Sololá Department
Activities

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Our most recommended Sololá Department Activities

Los Elementos Adventure Center: Kayak, Swim, and Relax

1. 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!

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Santa Cruz La Laguna 6-Hour Adventure Activities Tour

2. 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.

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From Antigua: Lake Atitlán Mountain Biking Adventure

3. From Antigua: Lake Atitlán Mountain Biking Adventure

Get your adrenaline pumping with a mountain biking adventure through the Guatemalan countryside. Meet your guide in Antigua and set out for the 2.5-hour drive to Panajachel, stopping along the way for a coffee and restroom break. Upon arrival in Panajachel, get fitted out for your mountain bike followed by a quick safety briefing before your adventure begins. Start the trail on a downhill country road and ride towards a quiet lake. Follow a route that combines backcountry dirt roads and jeep tracks as well as tight technical singletrack climbs and descents. Enjoy biking through a landscape of rolling pine forests, intermixed with local agricultural plots of corn, beans, and squash. After a couple of hours of riding, take a 2-kilometer climb to a viewpoint located high above Lake Atitlán where you will enjoy a healthy and well-deserved fresh picnic lunch as you admire spectacular views of the lake. After lunch, continue cross-country and downhill on the technical cliff-side trail that traverses some 2000 vertical feet above the lake. Complete your day with a ride on some of Guatemala’s best singletrack, from the rim of the vast caldera down to Santa Catarina Palopó, finishing with an awesome staircase into this lakeside Mayan village. Take some time to recover with a swim or a stroll through the village before heading back to Antigua.

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Lake Atitlán: Peddle and Paddle Overnight Trip

4. Lake Atitlán: Peddle and Paddle Overnight Trip

This overnight trip to Lake Atitlán gives you a great mix of activities without wearing you out on any one of them. Through the diversity of biking, kayaking and hiking, you get to experience the majestic lake in a variety of speeds, angles and perspectives. Whether you are cruising on the crest of the caldera ridge, paddling the azure-blue waters of Lake Atitlan, or hiking lakeside through the local towns – you’ll surely enjoy the fantastic views. At night you will rest easy in one of the most beautiful hotels in all of Central America. Day 1: Country Road Ride The group leaves from Antigua at 08:00, where you can fill up your water bottles and purchase any additional gear you might need. After meeting your guide and checking your gear, load up the vehicle and set out for a 2.5-hour road trip up into the highlands towards Lake Atitlan. Stop on the road for a coffee and bathroom break at a quaint rest-stop outside the mountain town of Tecpán (breakfast not included). Upon arrival to the lake highlands area, you'll receive instructions on bicycle operation, safety tips, and a brief orientation of the surrounding terrain. Everyone has a chance to ask any questions they may have, apply sunscreen, and adjust clothing layers. Start out down a steep country road traversing the high tableland above Lake Atitlan. This mostly downhill ride takes you through several small villages and towns before rounding a final ridgeline and joining the road up from the Pacific coast bound for Panajachel. At the first vista overlooking Lake Atitlán, your guide will stop and prepare a picnic lunch (included) and orientate you to the lakeside towns and geographic features of Lake Atitlan. After lunch, continue breezing down the quick and windy road to the lakeside town of Panajachel. From here, you will catch a boat taxi to Jaibalito, and the beautiful hotel Casa del Mundo. Casa del Mundo Hotel – built into the cliff-side - affords lake-front access alongside wonderful vantage points to appreciate the lake’s volcanic backdrop. You’ll check-in mid-afternoon and be free to rest and relax in a hammock, enjoy the beautiful sunset, or go for a cool dip in the lake! A delicious family-style dinner (included) is served at the hotel restaurant around 18:30. Day 2: Kayak and Lake Hike Breakfast and coffee (included) are served at 08:00, after which you will gather what you need for the paddle and lakeside hike. Paddlers don their swimsuits, apply sunscreen and meet down at the dock to load into their kayaks. Leave your hiking daypacks with your private boat taxi and board your kayaks for the north-shore paddle. Paddle westward 1½-2 hours past small towns and villages perched high on the steep sides of sheer ridges that rise right out of waters of Lake Atitlan. After passing the villages of Jaibalito and Tzununá, cruise into the bay of San Marcos la Laguna and trade your kayaks for your daypacks and hiking gear. Climbing out of town on the lake trail which connects village to village, you'll be treated to spectacular vistas of volcanoes San Pedro, Tolimán and Atitlán. After 1.5hrs of hiking, roll back into Casa Del Mundo. From there, head back to Panajachel in a boat taxi, hop back on your private transport, and arrive back to Antigua just before sunset.

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7 Day Package - Explore Lake Atitlan & Antigua

5. 7 Day Package - Explore Lake Atitlan & Antigua

Day 1 > Arrival in Guatemala & world-Famous Antigua. An exquisite Spanish Colonial town with elegant 16th & 17th Century architecture, cobblestone streets, a tranquil central square, stylish hotels, luxurious shops and superb international cuisine. The town enjoys a unique and impressive setting nestled beneath three towering volcanoes and surrounded by lush evergreen forests. Day 2 > Antigua. Walking Tour of Antigua. The tour will focus on Antigua’s architecture, history, restoration and cultural trends. Your tour can include a visit to the Jade Museum and also the museums at Paseo de los Museos at Casa Santo Domingo, the Chocolate Museum, the central plaza, Arch of Santa Catarina, and more. Day 3 > Amazing Chichicastenango. You will have time to enjoy the spectacular outdoor market of Chichicastenango –one of the world’s most famous outdoor markets! People watch in thisvery Mayanvillage, and also‘shop until you drop’or until 1pm when the market closes.  Walk through the cemetery and sacred Shaman Hill, Pascal Abaj where you are likely to see Mayan fire cleansing ceremonies. Located at 2500 meters above sea level, this town is famous amongst tourists for its market on Thursdays and Sundays, where spats of traditionally dressed villagers in a kaleidoscope of colors, come to sell their very colorful textiles, fruits, vegetables and flowers. Although seemingly very commercial, there is much mysticism in the air. You will be amazed by the religious blend that exists, where colonial Spanish Catholicism, modern evangelism and ancient Mayan tradition, blend in a uniquely harmonious fashion. There is something deeply moving about watching a Mayan Indian or shaman, engulfed by incense and surrounded by flowers, praying to a catholic God and at the same time practicing ancient Mayan rituals, all in an old Spanish colonial Cathedral. Day 4 > Lake Atitlan– 3 village boat tour of San Marcos, San Juan, and Santiago. This spectacular full day trip will take you from one end of the lake to the other. You will visit the villages of San Marcos, San Juan and Santiago, with time to explore each village. Your first stop is San Marcos, where you stop for a swim and optional cliff jumping. Then you will depart the north shore for San Juan, the “Swiss village” of Lake Atitlan. You will enjoy a guided walking tour and visit art galleries, woman's weaving cooperatives, a medicinal and curative plant garden, see a children's dance performance, and learn about the Mayan calendar. Your third stop is Santiago. The bay of Santiago is a photographer’s dream. We take a tour along the shore of the bay before we start our walking tour. Your first stop is a visitor center that offers insight into the life of the Tzutujile Maya. There are interpretive displays on the history of the traje (traditional clothing), spiritual beliefs and Maximon. Easy walking is involved. Day 5 > Lake Atitlan– Hike (or Drive) the Upper Mayan Trail, Solola and mountain villages. This day affords you some truly amazing lake views! At the hikes’s conclusion you will spend some time at the colorful market of Solola. Your hike takes you along ancient paths that have been used by the Kaqchikel 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 area has barely been touched by the outside world. The hike takes you 2,500 feet above the waters of Atitlán for breath taking views and pristine scenery. Day 6 > Lake Atitlan– Kayak and Hike Mulit-Sport. This full day includes a kayak tour along the rugged north shore, and a hike back thru San Marcos, Tzununa,  El Jaibalito and Santa Cruz la Laguna. We paddle for 1 ½ hours along the shores of Santa Cruz la Laguna, El Jaibalito, and Tzununa, ending in San Marcos.  You will have many up close encounters with Mayan men who fish from hand hewn cayukas as they have for centuries.  You will feel privileged to share the lake with these proud fishermen who make Lake Atitlan so unique. You paddle along rugged cliff faces filled with exotic plant and bird life.  You have the opportunity to cliff- jump into the crystal clear waters, or just enjoy a swim and sun. We pull into the Bay of San Marcos and gear up for the next part of our adventure. 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 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 over one thousand feet above the ever changing waters of Atitlan for breath taking views of the famous volcanos.   Day 7  > Departure Day - This days activities will depend on your departure time. We will insure you have the most time to enjoy the day, plus get you to the airport in time for your departure.  We may travel to Antigua for a second night, or to Guatemala City to visit musuems and other sights.  It is all up to you. Come enjoy the most popular sights of Guatemala in 7 days.

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Massage Therapy - Santa Cruz la Laguna

6. Massage Therapy - Santa Cruz la Laguna

Visit our spa locations in Santa Cruz la Laguna for a relaxing break from your travels. We think Santa Cruz is the most beautiful location on Lake Atitlan.  We have a therapy room at La Iguana Perdida Hotel in central Santa Cruz.  And our second location is at our private retreat on the west side of the Santa Cruz bay. Massage Therapy A visit to our spa for a massage treatment is a wonderful way to experience the healing power of touch and perhaps the easiest way to maintain good health. Additional benefits of massage include: enhanced circulation, detoxification, stress reduction, aids in rehabilitation of sore muscles and promotes a sense of well-being. Swedish Massage This traditional form of massage created to relax the body and soothe the mind in our modern world. A combination of long-flowing strokes and gentle pressure will transform your state of mind.

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Explore San Juan - Full-Day of Cultural Sharing

7. Explore San Juan - Full-Day of Cultural Sharing

You have a full day to explore San Juan, the “Swiss village” of Lake Atitlan. You will spend approximately 5 hours on a guided walking tour where you learn about the unique changes that have transformed this Tzutujile Mayan village into a model community. Visit art galleries, woman's weaving cooperatives, a medicinal and curative plant garden operated by the comedrones (mid-wifes), a coffee tour, the school and library, confradia shrines, and even the mayor’s office. You will meet several families, visit with them about how their lives have changed through experiential tourism. See a traditional children’s dance performance, and learn about the story behind the dance. Enjoy lunch with local recipes from this area, or if you prefer enjoy a cheese sampler platter with over 20 cheeses, all from Guatemala. (Lunch not included in tour price). Several famous painters are from San Juan and we visit their galleries to see them at work. The village has over 40 public murals depicting important elements of the Mayan culture, the Mayan calendar and counting system. Your guide will explain the meaning behind each mural; including the Mayan story of creation, ceremony, counting system and the development of mathematics and the 5000 year old calendar.  Women Weavers and Nuestra Artesania includes demonstrations showing how the beautiful fabrics are made; from harvesting the cotton, to spinning it into yarn, dieing the yarn, and then creating one of-a-kind fabrics with the back strap loom. The Qomaneel center is a medicinal and curative herb garden operated by the midwives of San Juan. You are guided through the garden and given samples of each plant along with a description of its curative powers. All natural soaps, teas, and shampoos are made on the premises.   Learn about the confradia system and how it helps keep the traditions, both Catholic and Mayan. This tour gives the visitor a little bit of all that Guatemala has to offer. 

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Solola Market and Mountain Villages Tour

8. 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.

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Panajachel: Families and Beginners 3-Hour Rock Climb

9. Panajachel: Families and Beginners 3-Hour Rock Climb

Enjoy a 3-hour rock climbing adventure in Lake Atitlan that is perfect for anyone with no experience, or who has only ever climbed in a gym before. A professional teacher will be on hand at all times, and will provide you with all the equipment and instruction necessary for a safe but fun adventure. The only climbing school in Guatemala where you can learn the basic principals of top rope climbing, you will receive full instruction on tying knots, harness sizing, and climbing techniques. After the class, try your skills on one of the easier walls. A unique over-the water climb is available for those looking for more experience. Get a taste for climbing and you might even decide to advance to a climbing camp in Santa Cruz La Laguna on Lake Atitlan’s northern shore. Climbing sites are available for a range of ages and abilities, and stays of a week will immerse you in the beauty of the lake and fertile farmland.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Sololá Department

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What people are saying about Sololá Department

What an absolute adventure!

Climbing with Los Elementos Adventure Center was definitely an adventure. Once I signed up, Lee (who runs the place) immediately contacted me and provided me with options for my rock climbing experience. I opted for the over-the-water climb, and my guide, Greg, briefed me on what to expect. To get to the cliffs where the climbing routes were, we took a nice, short boat ride across the beautiful Lake Atitlan. Once at the cliffs, I started the climbs directly from the boat...that was great fun! The climbs were a combination of rock climbing & jungle climbing, as there are some roots & bushes that I had to get through to get to the top. All of these were what made it such a great adventure for me, along with the fantastic views at Lake Atitlan. Great experience overall!