Things to Do in Panajachel
With its glistening blue waters framed by a trio of volcanic peaks and a fringe of lush greenery, Lake Atitlán (Lago de Atitlán) is surely one of Guatemala’s most stunning natural wonders. The deepest lake in Central America lies in an ancient caldera amid the mountainous landscapes of the Guatemalan Highlands.
With quaint valleys, red-roofed houses, and cobblestone lanes in the highlands of Guatemala, Chichicastenango is perhaps best known for its enormous Thursday and Sunday market. You’ll find handmade pottery, medicinal plants, machetes, traditional clothing, and other items that pay homage to the area’s rich culture.
Located on the outskirts of Panajachel, the Atitlan Nature Reserve (Reserva Natural Atitlán) occupies a former coffee plantation that has slowly been reclaimed by Mother Nature. Nature trails take visitors into the canopy and wind past a waterfall and viewing platform, where it’s possible to spot tropical birds, spider monkeys playing in the trees or pisotes sniffing around for a bite to eat. The reserve also operates a butterfly garden, aviary, an herb garden and a small private beach.
Perhaps the most popular activity within the reserve are the zip-line canopy tours, where visitors fly through the trees along eight different cables. There are two zip-line options, depending on how brave you’re feeling.
For those who want to linger beyond a day trip, the reserve offers campsites and six guest rooms with private balconies.