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Things to do in Sololá Department

Our most recommended things to do in Sololá Department

Lake Atitlan Boat Day Tour with Expert Guide

1. Lake Atitlan Boat Day Tour with Expert Guide

Cruise across Lake Atitlan and visit the villages of San Juan La Laguna on this full-day shared sightseeing tour. Ringed by 3 volcanoes on its southern flank, Lake Atitlan is the deepest lake in Central America. Departing from Panajachel, at the gateway to the lake, your private guide will take you on a scenic shared boat trip before exploring some local textile communities and the Mayan villages of San Juan La Laguna. Get amazing views of the Atitlan, Toliman and San Pedro volcanoes, as you experience for yourself why the area became such a Mecca for beatniks and bohemian writers such as Aldous Huxley. Capture the scent of coffee plantations, and then try some freshly ground coffee. Here, you can immerse yourself in the laid-back vibe of the Tz'utujil Mayans and turn the noisy dial of modern life down to zero.

Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan Tour From Antigua

2. Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan Tour From Antigua

Your 10-hour excursion begins with a drive into the western highlands of Guatemala. The region is home to quaint and colorful mountain villages, highland lakes, pine forests and the majority of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples. When you arrive at the Chichicastenango market you’ll begin your walking tour. The market is at the center of the town and is the heart of commercial life for maxeños, the natives of Chichicastenango. Every Thursday and Sunday merchants head to the central plaza to sell their products in this impressive indigenous market that has changed very little over the centuries. Explore the pathways of the market and admire the colorful handicrafts and produce offered by the local people of the region. In Chichicastenango, you’ll also visit Santo Tomás Church, built in 1540 over the base of a pre-Hispanic temple. This church is a splendid example of colonial architecture, and the Mayan and Latino influence is evident in both the interior and exterior of the building. After exploring the market you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch (not included in the tour price). Next you’ll continue to the town of Panajachel, located at the edge of Lake Atitlan. Take a walk along Santander Street and enjoy the spectacular views of Lake Atitlan, considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The volcanoes Tolimán, Atitlán and San Pedro form a natural frame for the lake. Lake Atitlan has a surface of 125 square kilometers and sits 1,560 meters above sea level.

Lake Atitlan Tour Full Day From Antigua

3. Lake Atitlan Tour Full Day From Antigua

Take the road to The Western Highlands region, home to quaint and colorful mountain villages, highland lakes, pine forests, and the majority of Guatemala’s indigenous people. This is the region most travelers familiar with Guatemala think about when daydreaming of a trip to this beautiful country. Upon arrival at Panajachel, take a public boat to cross Lake Atitlan and visit San Juan La Laguna. Enjoy the vibrant colors and local flavor of this village. Santiago is the most popular lakeside settlement outside Panajachel, and many atitecos (as its people are known) cling to a traditional Tz’utujil Mayan lifestyle. Women weave and wear huipiles (tunics) embroidered with brilliantly colored birds and flowers, and the cofradías town’s maintain the ceremonies and rituals of tradition, the syncretic traditions, and practices of Mayan Catholicism. There’s a large art and crafts scene here as well. Back to Panajachel. In Panajachel, you will take a delicious lunch (NOT INCLUDED) Explore the village of Panajachel is a pre-Columbian town of Kakchiquel origin, settled next to the river with the same name and on the lakeside of Atitlán. The town witnessed the final battle between Spaniards and their Kakchiquel allies against the Tzujiles and it also was a settlement point for the Franciscan missionaries who founded a convent nearby. In the afternoon, you’ll be returned to Antigua Guatemala.

From Guatemala City: Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan

4. From Guatemala City: Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan

Explore the Western Highlands, the region of Guatemala that most travelers familiar with Guatemala think about when daydreaming about a trip to this country. The region is home to quaint and colorful mountain villages, highland lakes, pine forests, and the majority of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples. Arrive at Chichicastenango Market and begin your walking tour inside the market. It is the center of the town and heart of commercial life for the maxeños. The merchants go down to the central plaza every Thursday and Sunday to sell their products in this impressive indigenous market that has changed very little throughout the centuries. Explore the pathways of the market and view the colorful handicrafts and produce offered by the local people of the region. In Chichicastenango, we will also visit Santo Tomás Church, built in 1540 over the base of an archaeological pre-Hispanic temple. This church is a splendid example of colonial architecture, as the Mayan and Latino influence is mixed throughout both the interior and exterior of the building. You will have some free time for lunch (not included). Then, continue to the town of Panajachel, which sits on Lake Atitlan, where you will have time to explore. Visit Santander Street and enjoy a spectacular view of Lake Atitlan, considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Three spectacular volcanoes, Tolimán, Atitlán and San Pedro form the natural frame of the lake itself. It has a surface of 125 square kilometers and sits 1,560 meters above sea level.

Sunrise and Hiking to the Indian Nose Mountain

5. Sunrise and Hiking to the Indian Nose Mountain

Climb to the summit above where the mountains meet water. The Indian Nose is the mountain on the northwest shore of Lake Atitlan. Also called Rupalaj K’istalin, this  2550 meters tall mountain presents one of the most rewarding climbs of Lake Atitlan. In addition to viewing the sunrise over a chain of volcanoes and then onto the pristine waters, this climb provides great views over the San Juan and San Pedro la Laguana villages. The climb takes about 30 minutes beginning in either of these villages.  Your guide will meet you at your San Pedro la Laguana accommodation, where you will then catch a shuttle bus to the beginning of the hiking trail. It is much more enjoyable and easier to begin the hike in the village of Santa Clara la Laguna, meaning that the pick-up time from your hotel is 3:45 AM, to be able to make the sunrise. 

Private Shuttle From San Pedro La Laguna to Guatemala City

6. Private Shuttle From San Pedro La Laguna to Guatemala City

Book a private shuttle in one direction between San Pedro la Laguna and your accommodation or airpot in Guatemala City. Your driver will be waiting for you with a private transport service, and transport you door to door. This easy and efficient transfer picks you up at your location and takes you directly to your place of accommodation or airport.  The trip takes around four to five hours, depending on the traffic.   Avoid traveling in shared shuttles, make your trip a good experience and be comfortable.   This transfer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Solola Market and Mountain Villages Tour

7. Solola Market and Mountain Villages Tour

See the local handicrafts from this region, and shop if you wish.  However this tour is less about shopping and more about sharing the Mayan culture.  You will find the people warm and welcoming, and more of the Kachekel Maya dress in traditional traje (clothes).  Even the men still dress in traditional clothes. You will visit many interesting sights unique to this location including the local government office, and the indigenous mayor's office.  Learn how and why the two mayor's exist side by side.  Your guide can explain about the Mayan calendar and teach you about the unique Mayan counting system. Full day trip takes you high into the mountains above Lake Atitlan and features the Solola market, small farms, and Mayan villages. Drive through maize and terraced vegetable fields, coffee fields, old growth forest, and into the cloud forest.  Visit a sacred Mayan site with the chance to witness a Fire Cleansing Ceremony.  The day begins in Panajachel and the start of our adventure. You drive along ancient roadways that have been used by the Kachekel Maya for centuries.  You will view villagers going about their daily life, encounter farmers tending their maize and coffee fields, and see some of the most magnificent scenery in the world.  You can visit a sacred Mayan site where rituals are performed by the local shamans, and make your own offering at the alter. This rugged and remote area has barely been touched by the outside world.  Our drive takes us 2500 feet above the waters of Atitlan for breath taking views and pristine scenery.  We drive into the countryside to visit the small mountain village of Conception.  The road to this village has been paved for less than 10 years. The town is especially proud of its beautifully maintained church built in 1612.  Visit the confradia of Saint Frances and a lesser known Maximon.  Learn about the confradia systems and why they are important to the people of Guatemala.

Lake Atitlan Full-Day Tour from Guatemala City

8. Lake Atitlan Full-Day Tour from Guatemala City

Spend a day on Lake Atitlán, the deepest lake in Central America, on a full-day trip from Guatemala City. Enjoy a cruise along the waters, and visit nearby villages. Departing from Guatemala City in the morning, travel to Panajachel. Then take a public boat across Atitlán and visit Santiago Atitlán, where you will learn about the local saint; Maximon. Enjoy the vibrant colors and local flavor of this village as you experience the traditional Tz’utujil Mayan lifestyle. Santiago is the most popular lakeside settlement outside Panajachel, and many atitecos (as its people are known) cling to a traditional Tz’utujil Mayan lifestyle. Women weave and wear huipiles (tunics) embroidered with brilliantly-colored birds and flowers, and the cofradías towns maintain the ceremonies and rituals of tradition — the syncretic traditions and practices of Mayan Catholicism. There’s also a large arts and crafts scene here as well.  You'll then be given free time for lunch, after which you’ll be returned to Guatemala City via Antigua Guatemala.

Guatemala or Antigua Guatemala: Lake Atitlán Boat Cruise

9. Guatemala or Antigua Guatemala: Lake Atitlán Boat Cruise

Start the day with a trip from Antigua or Guatemala City to the Maya town of Panajachel. During the drive there will be a brief stop in Katok, a very famous restaurant where you can indulge in a hot drink. Once at Panajachel, it's time for a boat trip to cross Lake Atitlán and visit the Tzutuhil Village of Santiago de Atitlán. In this village you will visit the confraternity of the local saint named Maximon or Ri Laj Mam, visited by people all over the world who come to ask for health and prosperity in their lives. The lake itself owes its grandeur to its enormous size and spectacular volcanic setting. Three large volcanoes, Atitlán Tolimán and San Pedro, rise gracefully from its southern shore, creating breathtaking views around the area. You will experience these views and the traditional practices still carried out by the Maya-Tzutujil and Cakchiquel women who live around the lake. After a short transfer, we will have lunch at one of the most exquisite restaurants of Panajachel. While in town, guestes will also Santander Street and experience its vast, bustling handicraft market.

Lake Atitlan: Boat Trip and Full-Day Tour with Lunch

10. Lake Atitlan: Boat Trip and Full-Day Tour with Lunch

After pick-up by your local guide from Panajachel, make your way to volcanic Lake Atitlan and set off on a boat trip across the peaceful water. Listen as your bilingual guide shares facts about life in the Guatemalan Highlands, and visit the villages of Santiago Atitlan and San Juan La Laguna. Learn about the local Maya culture in these traditional communities, as well as the benefits the textile and coffee farming industries brings to this peaceful region of Guatemala. While in San Juan La Laguna, enjoy a typical lunch at a local restaurant. Then admire the view of the 3 majestic volcanoes nearby; Atitlan, Toliman, and San Pedro.

Top sights in Sololá Department

Frequently asked questions about Sololá Department

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What people are saying about Sololá Department

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 104 reviews

Wow what an amazing cultural day at the famous Chichicastenango market. It was unfortunate to see how the community has been negatively impacted by low tourism during the pandemic. We really enjoyed shopping, learning about the history, and marveling at the beautiful handmade items.

You got to know the history about the Mayans. Saw the market and the lake. Wish we had more time to buy stuff but it’s ok. Saving money. The best part was. There were two other local guides at the market that took you around so you wouldn’t get lost and helped translate.

Victor was great and provided a wonderful experience start to finish. He was right on time, got us to the summit before sunrise so we didn’t miss anything and was patient with us while we enjoyed the view. Highly recommend Victor for this activity!

Hello, experience was super good, the guide was excellent, very friendly and respectful treatment. The explanations of the excellent guide, the super recommended tours. Thank you

Guide, Driver, Activities were excellent. Great time, Wonderful views!!