Under $100: Lake Atitlan

by Jack Guy

Apr 7, 2015

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala © Michalzak | Dreamstime

South America

Most visitors to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala arrive in Panajachel, but the overcrowded, touristy town does not capture the true essence of the lake. To better appreciate its beauty, take a public boat to San Marcos ($3.50) enjoying the view of the volcanoes which surround Atitlan.


Take a leisurely, traditional Guatemalan breakfast in the garden of Restaurant Fe ($5) before a digestive walk to the famous diving platform just outside town. From here you can get up close and personal with the lake by hurling yourself into it, while those that don’t have such a head for heights can sun themselves on the deck.


After frolicking in the lake, walk back to the dock and make the short hop over to San Juan ($1.50) where you can visit cooperatives of local women supporting their families by making and selling handicrafts. Treat yourself to a colorful bag or buy some souvenirs for family and friends ($20).


Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala © Jorge Duarte Estevao | Dreamstime 24069959

© Jorge Duarte Estevao | Dreamstime


Now it’s time for another short boat ride to San Pedro ($1.50) with its wide selection of restaurants. Head to Hummus Ya for some Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine ($10), walking around the village for a while before hiring a kayak ($8) to glide around the lake under your own steam.


Once the sun has slipped behind the mountains, it’s time to return to shore for dinner and drinks at Burma POP ($20 food and drinks). Choose from a selection of Burmese dishes, washed down with cold beers or freshly-prepared cocktails, as you consider your options for the night ahead.


Bar Sublime (two cocktails for $8) is a great place to drink overlooking the lake, or perhaps take in some live music at the Buddha Bar to finish off your day with a flourish.



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