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Things to Do in San Marcos Lake Atitlan Guatemala

Are you looking for things to do in San Marcos Lake Atitlan Guatemala? Well, you’re in the right place. There are plenty of places to visit in Lake Attitlan and San Marcos is normally at the top of that list for many travelers. I’ve lived and traveled extensively in Guatemala and visiting San Marcos is pretty special.

So what makes San Marcos La Laguna so special? Well its pretty popular with the alternative, “new age,” and spiritual community, so if that’s your vibe, you will be right at home!

San Marcos is commonly known as a vortex, and for good reason. This guide to the top things to do in San Marcos Guatemala has recommendations for what to do in San Marcos Guatemala, including things to do in San Marcos at night!

Why Visit San Marcos Lake Atitlan Guatemala

There are so many fun things to do in San Marcos Guatemala, and the entire town has an incredible energy. It’s hard to describe if you haven’t been, but you’ll understand when you go. The village’s position, beside the lake and surrounded by volcanoes, partly makes it unique.

Because of this energy, San Marcos attracts many people who want to heal or be healed. For this reason, San Marcos Lake Atitlan is a great place to find a therapist and therapy if you have any health, emotional, or spiritual issues. For such a small place, there are many healers—there’s also a lot of stuff to do in San Marcos that isn’t focused on energy work.

Things to Do in San Marcos La Laguna Guatemala
Image of Scarlett (@changevibrationmovement)

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
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San Marcos is also a great place to study yoga. Whether you want to do your Yoga San Marcos Teacher Training or do a Yoga Retreat in Guatemala, there are several options. San Marcos has many Ashrams offering teacher training and retreat centers that teach everything from crystal healing to growing mushrooms.

If that isn’t your thing, I recommend going to for the morning or afternoon. Stroll around the center (it’s small and only takes 10 minutes), get a nice organic vegan lunch, and maybe book a massage!

Things to Do San Marcos Lake Atitlan

1. Do A Yoga Or Meditation Retreat

San Marcos is a haven for yoga and meditation enthusiasts. There are numerous retreat centers offering daily classes, workshops, and longer retreats.

Del Largo in San Marcos has daily classes close to the center of town. If you want to take a drop-in class at one of the Ashrams, I recommend Yoga Forest.

You can ask in Circles cafe, and they will help direct you there (you will likely need a tuk-tuk), or, sometimes, someone will come and pick people up from there.

If you want to self-practice, head up to Eagles Nest. Guests are welcome to use the incredible yoga platform. Book your stay here.

Most of the yoga retreats in Guatemala are also in Lake Atitlan—read more about them here.

A Guide to Yoga in Guatemala

2. Learn to Grow Mushrooms

Want to learn how to grow your own mushrooms? The Fungi Academy offers a weekly workshop on Tuesdays. The don’t discriminate about what kind of mushrooms you want to grow…

3. Attend a Cacao Ceremony at Keith’s House in San Marcos Lake Atitlan

2024 UPDATE: Sadly in December 2023 Keith joined the big Cacao Spirit in the sky. I’m not sure if the weekly ceremonies will continue without him. It’s still early days. But you can find more information on his website or check out his Facebook Page.

But he used to offer group cacao ceremonies on Wednesdays and Sundays from 12:30 to 6:00 p.m. It’s 200Q for first-timers and 100Q after that. This is a unique experience and if his wife Barb is still there facilitation then I’d highly recommend going—if energy healing work is new to you, it might be overwhelming, but go and see what you think.

4. Join a Kirtan

Things to Do in San Marcos La Laguna Guatemala

I recommend going to the Ashram in Tzunan (there’s only one). Take a tuk-tuk from San Marcos for around 30-40 per person, and ask for the Ashram. You go through Tzunan and pass the Hostel Bamboo on your left.

Across the bridge, there’s a dirt path on your left—go there and find the door/gate. The Kirtan lasts for hours every Friday at 11:00 a.m., making it one of the best things to do in San Marcos at night. You get cacao to drink and some instruments to play with. It’s a magical experience and donation-based, so you pay what you can afford.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

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. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

5. Find a Good Therapist and Do Some Healing Treatments

You name it, you can find it in San Marcos. I recommend posting what you’re looking for in the Facebook group and asking for recommendations. Do this just before you arrive to get the most up-to-date information, as people come and go quickly in San Marcos La Laguna Guatemala.

If you’re interested in herbal medicine, see my friend Julia at Casa Curativa—shes magical and offers private appointments.

my friend Julia at Casa Curativa

6. Explore Cerro Tzankujil Nature Reserve

Sadly I didn;t know about this place when I was living there, but it looks like an amazing place to visit if you can.

Cerro Tzankujil Nature Reserve is perfect for a peaceful hike and offers stunning views of the lake. There’s also a popular cliff-jumping spot for the more adventurous travelers. So don’t forget your bathing suit

7. Take a Boat Tour Of Lake Atitlan

I’m sure you will do this anyway as you are visiting the Lake, but just in case you dodn;t plan of visiting the other villages, you REALLY must!

The only way to really appreciate the Lake Atitlan area is by boat. You can visit other villages around the lake, each with its own unique charm. You can do this on an organised tour, or do what most backpackers in Guatemala do and just simply take the public boat to the different villages and explore yourself.

Some villages to visit in Lake Atitlan:

  • Panajachel: A lively town with markets and restaurants.
  • San Pedro La Laguna: Popular with backpackers and known for its nightlife.
  • Santa Cruz La Laguna: Offers stunning lake views and a laid-back vibe.
  • San Juan La Laguna: Known for its art galleries and cooperative-run businesses.
  • Santiago Atitlán: Rich in Tz’utujil Maya culture with historical sites.
  • Jaibalito: A quiet and secluded village accessible mainly by boat.
  • Tzununá: Off-the-beaten-path with a growing holistic community.
  • Santa Catarina Palopó: Famous for its colorful murals and traditional crafts.
  • San Antonio Palopó: Known for its distinctive blue and white pottery.

8. Indulge in Delicious Food

San Marcos is well known for its healthy eating restaurants and cafes, so you really should make time to indulge while you are visiting. Here are a few of my favorite places to eat in San Marcos:

  • Circles Café & Bakery: A great spot for breakfast or a snack.
  • Il Giardino: Known for its beautiful garden setting and Italian cuisine.
  • Fe Restaurant: Offers a diverse menu with vegetarian and vegan options in a cozy atmosphere.
  • Comedor Konojel: Provides delicious, affordable meals with a focus on local ingredients and community support.
  • Restaurant El Artesano Wine and Cheese: Known for its selection of fine cheeses, wines, and tapas in a charming setting.

9. Swimming and Kayaking

One of my favorite things to do is rent a kayak and paddle around the lake at my own pace. It’s such a peaceful way to soak in the stunning scenery. If you are a solo traveler I’d recommend finding some other to join you for safety, as the lake can get pretty wild, especially in the afternoon. Most of the hostels will have kayaks and may even offer group tours.

And if you just want to relax and cool off, then head to one of the designated public swimming areas for a refreshing dip.

It’s the perfect way to enjoy the beauty of Lake Atitlán.

How to Get to San Marcos

The only way I recommend getting to San Marcos is by boat. You can easily catch a public launch from any village near San Marcos. If traveling from Antigua or Guatemala City, go to Panajachel first by tourist shuttle. Then get a boat—it’s far more accessible and safer. A boat from Panajachel should be 25Q max. You can book a shuttle to San Marcos or Panajachel through GuateGo here.

Things to Do in San Marcos La Laguna Guatemala

Where to Stay in San Marcos

Hostel Ahau is a bit nicer and a very relaxing place to stay. It does book up quickly, so reserve your room in advance.

Lush Atitlan is my top pick if you prefer to stay in the main village and have more money to splurge. Breakfast isn’t included, but the rooms at Lush Aitlan are clean and spacious. The hotel has excellent WiFi and a shared space to hang out and relax in the gardens. If you’re visiting San Marcos in the rainy season, check their rates, as they usually offer a hefty discount. My friend got a single room there for less than the cost of a dorm room at Hostal del Largo!

Another good option is Paco Real Hotel Boutique.

Quick Tip: View my full Guatemala packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Guatemala Essentials shopping list here.

Circles is a hostel and bakery— if you want to know about the best things to do in San Marcos Lake Atitlan, this is the place for up-to-date information. There’s a noticeboard full of info just inside the bakery. The food is so good here, and they have the best bread around the lake, which isn’t easy to find in Guatemala! Even if you don’t stay there, ask about what to do in San Marcos while you grab a bite.

If you decide to stay here, you get the third night free when booking for three nights. Breakfast is included, making it great value for money. They also have great WiFi (by San Marcos Lake Atitlan standards).

If you want to stay in San Pedro, I recommend Zoola San Pedro AtitlanAmiGosHotel Tinamit, Cristalinas Cafe, or Hotel & Restaurant at Lake.

In Panajachel, I recommend PanaHouse or Selina Atitlan.

I also wrote an entire accommodation guide for Antigua, Guatemala City, and Lake Atitlan.

Why I Don’t Recommend Staying at Hostal del Largo

I don’t recommend staying here—it was awful, and my standards aren’t exceptionally high. The hostel was dirty and dark (the light didn’t work), the breakfast wasn’t great, there was no hot water, and the morning yoga class was canceled. That said, it is a great place to go for food, take a yoga San Marcos class, chill out on their deck, and spend time reading their notice board, which is always full of workshops and offerings. Visit, don’t stay there!

Things to Do in San Marcos La Laguna Guatemala

San Marcos things to do change quickly, and it can be hard to keep up. For the most up-to-date workshops and events, go to Circles. There’s an invaluable Facebook Group for stuff to do in San Marcos—it’s also suitable for posting requests, as people are always happy to help.

Guatemala Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Guatemala?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Guatemala which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Guatemala on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Guatemala?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Guatemala?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Final Thoughts on Things to Do in San Marcos La Laguna Guatemala

I hope this Things to Do San Marcos Guide shines some light on this mystical place to help you find what you want. Don’t forget, you can ask me any questions in the comments below—I’m always happy to help.

The Beginners Guide to San Marcos Lake Atitlan