Things to do in
Santa Cruz La Laguna

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended things to do in Santa Cruz La Laguna

Lake Atitlan Maya Kitchen: 3-Hour Cooking Class

1. Lake Atitlan Maya Kitchen: 3-Hour Cooking Class

Experience Guatemala in an authentic and personal way as you discover the flavors of Guatemala cooking at the Lake Atitlan Maya Kitchen. A 3-hour cooking class will help you understand how Mayan culture and Spanish colonial influences produced a variety of mouth-watering dishes. You’ll have lots of hands-on fun learning how to prepare up to 3 authentic Guatemalan dishes during this class. Learn how to prepare traditional recipes and come away with all the skills you need to prepare them in your own kitchen. If you like you can visit the market with your instructor to purchase the ingredients, or leave the chef do the shopping without you. After your lesson you’ll have a sufficient amount of the prepared food to feed your family or other group members. You’ll take home a printed copy of the recipes as well. The instructor will demonstrate the preparation of each recipe with explanations so you’ll have a complete understanding of the ingredients and the process. Private classes can be arranged for individuals, in addition to the shared classes for small groups. The Mayan cooks in the program are native to Lake Atitlan, and they carry on the rich traditions and culture that are expressed in the food. If you choose to include a market visit with your cooking program, you should plan on an additional 1-2 hours. Note that the instructors speak English or Spanish, or a little of both. All proceeds support the community of Santa Cruz La Laguna through the local nonprofit Amigos de Santa Cruz which runs education and economic empowerment programs (check out amigosdesantacruz.org or Amigos de Santa Cruz Foundation on Facebook for more information) Classes are taught by Claudia, a local graduate of Amigos' culinary program, and run for 3 hours with a plated 3-course lunch included on the patio overlooking Lake Atitlan. 

Santa Cruz: Hidden Waterfalls & Secret Paradise Hike

2. Santa Cruz: Hidden Waterfalls & Secret Paradise Hike

The day begins in Santa Cruz la Laguna, the rugged north shore of Lake Atitlan. The north shore of Lake Atitlan has no true road access, so you will be hiking along ancient paths that have been used by the Kachekel Maya for centuries. You will view villagers going about their daily life, encounter farmers tending their maiz and coffee fields, and see some of the most magnificent scenery in the world. This rugged and remote section of Lake Atitlan has barely been touched by the outside world.  Our hike takes us several hundred feet above the ever changing waters of Atitlan for breath taking views of the famous volcanoes. Then descend into the Pumpatin Canyon for a nature walk along the banks of the river. You will experience two different ecosystems as we walk from the upper lake shore into the narrow canyon. The further into the Pumpatin Canyon we hike, the more waterfalls we see. We have the potential to find up to 5 waterfalls. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the river, and take a swim if you desire.

Los Elementos Adventure Center: Kayak, Swim, and Relax

3. Los Elementos Adventure Center: Kayak, Swim, and Relax

The day begins in Panajachel or Santa Cruz La Laguna, where your guide will meet you at your hotel and bring you to the boat docks along Lake Atitlan. From there, take a boat transfer to the Adventure Center in Santa Cruz, where you'll spend the day with a bilingual guide and plenty enjoy activities, all in line with USA safety standards. Kayak for an hour or so, take a swim in the crystal blue waters, or go for a cliff jump if you dare!   For lunch, enjoy a home-cooked meal by the center's very own chef; you're free to pre-order your meal selections based on your own tastes and preferences. After lunch, hike through the hidden Pumpatin Canyon through the lush local forest to a rock wall, where you'll have to chance to enjoy an invigorating and safe rock climb, with secure top-rope systems (harnesses, ropes, etc.). Climb up to 45 feet (14 meters), before rappelling down.   When you're ready, return to the Adventure Center for more free time to go for a swim, kayak, or just to hang out and relax. You can even try your hand at archery, try out a trampoline, or lie in a hammock and enjoy the splendid views. You can also schedule a professional massage or facial (for an additional charge).   You'll return to your hotel at around 16:00. Just pick your favorite activities and enjoy!

Santa Cruz La Laguna 6-Hour Adventure Activities Tour

4. Santa Cruz La Laguna 6-Hour Adventure Activities Tour

This half-day adventure tour from Santa Cruz La Laguna includes a kayak along the rugged and remote north shore of Lake Atitlan, followed by a hike back through the Mayan villages of San Marcos, Tzununa, and El Jaibalito. At the meeting point, a qualified kayak instructor will supply dry sacks for your backpacks and gear for the 2nd part of the tour. All the guides are experienced kayak teachers, and can show you basic paddling techniques. You will paddle for about 2 hours along the shores of Santa Cruz La Laguna, heading past the Mayan settlements of El Jaibalito and Tzununa en route to San Marcos. Encounter Mayan men fishing from hand-hewn boats known as “cayukas,” just as they have done for centuries. Gaze at the rugged rocks that provide home to exotic plant and bird life. You will even have the opportunity to jump into the crystal clear waters from the cliff tops. Pull into the Bay of San Marcos to gear up for the 2nd part of your adventure. The north shore of Lake Atitlan has no road access, so you will be hiking paths that have been used by the Mayans for centuries. See villagers tending their maize and coffee crops en route. This section of Lake Atitlan has barely been touched by the outside world, and from your privileged position several hundred feet above the ever changing waters of Atitlan, enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding volcanoes.

Santa Cruz La Laguna: 6-Hour Solola Hike & Market Visit

5. Santa Cruz La Laguna: 6-Hour Solola Hike & Market Visit

Your day begins with a visit to the village of Santa Cruz La Laguna before heading high into the mountains. Hike along ancient paths that have been used by the Kachekel Maya for centuries. On this 6-hour adventure you’ll see farmers tending their maize and coffee crops, and see some of the most magnificent scenery in the world. Visit a sacred Mayan site where rituals are performed by local shamans, and make your own offering at the altar. The hike will take you up 2,500 feet above Lake Atitlan, affording breathtaking views of the lake. This rugged and remote area has had little contact with the outside world. The 4-hour walk/climb through magnificent scenery is a bit difficult, but not overly challenging if you’re in good health. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way, or eat at a local comedor. (Lunch is not included in the tour price.) You’ll come to a remote Mayan village high in the mountains, and from this point take a colectivo, a shared van/pick-up for the last few miles into Solola. Take time to explore the second-largest market in Guatemala before heading back to Panajachel by local bus or truck.

Santa Cruz Guatemala: Los Elementos Community Tour

6. Santa Cruz Guatemala: Los Elementos Community Tour

Learn about the projects to improve the education and provide a higher standard of living for the indigenous Mayans of Santa Cruz. Amigos de Santa Cruz have been active in the remote village for over 15 years, making great progress in improving the education of the children, providing opportunites for higher education, and teaching better nutrition, self-awareness, and citizen responsibility. See how programs, such as early childhood education, community development, sex education, and sustainable food production are helping to improve the lives of the locals, and how the farmers are yielding better crops through permaculture and organic gardening. Visit the retail craft store to find unique handicrafts made by the students, including aprons, bags, beaded jewelry, wood and metal items, children's puzzles, puppets, and candlestick holders. Go to the town square with its centuries old church, and visit a family home to watch women practice the art of the backstrap loom. During your tour, a delicious lunch will be served by the students in the student run café inside the vocational training center. Help plant a seed of hope for a better future with your visit, and learn more about this ancient culture along the way.

Frequently asked questions about Santa Cruz La Laguna

Which tours in Santa Cruz La Laguna are taking additional COVID-19 precautions?

Other Sightseeing Options in Santa Cruz La Laguna

Want to discover all there is to do in Santa Cruz La Laguna? Click here for a full list.