Atitlan is a large lake in the Guatemalan Highlands. While it is recognized to be the deepest lake in Central America, its bottom has not been completely sounded. Estimates of its maximum depth range up to 340 meters. The lake is shaped by deep escarpments which surround it and by three volcanoes on its southern flank. Lake Atitlan is further characterized by towns and villages of the Maya people.
Panajachel isolated in the Guatemalan highlands provides breathtaking views of three volcanoes that embellish perhaps the most beautiful lake in the world, Lake Atitlan. These geologically monolithic volcanoes, Toliman, Atitlan and San Pedro forge an awe inspiring stage limited only by ones imagination. Panajachel is the threshold to Lake Atitlan magnificent indigenous villages that adorn Lake Atitlan. Santiago Atitlan, Santa Catarina Palopo, San Pedro, San Marcos, Santa Cruz, Jaibalito, San Juan, San Lucas Toliman and San Antonio Palopo, all are famous for its women weavers and their typical clothes.
During the period of the Spanish conquest of Guatemala, the shores of the lake were the scene of the great battle in which the Spanish and their Cakchiquel allies defeated the Tzutuhils. The Spanish set up a church and monastery in Panajachel soon afterward, and used the town as a center for converting the Indians of the region to the Catholic faith.
The original facade of the church stills stands, and is one of the gems of the colonial style in Guatemala.
Panajachel, or Pana as it is called by many locals, is a town full of interesting sights, sounds, and smells. The town has numerous hotels and is full of quality restaurants and interesting nightspots. During the day you can visit the surrounding villages, enjoy the breathtaking views of the volcanoes that surround the lake or visit Panajachel's busy market street (Calle Santander). It is one of the best places in Guatemala to shop for souvenirs.
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