- 1 day (Approx.)
- Hotel pickup offered
- Mobile ticket
This full day trip takes you high into the mountains above Lake Atitlan and features the Solola market, Panajachel, small farms, and Mayan villages.
Drive through maize and vegetable fields, coffee fields, old growth forest, and into the cloud forest. Visit a sacred Mayan site with the chance to witness a Fire Cleansing Ceremony. Explore Panajachel and Solola with time at the market and town square.
Great alternative to Chichicastenango. Perfect for families, safe for women travelers, and those who like to shop.
- Great overview and orientation of the city
- Perfect introduction for first-time visitors
- Perfect for all ages and skill level
- Informative, friendly and professional guide
- Round trip transport by air-conditioned coach or minivan
- Hotel pickup and drop-off (selected Antigua hotels only)
- Food and drinks
Centrally located Antigua hotels
Hotel pickups commence prior to this time, you must contact the local service provider to verify your exact pickup time.
The day begins in Antigua with an early pick up at 8:00am to start your adventure.
Driving along the Pan American Highway so the ride is smooth, although full of mountain curves you will pass through the old growth forest around Tecpan. As you're near the Lake Atitlan caldera, leave the highway, and descend 3,500 feet over 10 miles to one of the most beautiful caldera lakes in the world.
Arriving at the Solola indigenous market at 10:00am, your local guide will meet you to start your guided tour.
The Solola market happens everyday, so this is a perfect alternative to the Chichicastenango market which is only 2 days per week.
Very few tourists visit this market, so do not be surprised if you seem to be the only tourist in the market.
The locals are a bit shy and not used to seeing tourists, but they are friendly and curious. The handicrafts are more authentic and have not been modified for the tourists. Sorry, but you will not find refrigerator magnets or laptop covers for sale here!!
You decide how much time you want to spend at the market, and how much time you want for the remaining destinations.
Your guide will help you choose an appropriate restaurant for lunch (not included). Our guide likes the local taco stand that is popular with students. Or if you prefer a scenic setting, we will suggest a restaurant.
While you are enjoying lunch, discuss your options and choose how you want to spend the reminding time.
You can take a side trip to the mountain farming community Conception. Enjoy the isolated tranquility and fresh mountain air while exploring the pristine Catholic church constructed in 1612. The road to Conception was only paved 10 years ago, but the village seems untouched by the modern world. The drive is along ancient roadways that have been used by the Kachekel Maya for centuries. This rugged and remote area has barely been touched by the outside world.
Next continue further down into the volcanic caldera to Panajachel, the gateway to Lake Atitlan. The streets are lined with handicraft vendors and cafes. Stroll the famous Santander and enjoy the vibe of "Gringo-tenango". Spend your time shopping or enjoying the lake views from the malecon (lakeshore pedistran walk).
Another option is to visit the Sacred Caves a bit above Panajachel. Take a moderate hike in the mountains to see the caves, and learn why the locals make offering at the alters inside the caves. It is very likely you will witness a Mayan shaman performing the Fire Ceremony for a local family. With the help of your guide, you can make you own offering if you like.
No matter which activity you choose, the day will be fun and interesting. Meet back at the shuttle at 4:00pm and say good bye to your guide and to Lake Atitlan.
Rest and relax during the 2-hour drive back to Antigua.
Hotel pick-up is offered for this tour. Note: if you are booking within 24 hours of the tour/activity departure time, we cannot guarantee hotel pick-up. Once your purchase is complete, we will send you complete contact information (phone number, email address, etc.) for our local operator to organize pick-up arrangements.
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- Children must be accompanied by an adult
- A minimum of 2 people per booking is required
- Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately
For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Alex was a great guide. He really knows the area and the culture of the Mayans It was a very interesting tour. The driver who picked us up at the hotel was on time. But we were confused about what was going on. We felt like there was no communication about where we were going. The guy who picked us up at the hotel dropped us off in town where we got on another bus that was very crowded. I showed my paper work to the driver and he nodded his head, and motioned for us to get on. We expected to meet our guide, but we didn't meet him until we got up to Sololá. After we met Alex things got much better. Alex also made sure we got on the shuttle bus to take us back to our hotel in Antigua. This bus was also very crowded, which made it uncomfortable.
Since Guatemala was once the center of the Mayan civilization, my friends and I wanted a unique experience that showed us the Mayan culture. The Solola Market, Panajachel Cloud Forest and Mayan Villages offered that and more. Our tour guide, Alvaro Samuel Botan Sen or Sam is Mayan and took us first to the Solola Market where we were the only foreigners. Sam advised us, since we were obvious stand-out visitors, how to be sensitive regarding photography and interactions. Sam next showed us Mayan Villages along Lake Atitlan where we sampled local life and Mayan markets. We ate typical food at a restaurant along side the scenic lake. As a special feature of the tour, we climbed to a cave, high above the lake, to experience a Mayan ritual conducted by a shaman. The climb requires sensible shoes and a brave heart, but with Sam as the guide, this event was the highlight of our trip. If you seek authenticity and a tour you will always remember, I highly recommend this one and Sam as the guide.
Our tour was booked through the local contact Los Elementos Adventure Center and Day Spa in Antigua.
Absolutely abysmal tour! Our tour guide, Sam, kept trying to talk us into going elsewhere because he didn't want to be there. The tour was over two hours late getting started and no one seemed to know who was supposed to be taking us or where we were to go. The guide didn't speak to us through most of the tour and when he did it was to berate us for not understanding Catholic dogma! He kept telling us he'd rather we'd gone kayaking on the lake! Absolutely awful! Don't go on this tour!