Are you looking for the best hotels at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala? In this post, you can find a description of villages by Lago Atitlan and recommendations of the hotels, that helps you to make the best decision on where to stay at Lake Atitlan.
One thing I struggled with before my trip to Guatemala, was to find the best places to stay in Lake Atitlan. Like, there are so many villages around the lake, with an entirely different vibe and a view, so depending on what you are looking for, you would need to make a different choice.
I’ve done huge research on that, to make sure I find the best hotels in Lake Atitlan (but also affordable ones), and below you can see the results (eghm, you are welcome).
Check out my recommendations on where to stay in Lake Atitlan for your unforgettable vacation in Guatemala.
Lake Atitlan Guatemala
Best places to stay in Lake Atitlan – General information
People come to Lake Atitlan for different reasons. But the main one is – the natural beauty. Before I arrived at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, I was skeptical. People called it the most beautiful lake in the world. You know, turquise water sparkling in the sun and volcanoes towering above. Surely, after seeing so many stunning lakes in Norway, I won’t be that amazed by it, I thought.
Oh, well, I was wrong.
Lake Atitlan is a freshwater lake in a massive volcanic crater, surrounded by volcanoes. You can stay there for days on end, exploring every one of the little villages dotted by its shores.
Generally, the cheapest place to find hotel by Lake Atitlan is San Pedro. If you are on the budget, look for accommodation away from the water. The further away from the lake shore, the cheaper the accommodation. That’s also where the locals live. If you don’t care about lake views or proximity to the water, you can stay in hotels for as little as a few dollars per person/room.
Transport between the villages is mainly by boat. The transfer time usually takes between 15min to 30 min one way, and the cost is from 10-15q to 25q per person (depending on the route) one way. Boats run from around 6-7am till 5pm (from San Pedro). It’s good to account for that when you choose a hotel in Lake Atitlan. If you are planning for sunrise hikes or late nights, maybe stay close to the locations you are interested in. Otherwise you would need to arrange for a private boat transfer (which can be pricey).
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Lake Atitlan where to stay – the main villages
Main towns to stay in Lake Atitlan are:
- Santa Cruz La Laguna
- San Pedro La Laguna
- San Marcos La Laguna
- San Juan La Laguna
- Santiago Atitlan
Some of the best hotels in Lake Atitlan are located in these towns. However, there are also hotels located outside of the villages, usually only accessible by boat and with not much around (which can be cool, too).
The Best Lake Atitlan Hotels in Each Village
Where to stay in Santa Cruz La Laguna Lake Atitlan
Santa Cruz La Laguna is one of the best places to stay at Lake Atitlan, in my opinion. I stayed there for several nights and LOVED IT.
Santa Cruz is the most picturesque town, with stunning lake and volcano views (probably the best ones at the lake). The unobstructed view of all three volcanoes San Pedro, Toliman, and Atitlan at sunrise is out of this world. The town itself lies on the hill, but the best accommodation is down by the lakeshore. You can only access it by the boat.
Best Santa Cruz La Laguna hotels
Hotel & Restaurante Arca de Noé – this is where I stayed for several nights and I can highly recomment it! The views of the lake were just s-t-u-n-n-i-n-g. There were tons of flowers, and trees on the property (frequented by hummingbirds), and hammocks to chill in. It’s just a few steps away from the lakeshore and next to the boat pier. The hotel also features a restaurant with delicious food. The meals are a bit on an expensive side, but they are all homemade and you can eat them with the beautiful views. The atmosphere is very relaxed. Check prices and availability here.
La Iguana Perdida – if you still want stunning lake views in a quiet location, but for a better price, La Iguana Perdida offers not only private rooms, but also beds in dorms. Every night they organize family-style dinners which are a great way to meet other travelers. You can stay in the usual dorm or in an open one, which gives the sensation of camping. It’s located next door to Hotel Arca de Noé , so I popped by for a visit. Check prices and availability here.
The tiny town of Jaibalito is located near Santa Cruz, and there you can find a fantastic hotel in Lake Atitlan. It was fully booked when I was visiting, otherwise, I would definitely stay there. Just look at it! Hotel La Casa del Mundo – the reviews and photos of this place say it all. Next time, when I’m in Lake Atitlan I will book it in advance. Check prices and availability here.
Free Cerveza – a hostel located at the end of the road by the lakeshore in Santa Cruz. I’ve heard good things about it, but when I tried to book it, the prices for a bed in a tent or a private tent without a bathroom and not a nice view were almost the same as a big private room in the other hotel where we ended up staying. I visited Free Cerveza to have a look and if you are a solo traveler and manage to get a good deal on accommodation, it seems fine.
Where to stay in Panajachel Lake Atitlan
Panajachel – main town in Lake Atitlan, this is where you come off from the bus to the lake. It has all the amenities, including bank, ATM, shops, restaurants. It’s also a main hub for boats that go across the lake. However, it is busy and not so relaxing.
Best Panajachel hotels
Selina Atitlan – a popular chain of hotels targeted to younger crowd and digital nomads. I didn’t stay in the one by the Lake Atitlan, but I have stayed in two other Selina properties and I can definitely recommend it, especially for solo travelers. The hotel in Panajachel is located just by the lake shore, near the boat pier. Check prices and availability here.
Santa Catarina Palopó
Near Panajachel lies small colorful town Santa Catarina Palopó. It’s a place worth a visit, but there are also a few hotels worth staying at.
Tzampoc Resort – I unfortunately found out about this place when I already had to leave Lake Atitlan. But I put it on my list for the next time. Just check out the photos and the reviews, and you would immediately want to stay there yourself. Check prices and availability here.
Where to stay in San Pedro la Laguna Lake Atitlan
One of the most popular places to stay by Lake Atitlan for backpackers is San Pedro La Laguna. That’s where you can find the cheapest accommodation, many bars, restaurants, and “town life”. In my opinion, unless you are very much on a budget, or you are planning to do some sunrise hikes on this side of the lake (like Indian Nose), I wouldn’t spend your whole stay there.
It’s a party town, quite noisy and not that pretty. I stayed there for one night, as we were planning to do a sunrise hike in the nearby town San Juan for Indian Nose. Most of the hiking tours depart from San Pedro (you’re supposed to go with a guide due to bandits on the top).
Here are the recommended hotels in San Pedro La Laguna to stay in Lake Atitlan.
Best San Pedro la Laguna hotels
Hotel y Restaurante Playa Linda – this is where I stayed and it was quite nice. Located out of the city center, but still walkable (15 min), very close to the local beach where the locals take baths and wash clothes. Check prices and availability here.
Sababa resort – a swanky resort with a pool. Apart from normal rooms, it also offers beds in the dorm. They are on the pricey side, but if you want to use resort facilities, it’s probably a good bet. Check prices and availability here.
Where to stay in San Marcos La Laguna Lake Atitlan
San Marcos is another town with beautiful volcano views. The town center is located closer to the water than Santa Cruz (there is no hill to climb).
San Marcos is considered a spiritual center of Lake Atitlan. It has several good yoga places and offers yoga retreats. It would be a good choice for a longer stay if you are planning to take part in any of the activities and meet interesting people from all over the world.
Most of the lakefront and main street leading from the water to town are occupied by hip stores, health centers, expensive western-style cafes, and clothes shops catering to tourists. I was very surprised by the (high!) prices of everything in these shops. However, if you venture out deeper into town, you can find local shops with normal prices and everyday life.
Best San Marcos la Laguna hotels
Tzununá village where to stay
Tzununá is located more off the beaten path, next to San Marcos. There, you can find hotel El Picnic Atitlan with private glamping tents, a relaxing atmosphere, and great views. Check prices and availability here.
Where to stay in San Juan La Laguna
San Juan’s accommodation seems to be a bit limited compared to other places to stay in Lake Atitlan. However, it’s a pretty town to visit and all about the art. That’s the place to go shopping for local handicrafts, look for local street art, walk along umbrella street, visit one of many cafes, climb a famous viewpoint or have a look at Indian Nose hill.
Best San Juan la Laguna hotels
Eco hotel Mayachik – my friend has stayed there and I also considered it (unfortunately I run out of time). This property is located a bit further from the lake without direct views but inside the lush forest. You can wake up to the sound of birds and try a traditional Mayan sauna on a property. Check prices and availability here.
Where to stay in Santiago Atitlan
One of the biggest towns around the lake, with the strongest indigenous identity and many local people. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to make it out there. If you really want to stay there, I suggest looking for locally-owned guesthouses on Booking.com. You can sometimes stay with a local Mayan family and learn their way of living.
Where would you stay in Lake Atitlan? Do you have any favourite hotels in Lake Atitlan? Let me know in the comments.
Read about more adventure activities here:
- Best volcano hikes in the world
- Norway on a budget
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- Best outdoor gifts for the adventurer
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