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San Juan (Guatemala)

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San Juan la Laguna is a town on Lake Atitlán. It doesn't have nearly as many tourists as other towns around the lake, and so it is a much quieter, more relaxed place to stay.

Get in[edit]

Lanchas from Panajachel heading to San Pedro la Laguna will take you to the dock in San Juan if you ask. A tuk-tuk from San Pedro should cost no more than Q10, and just walking it is fairly quick (~2km). Alternatively, the pickups and buses servicing the towns around the lake can get you to San Juan as well.

Get around[edit]

The town is small enough to easily walk to any part of it within 10 minutes. Tuk Tuks around the village are 5Q per tuk tuk.

See[edit][add listing]

Do[edit][add listing]

"La Nariz del Indio (Rostro Maya)," a mountain named after its resemblance to a Mayan's profile with a prominent nose, lies just NNW of town. It is now a national park with well maintained trails, informational displays, roofed miradores (lookouts) and a Q50 entrance fee. The entrance lies along the main road heading out of town towards San Pablo (clockwise around the lake). The entire hike in and out can be done in 3-4 hours easily. Alternatively, one can hike up or down via Santa Clara la Laguna which is a lot shorter hike. To or from Santa Clara you can either take direct camionetas (chicken buses) (Q5) or a a pickup between Santa Clara and San Pablo and a tuk tuk between San Pablo and San Juan.(Q5 each leg, for Q10 total). You can also just walk up to the "Cruz", the first hill on the way to the Nariz. From the "Cruz" you have a great view of San Juan, San Pedro and the lake. From the Nariz you´ll see as well other parts of the lake and Santa Clara. It´s also very popular to hike the Nariz at night to see the sunrise from the top. You should only hike the Nariz with a local guide as it´s possible to get lost and being overcharged by the "owners" of the top part of the Nariz.

Buy[edit][add listing]

A few stores sell textiles woven by local women's cooperatives, some using natural dyes such as carrot, achote (a red seed used for cooking), etc. The profits support the local women and their families.

There are also several art galleries.

Eat[edit][add listing]

A few comedores with cheap food are scattered around the center of town. There is a restaurant with nice lake views down towards the dock (take the first right as you walk up from the dock and it will be on your right). Hotel Maya has a fancier (and slightly more expensive) menu in its "eco"-themed restaurant.

  • MayAchik, Coloñia La Esperanza, 42184675, [1]. 8 am - 8 pm. is a new ecological, vegetarian restaurant, hostel and community center that offers a variety of international dishes. It´s located a bit outside of the city center in a quiet natural setting. 25-40 GTQ.  edit
  • Cafe Mana. is a nice cafe situated above a bakery. It´s right in the city center.  edit


Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Hospedaje Estrella Del Lago is fairly inexpensive with a nice location overlooking the lake. It is right off of the road leading to the dock.
  • Pa Muelle ("At the Dock") sits right above Hospedaje Estrella Del Lago and has clean, comfortable rooms with fantastic sunrise views of the lake. It's set on a well-manicured lawn with a garden and is run by a friendly and helpful local couple.
  • Ecohotel Uxlabil [2] is much more expensive, around US$50 for a double, but it has large, well-maintained grounds with a volleyball court, hot tub, sauna, its own dock, etc. The staff is very friendly and helpful.
  • Hotel Chi-Ya, 43579059, [3]. Lakeside and 1km east of San Juan. Hotel Chi-Ya consists of five cozy wood cabins on the shore of Lake Atitlan. Four rooms with exquisite views of the lake. One suite (60m²) with panoramic view. Three units have cooking facilities. Friendly staff.  edit
  • Hostel MayAchik, 42184675, [4]. Ecological hostel in a beautiful garden setting, 2 spacious private bungalows, a dormitory and space to pitch your tent. MayAchik also offers a great international vegetarian restaurant and many workshops for kids and adults in its community center. It´s also a great place for volunteers.  edit


Contact[edit]

Get out[edit]

Lanchas arrive infrequently at the town's dock, so it is advisable to take a tuk-tuk to the Panajachel dock in San Pedro to catch a more frequent departure there back to Panajachel.




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