The Best Hotels in Lake Atitlán for Every Traveler

The view from the shores of Lake Atitlán is dreamy
The view from the shores of Lake Atitlán is dreamy | Courtesy of Eagle's Nest Atitlán / Expedia
Photo of Alex Robinson
19 March 2021

From luxe to laid-back, the lakeside stays in Guatemala’s volcano-speckled highlands hit the mark with travelers seeking scenic hikes and superlative views.

Sapphire-blue, ringed with smoking volcanoes and surrounded by a shoreline dotted with colorful Mayan villages: Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán has been a pilgrimage site for overlanding backpackers since the early days of the Gringo Trail. Today, the Maya homestays and simple guesthouses that once catered to hippies have morphed into an eclectic mix of architecturally eccentric retreats and eco hotels, perched around Atitlán’s shores and positioned for dreamy lake-and-volcano views, looking like a set from a fantasy film.

Hotel Casa Palopó

Hotel
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Courtesy of Hotel Casa Palopó / Expedia
This Spanish-style house was originally a private home on the shores of the lake, a few miles from Panajachel village. It’s now a hotel with meditative mountain views from its rooftop pool-deck – straight out of a magic-realist novel. Rooms in rich ochres and yellows have exposed beams, heavy iron beds and Juliet balconies, while living areas are decorated with proper art and stylish sourced-in-person furniture. Rooms with the most character sit in the old building.

Casa Prana

Resort
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Courtesy of Casa Prana / Expedia
Accessible only by helicopter or boat, this sprawling stone mansion with plum volcano views is one of Atitlán’s plushest places to stay. Enormous rustic-luxe, all-wood rooms come with tables made from giant tree trunks, and vast four-posters covered with Guatemalan neo-Rococo reliefs rest under cavernous wood-gabled ceilings. Balconies look out over the pool deck and extensive gardens to the blue waters of the lake beyond.

La Fortuna

Hotel
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Courtesy of La Fortuna / Airbnb
With their towering palm-thatched roofs – tapering to gables that look like the prow of a boat – intricately fitted wooden beams and ornate, curlicue flourishes, these double-height bungalows (set above the lake in lush forests 20 minutes from Panajachel) blend Sulawesi with Central America. Turning heads with their standout design, each of the five units comes with outdoor bathrooms and balconies affording through-the-rainforest lake views. All guests have access to the lakefront wood-fired hot tub, and there are kayaks and paddleboards to borrow; the lodge also organizes a range of activities on and around the water.

La Casa del Mundo

Hotel
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Courtesy of La Casa Del Mundo / Expedia
A fairytale brick-and-stone house teeters on a hillside above the lakeshore at whimsical La Casa del Mundo – where balconies and rotunda viewpoints seem to trace every twist and turn of the magical building and its bucolic gardens. All rooms have enchanting views and are decorated with indigenous art, woven textiles and quirky curios covering key corners. The hotel neighbors the indigenous village of El Jaibalito and offers hiking, kayaking, boat tours and biking to explore the surrounding scenery.

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  • Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort and Nature Reserve

    Resort, Eco Hotel, Spa Hotel
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    Courtesy of Laguna Lodge Eco Resort / Booking.com
    This stylishly shaggy-haired, palm-thatched hotel sits in lush rainforest – a belly flop away from the lake and 20 minutes’ drive from Panajachel village. The interiors are opulent – candelabra chandeliers, mirrors in dark-wood Rococo frames, heavy antique furniture – all offset by light spilling in through huge floor-to-ceiling windows. Through these, you’ll spy those magical Atitlán views and large balconies with ample space for sitting and soaking it all in, cocktail in hand.

    Eco Hotel Uxlabil Atitlán

    Hotel
    Map View
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    Courtesy of Eco Hotel Uxlabil Atitlán / Expedia

    With its simple whitewashed rooms and tranquil foliage-draped facade, the Uxlabil can’t compete with Atitlán’s flashier boutiques for opulence, but it does have a beautiful outdoor pool – hovering over the lake – plus rolling tropical gardens and a wealth of activities and excursions, all at a fraction of the price of its swanky neighbors. Staff are above-and-beyond hospitable, prepping grab-and-go breakfasts ahead of early-morning adventures and serving up cut-above Guatemalan coffee.

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    Selina Atitlán

    Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of Selina Atitlán / Expedia

    At this lakeside Selina outpost, from the luxe Latin American hostel chain, dorms are “community rooms,” and decor is trimmed with tribal motifs. There’s a yoga deck (with lake views), a pool and a big lounge area – kitted out with work stations for roving digital nomads. Sociable events, from cooking classes to sunset sessions on the beach, along with a garland-strung pool, seal the deal at this stylish flashpacker stopgap.

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    Kaalpul Atitlán

    Eco Hotel, Spa Hotel
    Map View
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    Courtesy of Kaalpul Atitlán / Expedia

    Sitting right over the water under a low, forest-covered cliff, the Kaalpul is the kind of place where you expect to be greeted at the boat jetty with a green juice on a silver tray. Om symbols, copper wind chimes and indigenous totems dot the garden, and an all-vegetarian menu entices world-weary wellness warriors to stay a while. Rooms are elf-like – doors framed by lush vegetation, interiors a riot of color – and the views, as ever in Atitlán, are fairytale.

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    Eagle's Nest Atitlán

    Hotel
    Map View
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    Courtesy of Eagle's Nest Atitlán / Expedia

    There are genuine Tz’utujil and Kaqchikel shamans living in the area around Lake Atitlán, and Eagle’s Nest tries to tap into some of their energy with its ethos of Mayan mysticism and new-age vibe. Yoga retreats and classes are a regular fixture, and the organic garden feeds into the food; and there’s no escaping the beauty of the views from the sundeck, or the charm of the enchanting nest-like rooms, with their stained-glass windows.

    These recommendations were updated on March 19, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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