Guatemala's Stunning San Pedro La Laguna: Where the Mountains Meet Water


lake atitlan

Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan boasts a number of tourist-friendly villages worth exploring. While Panajachel offers chances to hike and interact with wildlife, San Antonio is a Mayan Village known for its weaving and textiles; however, of all the places I visited on the lake, my favorite was undoubtedly San Pedro La Laguna, or San Pedro.

san pedro cafe

Cafe culture in San Pedro. Photo courtesy of Matt Stabile.

A Slower Pace

As soon as you step off the lancha — ferry boats that take you around the lake — your heart rate slows down. It’s the type of place where time stands still and things move on island time, despite the fact San Pedro is not an island. You’ll spend a lot of time lounging in hammocks with a Gallo beer reading a book, sipping coffee and making new friends at cafes, swimming in the lake, strolling through narrow streets and practicing Spanish with the many language students. Try not to get angry when your food takes 30 minutes to arrive; instead sip a “Cuba Libre” and chat with the many other travelers and expats.


Chillen at Zoola. Photo courtesy of Zoola.


The best hostel and hotel in San Pedro is undoubtedly Zoola San Pedro, with a funky pillow-seating restaurant, multiple bars, a hammock area and pool with gorgeous views of Lake Atitlan. Whether you’re a guest or not you can spend an afternoon sipping rum cocktails on the deck, talking with other travelers and enjoying the lake ambiance. If you’re lucky enough to visit San Pedro on a Tuesday make sure to go to their weekly Tuesday night party, which tend to get wild with live DJs and drunken debauchery.

indian's nose sunrise

Epic sunrise from Indian’s Nose

Outdoor Beauty

Along with being able to swim and kayak on Lake Atitlan, San Pedro offers hikes up the San Pedro Volcano and a sunrise trek up Indian’s Nose. The latter was the highlight of my entire trip to Guatemala, as from the top of the 2,863-meter (9,393 foot) peak I sat above a sea of swirling clouds, taking in aerial views of the lake and surrounding peaks streaked in hot pink, orange, yellow and purple.

Have you been to San Pedro on Lake Atitlan? What was the highlight of your stay? Please share in the comments below.

The top photo beautiful landscape of Taiwan. Photo courtesy of Matt Long.


Jessica Festa
Jessica Festa is the editor of the travel sites Jessie on a Journey ( and Epicure & Culture ( Along with blogging at We Blog The World, her byline has appeared in publications like Huffington Post, Gadling, Fodor's, Travel + Escape, Matador, Viator, The Culture-Ist and many others. After getting her BA/MA in Communication from the State University of New York at Albany, she realized she wasn't really to stop backpacking and made travel her full time job. Some of her most memorable experiences include studying abroad in Sydney, teaching English in Thailand, doing orphanage work in Ghana, hiking her way through South America and traveling solo through Europe. She has a passion for backpacking, adventure, hiking, wine and getting off the beaten path.
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