Travel across the calm waters of Lake Atitlan by boat to the lively village of Santiago de Atitlan. Here you can explore the fascinating Catholic church and haggle for a bargain at the bustling market.
Excursion to San Juan Comalapa
Excursion to San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala
Departing Lake Atitlan you will travel for about an hour through the verdant highlands before reaching San Juan Comalapa. Upon arrival your guide will take you on a tour of the town including a visit to the wonderful and authentic market, which is less visited by foreign visitors than others in the region and is a fabulous opportunity to get an insight into the real lives of the local highlanders.
The best days to visit the market at San Juan Comalapa are Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays when the market is in full swing and local people gather in the town center in a hive of hustle and bustle to buy and sell items including flowers, vegetables, fruit, household goods and clothes.
As with most areas in Guatemala local women specialize in weaving and their work will undoubtedly be on display in the market, but the town is also very well known for its primitive folk paintings, which is considered men's work. Local artists display their work in household galleries and they will open their doors for visitors to see their varied and colorful artwork.
You can't fail to see the largest and most notable example of San Juan Comalapa's artwork upon arrival in the town as you drive past the colorful cemetery, which has a mural painted by local artists running along its outer wall. The mural depicts major events in the history of Guatemala including the Maya creation story, the Spanish conquest and more recently Guatemala's civil war.
San Juan Comalapa is known for its many Panaderias, or bakeries, that bake biscuits used in local celebrations all over Guatemala, and your guide will be able to organize for you to visit a local family so that you can see how the biscuits (roscas) are made and try them for yourselves. You will also have the chance to visit the former house of Rafael Alvarez Ovalle, one of Guatemala's most famous musicians, which is now a small museum dedicated to the composer who created the national anthem.
This tour lasts about 4 hours and your departure time can be pre-arranged with your guide to suit you. At the end of the day you will return to the Lake and your hotel.
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Other experiences in Lake Atitlan
These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.
Explore the colorful fruit, vegetable, craft and textile stalls at this famous market. This excursion allows you to explore Chichicastenango Market at your own pace with the advantage of your own driver to take you there and back to your hotel at the end of the day.
Embark on a challenging hike through patchwork fields and beautiful cloudforest to the top of San Pedro volcano. Enjoy a delicious lunch near the summit whilst gazing out across Lake Atitlan and the towering peaks of the surrounding mountains.
Begin your exploration of Lake Atitlan by taking the kayaks to paddle through Santiago Bay where you pass by the local Tzutujil Maya people working in the fields, washing clothes and fishing from their unique wooden boats.