San Pedro La Laguna is a delightfully laid-back town perched on the shores of the Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. It has developed a reputation as a major backpacker hub offering great food, lively music and plenty of relaxation with a pile of adventure sports waiting for you whenever you can ease yourself out of your swinging hammock.
This is the kind of place that draws you in as a traveler and turns you into an expat. There is a large international population here permanently enjoying its laid back atmosphere and plenty of hiking and riding opportunities around the lake.
Things to see and do in San Pedro La Laguna
Life in the town centers round the market and some narrow streets and alleyways dotted with bars and shops, winding their way down the hill towards the lake where most of the accommodation is found.
San Pedro La Laguna has become a popular language school center with more and more students flocking to this picturesque location on the shores of the Atitlán Lake to improve their Spanish. Quality of tuition can vary so ask around before booking up. Most residents here speak Tz’ Utujil as their mother tongue but all learn Spanish in school so as long as you have a smattering of Spanish phrases communication is relatively straightforward.
Other than Spanish lessons, daytime activities in town tend to be limited to people watching in one of its many cafés or gentle hammock swinging on your balcony.
For the real action head down to the lake for a spot of kayaking or try your hand at paragliding – a great way to get an adrenalin fix while seeing the lake from another perspective. Hiking is a major draw around Lake Atitlán. The nearby Volcano San Pedro makes for a popular hike that is possible to do without a guide, while Indian Nose and Mayan Face are best tackled as part of a guided group.
Eating and drinking is varied and affordable, with some delightful cafés and bakeries dotted amongst the restaurants, pizzerias and English pubs. There is a very international feel throughout the town thanks to the mixed community of expats.
Accommodation & Internet in San Pedro La Laguna
Most of the accommodation is clustered down on the shores of the lake. As soon as you arrive you will be accosted by hoards of people clamoring for your custom, especially if you arrive by boat. Take your time and choose your hotel for yourself to avoid paying elevated prices with commissions. All the hotels are within a ten-minute walk of the main dock. The Hotel San Francisco is a popular option with clean rooms, some with private facilities and most with balconies offering a great view of the lake. Wherever you stay ask to see your room before committing as quality can vary and expect to negotiate, especially if you are planning on a longer stay as excellent long-term rates can be secured.
There is a fair amount of free WiFi available in the cafés, bars and hotels making it an easy location for Digital Nomads to catch up on some business while enjoying some relaxation and adventure. Try the Mikaso hotel for a civilized surf over a coffee on its lakeside terrace to remind you that life on the road really isn’t that bad!