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Santiago Atitlan
Travel Guide

Santiago Atitlan showing a coastal town and a bay or harbor

Climb up volcanoes and learn about indigenous art and culture at this picturesque Mayan town on the shores of Lake Atitlán.

Santiago Atitlán lies in a bay at the foot of two volcanoes, surrounded by forest-covered mountains. This is the largest community on the banks of Lake Atitlán and is where many locals wear historical costume. Visit for the natural beauty and traditional architecture and discover more about the indigenous way of life.

At almost every turn Santiago Atitlán, you will see a volcano. Directly above the town are the volcanoes Volcán San Pedro and Volcán Toliman. Embark on strenuous hikes to the craters for the best views of the area.

Learn about the region’s past at the 16th-century Parish Church of St. James the Apostle. Look at the marble plaques that detail the history of the town. Study the carvings on the pulpit that mix Mayan and Catholic figures and symbols. If you are in luck, you might see one of the town’s religious icons, a small statue of St. Maximón. The effigy of this Mayan folk saint is passed between residents, moving to a different house each year following the Easter celebrations. Ask around and you might discover where he is being kept.

As you walk through the streets, note the similarity of the clothes that many of the locals are wearing. Men usually sport white shorts with purple stripes, while the women are dressed in purple skirts and blouses embroidered with colorful images of native birds and flowers. Get insight into the significance of these outfits at the Cojola Association of Maya Women Weavers. Visit this small museum to hear about the origin and development of the costumes. Watch one of the daily demonstrations of backstrap loom weaving, an ancient art that has been practiced for centuries.

Dine in a traditional restaurant and try some of the local specialties such as a type of stew called pulique and patín, a dish made with small fish from the lake. There are also several restaurants serving international food.

Access to Santiago Atitlán is relatively straightforward, unlike some of the smaller lakeside communities. A regular bus service runs daily from Guatemala City, about 77 miles (124 kilometers) away. Alternatively, rent a car to reach the picturesque town and its cultural delights.

Hotel Vista Dorada Hacia Dios
Hotel Vista Dorada Hacia Dios
2.5 out of 5
Cantón Tzamchicham, Santiago Atitlan, Solola
The price is NT$1,200 per night from Apr 22 to Apr 23
Situated in Santiago Atitlan, this hotel is 0.9 mi (1.4 km) from St. James the Apostle Church.
4/5Very Good! (3 reviews)
A rare jewel
"The hotel is pri.arily a Christian retreat facility so it is not Americanish, it is very plain in the rooms. But the grounds are extraordinarily creative and beautiful. And the staff were very kind and helpful. The sign is small. It is behind a long white steel security fence. You will be very ..."

Reviewed on 2019/4/11

Hotel Vista Dorada Hacia Dios
Hotel Los Olivos
Hotel Los Olivos
2.5 out of 5
Calle Pachavac, Shaley Ywanjay, Santiago Atitlan, Solola
The price is NT$1,408 per night from Apr 27 to Apr 28
Situated in Santiago Atitlan, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Multiple Use Area Lake Atitlan Basin, St. James the Apostle Church, and Cojolya Museum. Central ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (2 reviews)
Relaxing place on the lake
"Newer hotel. Beautiful views clean large room Resturant staff very accommodating and good food. Need to take tuk tuk to go places. Most arrivals by taxi boat"

Reviewed on 2021/3/6

Hotel Los Olivos
Pescador Hotel PH
Pescador Hotel PH
2.5 out of 5
Pachavac, Santiago Atitlan, Solola
The price is NT$1,685 per night from Apr 21 to Apr 22
Situated in the historical district, this historic hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of St. James the Apostle Church, Cojolya Museum, and Central Park. Toliman Volcano ...
4.3/5Excellent! (8 reviews)
"The Pescador Hotel was under construction during our stay, and due to extremely thin walls this was very disruptive as it often started early in the morning. There was only 1 staff member present for the duration of our stay. It was clear he worked incredibly hard to make our stay pleasant, and at ..."

Reviewed on 2019/6/27

Pescador Hotel PH
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Panoramic Villa Lago Atitlan
Panoramic Villa Lago Atitlan
3.5 out of 5
Atitlan de zona 0,numero 4, Santiago Atitlan, Sololá Department
The price is NT$9,856 per night from Apr 27 to Apr 28
Situated in Santiago Atitlan, this vacation home is within a 10-minute walk of Multiple Use Area Lake Atitlan Basin, Central Park, and St. James the Apostle ...
Panoramic Villa Lago Atitlan
Casa Amate
Casa Amate
3 out of 5
Casa Amate, Panajachel Solola, Santa Cruz La Laguna, Sololá Department
The price is NT$2,943 per night from May 6 to May 7
This Santa Cruz La Laguna vacation home is on the beach, 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Multiple Use Area Lake Atitlan Basin, and within 12 mi (20 km) of San Jorge Lookout ...
Casa Amate
El Remanso de Tecpan
El Remanso de Tecpan
3 out of 5
Km 93.5 Carretera Interamericana, Interior Finca Chichavac, Tecpan Guatemala, Chimaltenango
Situated in Tecpan Guatemala, this cabin is 6.8 mi (11 km) from Iximche Mayan Ruins and within 32 mi (52 km) of Multiple Use Area Lake Atitlan Basin and San ...
4.3/5Excellent! (4 reviews)
Dream vacation in Tecpan
"This hotel is perfect for resting, staff is really kind, the food is good quality and price....the facilities are brand new and everything works perfect"

Reviewed on 2017/12/28

El Remanso de Tecpan
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Jun 27, 2019

Santiago Atitlan has much to offer, from pleasant scenery, outdoor activities like hiking, biking, boating, etc, shopping, and wonderful dining experiences. There are many shops with beautiful souvenirs and handwoven articles along the primera calle.