Discover the Mayan villages of Santa Catarina and San Antonio on a flexible half-day tour from Panajachel, and take part in unique rituals, including a sweat lodge or cleansing ceremony. Go to local craft cooperatives and galleries, and more.
What to Expect
Immerse yourself in the culture of the indigenous Mayan communities of Guatemala on this flexible half-day tour from Panajachel. A local Mayan guide will lead you on an exploration of the villages of Santa Catarina and San Antonio above Lake Atitlan. For a more physically demanding tour, you can opt to hike above the lake. Alternatively, choose to travel by vehicle for a less physically challenging excursion.
The hike starts 2,000 feet above the lake, with commanding views of the 3 volcanoes, the volcanic caldera, and the surrounding Mayan villages. Along the way, stop to chat with the farmers and learn about their farming techniques. Walking well-maintained, downhill paths, the hike will take about 2 hours, ending with a descent into Santa Catarina.
For those who choose to travel by vehicle, the local shared taxis are a great experience, riding with the Mayans from the villages you will explore.
Santa Catarina is a small village and easy to explore on foot. Hike past terraced fields of onion and garlic, cultivated just as they have been for hundreds of years. Go to the women’s weaving cooperatives and admire the beautiful textiles being made into table cloths, bed covers, and clothes. The colors used are of vibrant blues, purples, and reds, and are woven into elaborate designs.
You will also go to the larger village of San Antonio, perched on the side of a steep hill. San Antonio is home to a particular type of ceramic design and you can tour the factory and store if you wish.
Visit the ceramic shops, art galleries, and colonial churches of each village, and meet a Confradia family, who live on a system that dates back to the Spanish conquest. The Confradia people maintain the traditions of the Catholic saints, maintaining shrines to the patron saint of each village.
For those interested in delving deeper into Mayan culture, the local guide can introduce you to a curasera, a traditional Mayan healer who can conduct a Mayan healing/protection ceremony, complete with the traditional temazcal sauna (sweat lodge).
- Local Mayan guide (English and Spanish-speaking)
- Round-trip transportation from Panajachel
- Entrance fees to each attraction
What's Not Included
- Mayan fire cleansing/protection ceremony and temazcal sauna (sweat lodge)
- Meals and drinks
- Tips and gratuities
- Gift purchases
Know Before You Go
• There are no entrance fees at the cooperatives. Your gift purchases or donations are how these centers function