Lake Atitlan is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Guatemala and you definitely need to include it in your Guatemala itinerary. Picking where to stay in Lake Atitlan, however, is easier said than done.
With so many small towns and villages, each of them offering a unique experience, you may well be at a loss when looking for the best place to stay in Lake Atitlan. Budget wise, you will have a lot of choice – there are many luxury and boutique options, and a good amount of budget friendly places and even hostels.
If you don’t know where to stay in Lake Atitlan, this post will be handy. I have been there three times, each of them picking a different location and place to stay, and I can tell you everything you need to know. Let me start with a short description of some of the many lovely towns of Lake Atitlan.
The Towns And Villages Of Lake Atitlan
There’s a collection of towns and small villages dotted around the shores of the lake. Each one is slightly different with its own unique atmosphere and charm. You can choose where to stay in Lake Atitlan depending on the types of activities you want to get up to during your trip.
From backpacker hangouts to yoga retreats and chic boutique stays, Lake Atitlan has got you covered. Here’s a look at some of the more well known locations on the lake to help you plan your trip.
Situated on the northern shore of Lake Atitlan, Panajachel is the largest and most built-up town around this beautiful destination. It works as the gateway to the lake for many, and is also a place to stay in its own right. It’s home to shops, travel agencies, bars, and restaurants, making for a convenient base while you explore the surrounding area.
The town may be a little bit of a shock for some, especially those who have come for a rural paradise – it’s very touristy and a major hangout for American backpackers, to the point that it’s also known as “Gringotenango” (tenango is a local word meaning “town”). But that doesn’t mean it should be avoided. In fact, there’s a lot of affordable accommodation to be found in Panajachel, meaning it’s an ideal place for those traveling on a tight budget.
Santa Catarina Palopo
Past Panajachel, Santa Catarina Palopo has little in terms of tourist offering – other than a nice hotel, that is. It’s home to some nice hot springs (aguas termales). As there aren’t many restaurants and tourist attractions, the village has a nice, more local feel so it’s where to stay in Lake Atitlan if you want a more local experience.
San Pedro La Laguna
To the southwest, San Pedro La Laguna is situated between the shores of Lake Atitlan itself and the slopes of San Pedro Volcano. Not far from San Juan La Laguna, San Pedro is firmly a backpacker destination.
Once a sleepy village, San Pedro is now fairly busy with hangouts attracting backpackers and solo travelers alike. Here you’ll find a plethora of hostels to stay in, and many Spanish language schools for those looking to take a deeper dive into Guatemalan culture during their trip.
San Juan La Laguna
San Juan is less well trod than the backpacker haven of neighboring San Pedro, and is thus a more authentic place to get to grips with the local culture. This colorful village is a friendly place to stay, but the flipside is that there’s less in the way of accommodation in San Juan, with just a handful of budget-friendly hotels and hostels scattered around the town.
San Marcos La Laguna
San Marcos is a hippie destination. Travelers head here for spiritual healing. Accordingly, you’ll find a whole array of places to align your chakras and cleanse your aura, from reiki healing sessions to yoga classes, as well as cacao ceremonies and organic eateries. Accommodation here ranges from low-key and affordable, to eco-friendly, wellness resorts.
Santa Cruz La Laguna
On the northern shore of Lake Atitlan you’ll find Santa Cruz. Made up of a collection of villages, here you’ll find abundant nature and – possibly due to the more remote locale – much of Lake Atitlan’s more luxury accommodation. Think eco-lodges and resorts with unmatched lake-and-volcano vistas.
Lake Atitlan’s best kept secret, Jaibalito can be reached on an easy hike from Santa Cruz La Laguna, or by boat from other villages around the lake. The small local community is incredibly friendly, and there are a couple of good places to stay – but in general this is a low key kind of place, with stunning views of the lake.
Where To Stay In Lake Atitlan
Luxury Hotels in Lake Atitlan
When it comes to luxury, this is where to stay in Lake Atitlan. Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort & Nature Reserve provides the ultimate in relaxation. Located near Santa Cruz, there are some great hiking options nearby.
This breathtaking property is perched on the water’s edge and provides incredible views out over the lake to the three volcanoes in the distance. There are a selection of rooms to opt for, from king suites all the way to private villas – each of them decorated in designer furnishings but with a rustic feel.
Facilities at the hotel include an organic restaurant serving up international cuisine, as well as the Lava Bar, where you can enjoy fresh made cocktails at the lake. There’s also a spa where guests can indulge in some relaxing treatment, or opt to take a yoga class.
Anzan Atitlan is another gorgeous place to stay on Lake Atitlan. A mix of modern and traditional architecture, this striking boutique bed and breakfast features effortlessly stylish design throughout, offering the chance to stay in an intimate setting. Each room is spacious, with clean lines, minimalism and bright color pops, and features large windows that look out over the lake.
The location of Anzan Atitlan is another plus. It’s just over one mile from the town of San Marcos, but you get to enjoy the tranquility of a more quiet setting – helped even further by the fact that there’s a private beach for guests to use here. Amenities include an on-site restaurant and bar, as well as yoga and massage services.
For some out and out luxury, opt for Tzampoc Resort. With its rustic but sophisticated rooms, decorated in a mix of white-washed walls and warm natural woods, it’s the perfect spot to kick back and relax at Lake Atitlan.
Here guests can enjoy swinging in a hammock while gazing across the lake itself, or taking a refreshing swim in the outdoor pool. There’s also a complimentary breakfast served up every morning, a firewood sauna to use, and a relaxing communal lounge complete with a cozy fireplace.
You’ll find Tzampoc Resort located in Santa Catarina Palopo, just over three and a half miles from the main town of Panajachel.
Mid-range Lake Atitlan Hotels
Hotel y Café La Casa del Mundo may be a mid-range offering, but don’t let that discourage you. This is a beautiful accommodation option in Lake Atitlan, overlooking the glistening waters of the lake itself.
Guest rooms here are decorated with handcrafted Mayan decor; budget-conscious guests can even opt for a room with a shared bathroom (but ensuites are also available). There is a range of activities to fill your schedule here, from hiking and snorkeling to simply soaking in the lakeside hot tub or relaxing on the hotel’s private beach.
This beautiful location is surrounded by nature, but it’s also not too far from Solola, where Hotel y Café La Casa del Mundo is located, to the town of Jaibalito, also.
Sababa Resort is a wonderful place where to stay in Lake Atitlan, located in San Pedro La Laguna. This resort accommodation offers up pretty much everything you’ll need (and more) during your stay in this serene natural setting. Boasting manicured grounds centered around a sizable outdoor swimming pool, views of the lake from this particular resort are stunning.
Amenities at Sababa include a restaurant and bar, while there are many different relaxing spots to soak up the ambience and amazing views scattered around the resort. Not only that, but there is a large choice of room options to suit different budgets, from dormitories to family rooms.
Located in Panajachel, Selina Atitlan has some serious style credentials going on. The rooms here are super spacious, tiled affairs, with large windows that let in plenty of natural light, and allow for some picturesque views of Lake Atitlan. Everything here has been designed with comfort and style in mind, from the guest rooms to the communal areas and gardens.
There’s a swimming pool for guests to use here (for those days when you just want to chill out), as well as a bar that’s a good place to meet other travelers. This budget option Lake Atitlan hotel is a great crossover of hostel and hotel, making it a good option for independent travelers who want to enjoy a resort style atmosphere without the huge price tag.
Budget Lake Atitlan Hotels
Cozy, comfortable and down to earth, Hotel Nuestro Sueño may not be the most glamorous or polished of hotels around Lake Atitlan, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your consideration. In fact, here you’ll find a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, with unrivalled views of the lake.
Staff here are endlessly welcoming, and the food consists of delicious home cooked meals for that added authentic atmosphere. It’s a super charming place away from the more touristy parts of this Guatemala hotspot.
Located in San Antonio Palopo, Hotel Nuestro Sueño features an indoor swimming pool, a gym, dining room, and gardens that run down to the shore of the lake. Rooms here are rustic but clean and comfortable, making for a warm place to make some memories.
Hospedaje El Viajero offers fantastic value for money. Here you’ll be able to stay in a colorful home that’s overflowing with greenery and tropical plants. The rustic rooms here are simple affairs, but they’re comfortable and provide a homely base that’s equipped with everything you’ll need for your stay at Lake Atitlan. Some rooms even come with a terrace or balcony for extra relaxation.
Location-wise, the hotel ticks a lot of boxes. You’ll find it in the vibrant town of Panajachel, near to both public transport links, shopping and places to eat and drink along the water’s edge; you won’t have to travel very far from Hospedaje El Viajero for practically anything you’ll need.
There may not be much in the way of amenities here, but simply sitting on the terrace soaking up the ambience (and those lake views) is enough. And if you’re not charmed by the hotel, maybe the resident parrot will steal your heart!
Situated right on the beach in San Pedro La Laguna, Hotel Cabaña del Arco is an affordable yet surprisingly polished budget hotel to opt for in Lake Atitlan. The location just outside the town means it’s quiet and peaceful, but with all the conveniences of town just a short tuk-tuk ride away.
Staying here means choosing one of the variety of rooms, many of which are spacious and boast captivating lake views. They feature tiled or wooden flooring, traditional furnishings and warm color palettes.
Days here begin with a complimentary breakfast served up in the large dining area overlooking the lake. Then there’s the option to explore the nearby area, either by hiking around the lake or taking a boat trip to explore further afield.
Best Hostels in Lake Atitlan
I have stayed at this hostel the first time I visited Lake Atitlan and I have great memories. Located in Santa Cruz La Laguna, it’s a welcoming place with lots of communal, cozy areas and boasting incredible views of the lake.
At La Iguana Perdida, you will find both dorms and private rooms. They are plain, but comfortable and have everything you need for your stay.
Every night a communal family-style dinner is served – usually vegetarian, with vegan options available too. There is a bar and a large game rooms, and the hostel organizes all sorts of activities for guests.
For an energetic place to stay where independent travelers can mix with likeminded people, Dreamboat Hostel provides the ideal place to stay. This adults-only accommodation boasts a vibrant atmosphere, with a sociable bar and terrace that’s perfect for getting to know fellow guests (it’s a great place for solo travelers and groups of friends).
This affordable hostel is clean and features stylish interiors, with options to stay either in a dorm room or opt for a private bedroom. As well as a host of amenities, including a fun swimming pool and outdoor space, there are also various social events organized by staff throughout the week.
The location, right in the middle of the action on Santander Street in Panajachel, is great for party-loving travelers.
A little bit more down to earth, Mandala’s Hostal is a budget-friendly place to stay on Lake Atitlan. It’s not the sort of hostel where people are going to be partying all night – rather, this is a quiet and comfortable place where you can chill out and make friends on a backdrop of beautiful lake views.
Situated inside a large building, there’s plenty of charm to discover throughout the hotel – even the dorm rooms come with amazing natural views of the surrounding mountains. To help keep to your daily budget, the hostel provides a communal kitchen for guests to use, as well as a dining area.
In terms of location, you’ll find this Lake Atitlan hostel in San Pedro La Laguna; even so, it’s a pretty peaceful spot to base yourself on your trip to the lake.
Zoola San Pedro Atitlan may be a budget choice, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a stylish place to stay at Lake Atitlan. Surrounded by nature, the hostel boasts gardens with palm trees and hammocks, as well as winding pathways to get between guest rooms, common areas and the restaurant.
Not only that, but there’s also a cute lakeside bar, and even a pool, to further enhance the beauty of the surroundings here. If you’re not keen on staying in a dormitory, don’t worry; there’s also the option to stay in a range of private rooms to suit your style (and budget).
Make sure to read my other posts:
- Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting Guatemala
- The Best Things To Do In Guatemala
- The Best Things To See And Do In Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
- The Best Guide To Chichicastenango
- Everything You Must Know About Chicken Buses
- The Most Beautiful Mayan Ruins In Guatemala