Travel Guide San Antonio Palopó, Guatemala – things to do, where to sleep, and more

Planning a visit to San Antonio Palopó, a fairly unspoiled hillside village on the shores of lake Atitlán in Guatemala? Unlike Antigua or Panajachel, you will not find many tourists here and have the chance to explore the real Guatemala! This guide with information on how to get to San Antonio Palopó, what to do in San Antonio Palopó, where to party in San Antonio Palopó, and where to sleep in San Antonio Palopó, will help you prepare and enjoy your visit!

San Antonio Palopó

San Antonio Palopó is a remote hillside village on the shores of lake Atitlán in Guatemala that has remained fairly unspoiled. Unlike Antigua or Panajachel, you will not find many tourists here. Just like the other villages around lake Atitlán, San Antonio Palopó is a municipality in the Sololá department of Guatemala. There are few hotels or restaurants and the town’s life centers around its distinctive blue and green ceramics and beautiful textiles, with it’s small and beautiful church acting as the focal point. The people of the region are Cakchiquel Maya with a distinctive style of clothing; women in indigo-striped huipiles (long embroidered tunics), dark blue cortes (long skirts) and sparkly headbands, and men in traditional wool skirts.

How to get to San Antonio Palopó, Guatemala?

Most people visit San Antonio Palopó via bus/boat from San Lucas Tolimán or via a small boat (launcha) from Santa Catarina Palopó or Panajachel. The small ferry boat (launcha) will cost about Q25 / $3.30 for one way. As the boat thudded across the choppy water, you can enjoy the beautiful landscape of lake Atitlan which is ringed by three extinct volcanoes.

How to get around in San Antonio Palopó, Guatemala?

The most efficient way to get around San Antonio Palopó, Guatemala is by tuk tuk or by foot. A tuk-tuk ride will cost around Q5-10 / $0.70-1.35, depending on the time of the day and the distance.

What to do in San Antonio Palopó, Guatemala?

There are some really nice things to do in San Antonio Palopó, Guatemala. Examples are learning to make traditional pottery, visiting the docks, or shopping traditional clothes. Read all the details below:

Learn to Make Pottery in San Antonio Palopó

Learn about the hand-painted pottery tradition of Guatemala’s Kaqchikel people in San Antonio Palopó. Sign up for a tour or try your hand at the art. You can also just visit a pottery studio, for example Ceramica Palopo Multicolor to watch the processes, watch men painting the pottery by hand and also see the ovens where the ceramic pieces will be baked. Don’t forget to give a small donation in the end or to buy some stuff!

Shop some traditional clothes in San Antonio Palopó

Visit the Tienda De Trajes Tipicas and buy some beautiful traditional clothes.

Take a photo at the docks of San Antonio Palopó

San Antonio Palopó is not overwhelmed by tourists, so it is easier to take a beautiful photo here of yourself on the docks! The photo below at the docks is taken at the docks of Playa San Antonio Palopo.

Visit a weaving cooperative in San Antonio Palopó

Visit Tienda Candelaria, a weaving cooperative where women produce shawls, huipiles and tocoyales (headdresses) on backstrap looms and get a fair price for them.

Chill at the docks of San Antonio Palopó

Next to the dock, right on the edge of the lake, there is a small playground where you most likely will find some local boys playing. You can also buy some snacks here and just enjoy the amazing view. When you walk all the way to the end of the dock, you can sit in peace on the rocks, and enjoy some sun and a swim.

Visit the church at San Antonio Palopó.

Visit the quaint little church at San Antonio Palopó. From the church you get a beautiful view of the lake and the volcanoes.

Kayak at lake Atitlán

Rent kayaks and enjoy some time splashing about in the water.

Join a fisherman on lake Atitlán

As the number and size of fish being caught in lake Atitlán is decreasing, it’s becoming more difficult for fishermen to make a living. Luckily tourism is on the rise and help these traditional fishermen to make an income. You can now join a fisherman in a cayuco, a traditional wooden boat shaped like a canoe, and learn about the traditional fishing process. The fishermen enjoy the company of the tourists and make an income at the same time. Go to a travel agency or ask a fisherman kindly.

Where to eat in San Antonio Palopó, Guatemala?

Unfortunately I didn’t eat in a restaurant or hotel in San Antonio Palopó, so I can’t recommend you one. I just bought some food at a local tienda and did a picnic at the docks.

Where to party in San Antonio Palopó, Guatemala?

San Antonio Palopó is not a party town. If you feel like partying, you better go to a different town around the lake, for example Panajachel. Be aware that buses and launches don’t ride all night.

Where to stay in San Antonio Palopó, Guatemala?

There are three places to stay in San Antonio Palopó:

  • Hotel Nuestro Sueno, hotel with a great location, lovely owners, clean rooms, and great dinner.
  • Hotel Terrazas del Lago, budget friendly hotel with amazing garden and views. Great breakfast! And don’t forget to try the empanadas!
  • Atitlan Villas, amazing villas with great pool, hot tub, views, and friendly staff!
Photo by Hotel Terrazas Del Lago via Booking.com

I hope this information helps you prepare and enjoy a visit to San Antonio Palopó, Guatemala. I am sure you will enjoy San Antonio Palopó as much as I did. If you have been to San Antonio Palopó and know any other good things to do, food to eat, hang out places or general advice to other travelers, please let me know in a comment! I would love to hear about it.

Author: Daphne

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