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Santa Catarina Palopó

Santa Catarina Palopó is a small village full of character located just 4km from the nearest town, Panajachel. This pretty village has a population of around 1,300 with the majority being of indigenous Cakchiquel Mayan descent. Cakchiquel is the native language but the locals also understand Spanish. The local economy is largely based on subsistence agriculture, but with the rise of tourism in recent decades there is now a local market selling artisan wares. The village locals are easily recognized by the colorful intricately woven huipils worn by the women. The men also wear a traditional dress of similar woven trousers and white shirts. The turqouise version of the garments proved more popular than the red ones with tourists back in the 60's, and so have become the more produced style in Santa Catarina. Accommodation wise, visitors can expect luxurious villas set into the hills on the outskirts of the village. The standard is generally very good but options are limited. Villas and guesthouses tend to have their own on-site restaurants and bars but there are also a few small places in the village where you can sample the local fare. Must-sees include the old colonial church at the center of the town, the artisan market and the village's well looked after beach. Nearby hot springs can be reached by motorboat or canoe and visitors can also hire a guide to take them around the village or into its natural surroundings. A viewing point out over Lake Atitlán, known as El Mirador is also popular. There are plenty of festivals in the area, mainly religious ones, but the biggest takes place between the 16th and 26th of November when locals take part in a series of processions and ceremonies in honor of the village patron Santa Catarina de Alejandría.The most straightforward way to get there is probably by bus from Panajachel which drops passengers off in the central plaza in front of the colonial church. You can also get there by boat from Panajachel or other nearby villages but beware of ticket touts on the docks that might try to overcharge you, best to buy your ticket on the boat itself.


Other places nearby Santa Catarina Palopó: Jaibalito, Panajachel, Santiago Atitlan, San Lucas Tolimán, San Antonio Papoló, San Juan La Laguna, Santa Cruz La Laguna, Tzununá, San Pedro La Laguna and San Marcos La Laguna.

29 Jul 2010

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