time I was 2 (including a refugee camp in Italy.)


My travels in Guatemala include a focus on nature, adventure and healthy travel experiences.


If you didn't know, I lost over 55+ lbs 7+ years ago and have kept it off. In addition, I haven't drunk alcohol for over 5 years now. I feel healthier than High School.


Disclaimer: Average person who uses Herbalife Global Nutrition loses 0.5 to 1 lb a week with healthy active lifestyle.


Lake Atitlan Airbnbs

For my second stay in Guatemala, I went glamping by Lake Atitlan for four days in San Marcos La Laguna. For my third stay in Guatemala, I stayed at an Airbnb Digital Nomad Chalet in San Pedro La Laguna for a month!



Glamping at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala via Airbnb Bliss Land Bell Tent











Instagram Behind the Scenes Reel






All shots are my own on Canon EOSM100, Sony A330, and/or my iPhone 12 Mini or Airbnb photos.













Fun Facts About Lake Atitlan

No trip to Guatemala is complete without visiting Lake Atitlan, named Eden on Earth by Lonely Planet. The beautiful, breathtaking and blue waters surrounded by volcanos emits an incredible spirit all around the lake.


With the 12 villages named after 12 apostles, you may spend weeks, months, and a lifetime easily at Lake Atitlan. When I changed my travel plans after Costa Rica from Nicaragua to Guatemala, I knew I wanted to spend a minimum of a month here. I am so glad I did.


Lake Atitlan is the deepest lake in Central America with over 340 meters, 1,100+ feet at its deepest point. While Spanish is spoken all around the lake, there are over 22 languages regularly spoken in Guatemala. Depending which village you visit, they may be speaking a different Mayan language from the last village you visited.


What you may not know is the country has been inhabited for over 20,000 years with over 22 languages regularly spoken in Guatemala. Interestingly, the CIA overthrew the socialist government in 1954. In addition, Guatemala experienced the longest civil war in Latin American history, and its effects are still experienced today.


Lake Atitlan boasts incredible nature, views, weather and experiences all around you. It is surrounded by volcanos, and views you may see from incredible view points like Indian Nose near San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala.


I love visiting Lake Atitlan and the villages surrounding the lake in Guatemala. I enjoyed spending the day experiencing a boat (Lancha) around the lake, swimming and kayaking, La Casa del Mundo in Jaibalito, Cerro Tzankujil in San Marcos La Laguna, Weaving demonstration in San Juan La Laguna, Panajachel Market, and foodie experiences all around Lake Atitlan.



Boats (Lanchas) for transportation around the lakes villages


Shot on my iPhone 12



One Day at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

Let's explore the experiences I recommend for one day in and near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Depending on when you arrive at the lake, and where you stay, feel free to modify your experiences!


What I love about Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, is you may experience a ton for free and/or budget friendly!


I'm sharing here a full 24 hours for your one day in and around Lake Atitlan in Guatemala from morning to night! I've shared One Day in Antigua, Guatemala and Top 10 in Antigua, Guatemala as well. I'll have Top 10 Lake Atitlan Things to Do guide as well!


 

Boat Ride around Lake Atitlan

A great way to start your day at Lake Atitlan is taking a boat (lancha) either to your next village and/or around the lake. To give you an idea, a boat ride from San Pedro La Laguna to San Marcos La Laguna is about 10Q (a little over a $1)! In comparison, a boat ride from San Pedro La Laguna to Panajachel (a transportation and market hub at Lake Atitlan) is about 25Q (a little over $3).


It's a great way to experience the lake first hand up close and personal!


I recommend you start your day by taking the boat to either San Marcos La Laguna and/or Jaibalito to rent a kayak and /or Stand Up Paddle Boards.


Depending on where you are coming from, and how long the operators wait for more passengers, the boat ride may take 10-20 minutes ish.






 

Swimming at Lake Atitlan

You can't visit Lake Atitlan without spending time at the lake! It is stunning and refreshing with pleasant temperatures. There are places at the lake that are better and cleaner to swim.


You may send an hour to a day easily.


San Marcos La Laguna

I found the waters are incredible at San Marcos La Laguna for free at the docks close to the public boat stop. When you get off the boat, walk to the right along the lake. Relax and enjoy swimming at the lake close to the docks and around the shore.






Jaibalito

One of my other favorite places to swim at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala includes the village of Jaibalito at La Casa del Mundo.





Water Sports at Lake Atitlan

Incredible ways to experience Lake Atitlan immersed in stillness include water sports like Kayaking and Stand Up Paddle Boarding. I have found early in the day sunrise to about 11 am is the best time to Swim, Kayak and/or Stand Up Paddle Board at the lake.


I have found some of the most beautiful and economical places to swim and do water sports include San Marcos La Laguna and Jaibalito. From San Pedro La Laguna, I invest 10Q (a little over a $1 based on current exchange rate) to San Marcos La Laguna, and 20Q (a little over $2) to Jaibalito by boat currently in April 2021 one way.


In San Marcos La Laguna, by Cerro Tzankujil, you may rent Kayaks by the hour at about

16Q / about $2. In Jaibalito at La Casa del Mundo, you may rent a single kayak for 25Q / about $3-4 early in the morning.


I don't know about you friend, but I love being immersed in nature and stillness. Although I filmed some of my time kayaking, I spent about 2 hours in stillness and silence on the lake.



Depending on where you are staying or what you decide, I recommend considering going to San Marcos La Laguna to rent the kayak, and visit Cerro Tzankujil Nature Reserve as well!


Cerro Tzankujil Nature Reserve

Cerro Tzankujil is located in San Marcos La Laguna. When you exit the boat or lancha dock, walk to the left by the lake just like I shared to go swimming. While you are swimming or enjoying the docks, if you look to the right you will see the beautiful rock formations and cliffs of the reserve.


If you keep walking, you may enter by climbing the steps when the lake beach ends and meets the rocks of the reserve. As of April 2021, it is 20Q / $3 to enter the reserve.


You may walk the reserve and take beautiful pictures of the views of San Pedro Volcano and Lake Atitlan. The first time I visited I explored the reserve for a few hours and journaled. The second time I visited, I spent a half day or at least relaxing on the rocks and swimming in the beautiful waters.


Depending how much time you have for your Lake Atitlan visit, you may spend a few hours as part of your day, and/or return again for more visits! If you didn't know, I went glamping by Lake Atitlan in San Marcos La Laguna for days!







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Giving Back and Weaving: Casa Flor Ixcaco

Many of the villages, indigenous cultures, and Mayan women support themselves around Lake Atitlan via weaving cooperatives like Casa Flor Ixcaco. I learned about Casa Flor via Trip Advisor and decided to visit.


Depending on your day and time at Lake Atitlan, you could visit San Juan La Laguna, and Casa Flor Ixcaco for a weaving demonstration for about an hour or so. By boat ride, San Juan La Laguna is about 10 minutes away from San Marcos La Laguna, and currently about 10Q (a little over a $1).


Casa Flor Ixcaco is about a 10-20 minute walk from the boat dock. You may take a TukTuk as well for about 10Q ish. Casa Flor asks for either a 25Q for the demonstration (about $3-$5 donation) or waives the donation if you buy anything at the weaving cooperative. There is no need to reserve currently. You may stop and participate in a personal demonstration. With Ana, I learned about cotton plant, seed picking, flattening, dying, and time it takes to produce the artisan goods.


If you are staying at Lake Atitlan longer, you may want to consider a memorable weaving experience like making your own scarf for a three hour or half day workshop for 150Q-300Q (about $20-$40). Make sure you visit their Website, Facebook, and Message WhatsApp to reserve for a workshop.



Weaving Demonstration San Juan La Laguna Casa Flor Ixcaco









La Casa del Mundo

A must visit is La Casa del Mundo by Lake Atitlan. Named Guatemala's Most Magical Hotel by Lonely Planet for great reason, La Casa del Mundo calls the village of Jaibalito home. La Casa del Mundo is engulfed in beautiful and breathtaking scenery, cliffs, and pristine views of Lake Atitlan and surrounding volcanos.


After you leave San Juan La Laguna, you may hop on a boat to go to Jaibalito for about 20Q ($3 dollars). While I didn't stay here, I visited three times during my stay at Lake Atitlan.


As of April 2021, you may enjoy the beautiful grounds of La Casa del Mundo when you eat at their cafe, rent kayaks and/or stand up paddle boards, and/or purchase a Day Pass for 25Q (a bit over $3) that is a donation.


No trip to Lake Atitlan is complete without at least one visit to La Casa del Mundo.




La Casa del Mundo

La Casa del Mundo Lake Atitlan in Guatemal

La Casa del Mundo Lake Atitlan

As if the surroundings are not compelling enough, I highly recommend you immerse yourself in a culinary experience like no other with their incredible breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.


Their cafe beautiful, delicious, and reasonably priced cafe perched on cliffs with incredible views of Lake Atitlan. During the three times I visited, I enjoyed their delicious and fresh food at the cafe including an omelette, Chapian breakfast, and the Tofu lunch.






I rented kayaks (25Q / ~$4 dollars an hour for small single kayak) and stand up paddle boards (50Q an hour / $7 an hour), relaxed for hours in hammocks, walked the grounds, and swam on the beautiful grounds including entire floors immersed in water.


If you didn't know, for years the water of Lake Atitlan has been rising immersing floors of buildings and entire homes. It is easy to spend the full day or days at La Casa del Mundo.





Souvenir Shopping

Depending what interests you for your time in Lake Atitlan, you may want to visit Panajachel - the hub of Lake Atitlan. They have a beautiful church-St Francis Assisi, street art, and Calle Santander for souvenir shopping. The boat ride from Jaibalito to Panachel may be around 20Q/$3.


I have traveled since I was a baby. I learned early on in 95% of countries you bargain at markets with souvenirs and artisan goods.


I used to not like bargaining, but now I embrace it. I keep it playful, and ask things like "is this your best price" or "if/when I walk away you won't chase me with a better price". I usually get a price lower by anywhere from 30-75% depending on the country and place.


Even if you are not in the mood or market to buy, it is a great and free activity to do!







 

Foodie Favorites Lake Atitlan

There are many foodie favorites at Lake Atitlan.


Some of my favorites include getting fresh coconuts on the street for about 10Q/$1.50 ish and fresh mangos for about 10Q already peeled.


San Marcos La Laguna

One of my favorites for tea and smoothie bowls is Samsura Garden. They have great WiFi too!







San Pedro La Laguna

I love La Terraza on the main road walking alongside the lake. Their smoothies and pancakes are great! It's a great spot to see lake views too!










La Casa del Mundo Cafe

In case you missed my rave reviews above of the clifftop cafe at Guatemala's Most Magical Hotel, La Casa Del Mundo! It is great for breakfast, lunch and dinner!


Mango and Papaya Smoothie


Tofu Corn Tortilla Scramble


Chapian Breakfast and Tortillas


Reasons to Stay in & near Lake Atitlan Longer

There are limitless reasons to stay near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala longer. Beyond experiencing what I shared for more time and more than once, Antigua, Indian Nose Sunrise Hike, Santa Caterina, Sababa Resort, and the other villages all call to you to stay longer.


Panajachel, Guatemala Highlights








Santa Caterina Palopa

A beautiful village located within 10 minutes of Panajachel



Sababa Resort

Sababa Resort and Cafe nearby are located in San Pedro La Laguna. The resort is a great way to spend the day relaxing by their pool with a Day Pass for about 30Q/$7-$8.


The cafe located closer to town is a great way to enjoy the lake views and work too!

IG behind the scenes




Lake Atitlan Travels in Guatemala

As you may clearly see, Lake Atitlan has limitless options for One Day and more! Why do you think I spent five weeks at the Lake?


Whether you want to immerse yourself in nature, exploring cultural experiences, and wandering the villages of Lake Atitlan, you will love it!


Have you visited Lake Atitlan before?

Is it on your bucket list?


If you haven't, what activity here interests you the most to do in One Day in and near Lake Atitlan, Guatemala?


Guatemala Travels

One Day in Antigua, Guatemala and my Top 10 Things to Do in Antigua, Guatemala

Costa Rica Travels

One Day in La Fortuna, Costa Rica and my Top 10 Things to Do in La Fortuna!

One Day in Monteverde, Costa Rica and my Top 10 Things to Do in Monteverde!

One Day in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica and my Top 10 Things to Do in Manuel Antonio!

One Day in Escazu, Costa Rica & Top 10 Things to Do in San Jose, Costa Rica!



Not to mention our Inspiring Travel Now & in the Future Project &

Costa Rica Retreat coming in August 2021!

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