Santa Catarina Palopo
Santa Catarina Palopó is easy to get to. From Panajachel public pickups known as fletes leave regularly. To find a pick up walk up the Calle Principal towards the market. At the road to Santa Catarina in front of Chalos grocery you will see fletes (pick ups with some iron bars in the back) going to San Antonio Palopó and Santa Catarina Palopó. Though the pickups going to San Antonio Palopó will pass through Santa Catarina, it's best to board one that is going directly to Santa Catarina. Ask the driver if he is going to Santa Catarina or look for the women wearing blue trajes in the back. The cost is 5Q each way (typically 10Q for tourists - you could complain about your 60 cents but it has become standard practice across the lake, all businesses, so don´t bother fighting it). Alternatively, if you don't want to take public transportation you can arrange private boat service with a variety of tour operators and lancheros in Panajachel. These options are more expensive and you might be quoted prices as high as 250Q.
Santa Catarina is a small village. The only way to get around is to walk.
Travelers to this village rarely see more than the main street, the local Catholic church, and a conglomerate of local artisan shops, however a walk up one of the narrow footpaths to the residential area is highly recommended.
The hot springs or aguas termales located on the North side of the lake are frequented by many visitors, however, with the current raise in bacteria along the shore it is not advisable to get in the water at this time.
Santa Catarina is a great place to walk. A trip up to the onion fields above the village is highly recommended. To get to the onion fields just head up one of the footpaths towards the residential area. Go up and keep going up. If you ask people along the way, they will be more than happy to direct you to the onion fields. When you get to the top you will see an array of onion fields, corn plantations, and fields of flowers. It's a truly beautiful place and the views of the lake are amazing!
- Extreme Mayan Adventures (Extreme Mayan Adventures Educational Tourism). offers educational adventure travel packages and total immersion cultural home-stay with traditional Kaqchikel Mayan families. These are unique non-traditional trips for people who want to experience an original vacation.
- Atitlan Services. A good traditional tour operator offering private boat trips to the villages around the lake, shuttle service, tour guides, and day trips.
This is a great place to come if you are interested in hand-woven tapestries, paintings, and ceramics. The main street is full of little shops and artisans all the way down to the lake shore.
For a fine dining experience, follow the main road down to the lake and look for the hotel Villa Santa Catarina. It will be on your left-hand side after the school, about half way down.
If you're looking for an affordable place to eat there are three small restaurants on the shore-front. Just follow continue down the main road to the lake, past the Hotel Villa Santa Catarina. When you get to the lake, follow the shoreline to your left. The three restaurants are all next to each other. You can't miss them.
- Restaurante El Bambú, Playa Pública (Walk down to the public beach and go to the left (past the Laguna Azul).), ☎ +502 5249-0362. Great national and international cooking at an affordable price. Offers professional service with a panoramic view.
- Villa Santa Catarina offers rooms for about $80.00 USD a night. For budget travelers, there are a variety of Hospedajes. These are usually about 30Q - 50Q a night.
- Hospedaje Santa Catarina, Calle Principal, Barrio El Centro (Walk down the main street past the church and look for the hospedaje on the right.), ☎ +502 5715 7131. A very economical hospedaje with comfortable rooms, hot water, and private bathrooms. Rooms here can be rented by the night, by the week, or by the month. This is a great place to stay if you're looking for a cheap and comfortable solution.