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Jaibalito is a village on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala.


Jaibalito is the smallest and most remote of the various settlements on the shores of Lake Atitlan. The only access to the village is by boat or by footpaths.

Get in[edit]

There is no road access to Jaibalito.

The public dock at Jaibalito is served by the regular ferry boats (lanchas) that do the Panajachel-San Pedro route. As of Aug 2017, tourists should expect to pay 15Q/20Q between Jaibalito and Panajachel.

The only other method of access if via footpath from adjacent villages Santa Cruz la Laguna and Tzununa.

If you are staying at a hotel/hostel in Jaibalito, check to see if it has its own dock, so that your lancha can drop you there instead of the public dock. If you do use the public dock and need help carrying any luggage to your hostel/hotel, there are a couple of tuk-tuks that are able to navigate the small narrow road system in the village. There are usually a few kids that will very happily carry your bags from the dock to wherever you are staying. These kids thoroughly deserve some small payment, which they will tell you up front. Even if you can manage your own bags, give a thought to these little entrepreneurs. This is a very poor village and encouraging payment for work is far better than begging.

Get around[edit]

The village has two tuk-tuks, but these really are only used for the occasional lancha passenger who needs help with their baggage. Walking is the way to get around, and being that the village is tiny, nothing is more than 1-5 minutes distance. Watch out for the dog poop.

See[edit][add listing]

Jaibalito is the smallest and most remote of the Lake's settlements, and as such, is the least developed. This, in itself, is what makes the place so beautiful. There's a small gringo population that have settled, who appear to have chosen Jaibalito for its unspoiled tranquility. If you are looking for a party, Jaibalito is definitely the wrong dock to get off.

Do[edit][add listing]

Jaibalito is one of the better swimming locations on the Lake, with great opportunities to cliff jump/dive, kayak, and swim. There are very beautiful and safe walks to the villages either side (Santa Cruz la Laguna and Tzununa). There are also some tracks that go up the mountain. For this, it's recommended that you get one of the local young men to guide you. This is less about safety and mostly about not getting lost. This can be arranged at the Posada in the center of the village.

Jaibalito Fisherman

Buy[edit][add listing]

There really isn't anything to buy in the traditional tourist sense. There are no market stalls or shops. There are a small numbers of tiendas that sell snacks and drinks, as well as basic items, all aimed at the indigenous market. The only exception to this is Jaibalito Market, which is operated and managed by the nearby Posada Jaibalito. This is a grocery store that is mostly frequented by the small gringo population that lives in the village.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, are served all day at the Posada Jaibalito in the center of the village. The owner is Hans, an unmistakable looking German man with a long beard. He also sells incredibly good coffee (by the cup and by the kilo) that he roasts on the premises.

Drink[edit][add listing]

La Casa del Mundo, Club Ven Aca, and the Posada Jaibalito each provide the sale of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as guest seating and wifi for customers.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are currently two hotels/hostels in Jaibalito. La Casa del Mundo offers private rooms. The hotel has its own dock, so be sure to tell your lancha captain as its not a regular stop. Alternatively, you can get a private room or a shared dorm at the Posada Jaibalito. Reservations are not really feasible as communication with the Posada is difficult and guests typically just show up. The owner, Hans, will almost always get you in somehow, or at least, find something close by.

In addition to the above, several Airbnb opportunities exist in the village, which consist of rooms and whole houses owned by the ex-pat community.

Stay safe[edit]

The village is extremely safe, and by Lake Atitlan standards, the trails either side, to Tzununa and Santa Cruz la Laguna, are very safe.

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