If you like good people, good food, good entertainment and natural splendor, then you will not want to miss the chance to include a visit to Panajachel when traveling through Guatemala. A jewel among the highlands of Guatemala Panagachel is set at 5,238 feet above sea level, alongside the stunning Lake Atitlan, with the volcanoes Atitlan, Toliman and San Pedro framing the whole scene. About as picturesque as it gets, Lake Atitlan gets its name from the Mayan word, “atitlan”, which means, “the place where the rainbow gets its colors”. As is the case with many highland destinations throughout the country, Panajachel Guatemala maintains a predominantly Mayan culture, with Mayan ancestors making up the largest part of the city’s inhabitants. Also found residing in this exotic destination are foreigners who find Panajachel an ideal spot to live. Besides the resounding enchantment of the area, it is perhaps the friendly nature of the people here that make Panajachel Guatemala such a wonderful place to be.
Panajachel facts regarding history are intrinsically linked to the era when the first Spanish Conquistadors arrived. As with Guatemala history in general, native Mayan and Indian peoples would forever see their destiny changed with the Spanish attempts to acquire land in the New World. At Panajachel, one of the greatest battles between the Spanish and native peoples was set along the shores of Lake Atitlan. In the 1500"s, the Spanish had made allies of the native Cakchiquel people, with whom they took up arms against the Tzutuhils. As for ensuing attempts at converting the native people of Guatemala Panajachel was a major staging ground. Scores of Indians were more than likely forced to embrace the new religion. Among the colonial-style relics from this dark past is the facade of the St. Francis Spanish church where conversions were made, or at least attempted. The facade is visually impressive and it dates back to 1541.
In Guatemala Panajachel is commonly referred to as “Pana”, especially by the locals who are lucky enough to make their home in this modern-day paradise. Replete with an atmosphere that inspires the senses with rich sights, smells and sounds, Panajachel is ideal both for adventurers and those looking to relax and simply take in the sights. Panajachel surely makes its case with its beauty for any language students considering studying Spanish in Guatemala. While the cities of Antigua and Quetzaltenango are the more popular spots to find quality Spanish language schools, it’s hard to not at least consider taking some of the lessons offered in Panajachel. Visitors to this wonderful town will encounter numerous quality Panajachel hotels, as well as an array of small, yet sumptuous restaurants. Enjoy finely cooked Guatemalan food, international dishes, or simply a coffee and a muffin before heading out and about on a tour or out on the town. Panajachel’s dining options definitely benefit from the influence of foreigners who have spent time here in the past.
During the day, visiting the surrounding villages is a popular activity for travelers. These predominantly indigenous locales, such as Santiago Atitlan, San Antonio Palopo and Santa Cararina Palopo are renowned for their textiles and clothing items, all hand made by native women weavers. For a magical view of the city, the lake and the surrounding mountains, consider taking the short local bus up to La Cueva Maya (the Mayan Cave), where you might find yourself rubbing your eyes in disbelief of the beauty of it all. Simply strolling the pathways along the banks of the lake is a great way to take in the sights while enjoying some of nature’s creatures. Tour and Adventure agencies can help you plan additional activities, like hang gliding, fishing for Largemouth Bass, scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking and rapelling, to name a few. At night, the Panajachel Guatemala bars and discotheques are a nice place to meet new people and share travel stories. Dance the night away, or simply sit and relax with a cool drink. When the next day rolls around, you can find an internet café in town, just to let all your friends back home know how much fun you are having. And, unless you are simply intent on not having a good time, you are sure to have fun in Panajachel Guatemala.