Planning on visiting San Pedro La Laguna? San Pedro was the first stop on my Guatemalan adventure. If you are planning a trip to Guatemala make sure you don’t skip a visit to Lake Atitlan, and especially San Pedro.
Despite its relatively small size, there is plenty to do in San Pedro. So without further ado, here are my top things to do in San Pedro La Laguna.
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything! Travel insurance has always been high my list of things to get before I travel but now more than ever its at the top of my list.
I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So when looking for travel insurance it’s important to check it covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, Hey Mondo, Passport Nomads, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master all provide cover for this.
Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover. You even have the option to start the cover when you are already on your trip, although you won’t be covered for the first 72 hours. For me my favourite feature is their app which offers you a 24/7 Dr chat and the ability to file a claim direct in the app.
Passport Nomads provides the most comprehensive cover for Digital Nomads. The game changer with them is that you have a red card and if you find yourself in need of medical care you just contact them and they will pre load your card with the funds to cover your treatment, meaning you won’t need to pay out of pocket and then put in a claim later.
Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. They have an excess of $250 and it’s simple to make a claim through their website. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy and I like that it renews on a monthly basis, so I don’t have to pay out a big lump sum up front.
I also use Travel Insurance Master for some short vacation type trips.
If you are doing shorter trips or an extended backpacking trip then Hey Mondo or Travel Insurance Master are the best option. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for Passport Nomads or SafetyWing.
Top things to do in San Pedro La Laguna
1. Get a drink and stare out across the Lake Atitlan at Shanti Shanti
While I was in San Pedro most of my afternoons were spent here staring out across Lake Atitlan whilst sipping Mojitos and trying to work. It’s the perfect spot to chill out and plan what you are going to do next.
2. Hike San Pedro Volcano
Ok so confession time, I didn’t actually do this. I know I should have but to be honest, I was having such a nice time and I had heard so many mixed things that I decided to give it a miss. But I did do plenty of research and spoke to a lot of people who did it so here’s what you need to know if you want to do it. Leave early, I’m talking 4 am if you want to watch the sunrise or 6 am at the latest if you want to get up there before the clouds move it.
You need to pack warm clothes and plenty of snacks and water. It’s warm for the first part, once you get about halfway up it will become really cold so be prepared, I’m talking woolly hat, coat and gloves cold. You don’t need a guide don’t bother booking through a tour agent. Get a tuk-tuk and ask them to drop you off at the foot of the volcano. You will then need to pay the 100Q entrance fee and the guide will direct you to the path. Apparently, the path is very clear and its well maintained. The walk is hard and it’s all uphill. It will take between 2.5-4 hours depending on your fitness levels.
2022 UPDATE: check with locals about this as when I was last there, there had been some issues and the path was closed. You may need a guide for safety reasons.
3. Hike Indian’s Nose and watch the sunrise
If like me you decide that a 2.5-4 hour grueling uphill hike isn’t for you, but you want to see a sunrise over Lake Atitlan then hiking Indian Nose is the hike for you.
It does involve a really early start and a pretty steep 45 min hike but its totally worth it. I wrote a whole post about it I loved it so much. The best thing about it is that you get a stunning view of all 8 volcanoes. The morning I went up there I was even lucky enough to catch Fuego erupting!
4. Take a dip in the Solar Pools.
You need to let them know 1 hour before you want to go in so they can make sure they are warm for you. If you have done one of the local hikes then this is the perfect way to recover and ease your tired muscles.
5. Take Spanish Lessons in San Pedro
This should probably be the number one thing to do as learning Spanish is what brings most people to San Pedro in the first place. There are so many Spanish schools in San Pedro dotted around the village you can take your pick! If you can make sure you book ahead though as all of the schools were fully booked the week I was there! I studied at The Cooperativa school in San Pedro, and you can read all about my experience here and also about the things you need to consider before booking an intensive Spanish course here.
6. Learn traditional Guatemalan weaving with a local woman
The best place to learn to weave, or learn about weaving in the traditional Mayan way is at one of the many women’s weaving cooperatives in San Juan. They will show you around their working environment, give you a demonstration and you will get to have a try yourself. If you want to make something yourself be warned it will take many hours! I did want to make something and I opted to take a class with Isobel at Solar Pools. It took me the best part of 2 days to make a scarf, it is my most treasured possession right now and has given me a whole new appreciation for weaving and just want goes into hand making all of the goods tourists are haggling over at the markets!
7. Take a cooking class in San Pedro
I love to learn to cook the traditional dishes from each country I visit. I think it’s a great way to learn more about a culture. There is a great cooking school in San Pedro offering day and week-long courses that teach you to cook traditional Guatemalan dishes in the traditional way.
8. Explore the villages around Lake Atitlan
If you are basing yourself in San Pedro for a while then make sure you take some day trips to the other villages around the lake. Or alternatively, work your way around the lake stopping for a night or two at each village. The ones I would recommend are:
San Marcos Lake Atitlan
You can’t visit Lake Atitlan without stopping off at this hippy mecca. If it’s spiritual healing you are after you are in the right place. Choose from Yoga, Reiki, massage, flower healing and chanting to name but a few. Or if you are feeling like getting the real San Marcos experience at 12:30 every day there is a Caco ceremony at a guy called Keith’s house. It lasts for 6 hours! But if you are interested in energy healing or fancy trying something different then this is for you. Cost is 200Q if it’s your first time. To find Keith’s house just ask a local and they will direct you. Read my full post on San Marcos here.
If you came to San Pedro via Panajachel then you might have already visited. If not I’d recommend an overnight stay there so you can see the sunset. Panajachel is the ideal place to see the sun setting on the lake as you have views across the water of the volcanos. It also has a great market and some really nice places to eat. If you go there make sure you pop into Crossroads Cafe for a coffee with Mike. If you want to go to Chichicastenango Market this is the best place to leave from. I wrote a post about that here.
9. Go Kayaking on Lake Atitlan
This was possibly one of my favorite things to do in San Pedro (after Hiking to Indian Nose). Make sure you go in the morning as in the afternoon the wind can make the water pretty choppy.
10. Eat the best Falafel outside of Israel (well the best falafal in Guatemala anyway)
I know this sounds crazy BUT San Pedro Guatemala has the best falafel outside of Israel. There is a place called Ha-Falafel and if you are in San Pedro you really need to eat there. The staff are great and it will set you back 25Q.
11. Admire the Street Art around San Perdro
San Pedro and a few of the other villages around the lake have some of the most incredible street art I have ever seen. So get lost in its windy streets and don’t forget your camera!
Looking for somewhere to stay in Lake Atitlan?
If you want to stay in San Pedro then I’d recommend Zoola San Pedro Atitlan, AmiGos, Hotel Tinamit, or Cristalinas Cafe, Hotel & Restaurant at Lake. If you are planning on staying in San Marcos and enjoy yoga then I cannot recommend Eagle’s Nest Atitlán enough. If yoga isn’t your thing and you want something a bit more upmarket then you can’t go wrong with Lush Atitlan.
My friend Julia is developing an incredible retreat center close to San Marcos. They have several places to stay and I can’t recommend them enough! I stayed there and it was the most blissed-out I’ve been in years. In Panajachel, I recommend PanaHouse or Selina Atitlan
I also wrote a whole accommodation guide for Antigua, Guatemala City, and Lake Atitlan. And I have gathered all the best places to eat in Antigua here in case you need any recs.
The only company I recommend for booking transport and tours in Guatemala (other than the individuals and companies I have named) is GuateGo. They are a Guatemalan-owned company that has painstakingly brought together all of the transport and tour options in one easy-to-use website. You can book transport in Guatemala with them here and Guatemalan tours with them here.
This post was proofread by Grammarly
Sunday 22nd of September 2019
I did the Hike part in Indian’s Nose and watch the sunrise last year. It was awesome
Friday 22nd of March 2019
Hi Claire, San Pedro is a very nice place. the dishes are great!
Monday 3rd of July 2017
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Thursday 15th of June 2017
Ok, so this is definitely on my kayak 'bucket list' now.
Love the photos!
Thursday 15th of June 2017
Lake Atitlan is incredible! Kayaking around to the different villages it so incredible.