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Santiago Atitlan

On the southwest shore of Lake Atitlán, nestled between the volcanic cones of San Pedro, Atitlán and Tolimán, is the lakeside village Santiago Atitlán. Constructed by the Maya in the image of the world as they believed it to exist, it is the largest and most significant of the lakeside communities and a visit here on either a Friday or Sunday-- when the market is in full swing-- will provide you with a vivid insight into rural life in these parts. There is little else to do in Santiago but soak up the tranquility. Some recommend taking a dip in the lake but others report that it is polluted and good for kayaking only. Also, beware of pesky gangs of kids.

 

The town holds steadfastly to old traditions though the western world and tourism are increasingly making their presence felt. Residents continue to wear the customary clothing of the TzÔÇÖutuhil Maya- for men this includes embroidered, striped purple and white long shorts while women wear a band of red cloth known as xkÔÇÖap around their heads, although displays of these are becoming increasingly infrequent. Make it here for Easter to encounter weeklong celebrations full of vibrancy.

 

Santiago boasts 35 churches, the most notable of which is the old, finely decorated, Catholic Church, home to the pre-Columbian Mayan god, Maxim├│n. The church holds a stone memorial commemorating the death of American priest Father Stanley Rother who was assassinated by the paramilitary in 1981, after President Garc├şa branded him a Communist. His body was returned to his native Oklahoma but his heart was removed and buried in the church.

 

In October 2005, the town suffered badly from mudslides, erupting from volcano Tolimán, which washed away the homes and livelihoods of many residents. Visitors have reported that the town definitely looks the worse for wear and that there is a noticeably edgy atmosphere. The walk from here to San Pedro however, is demanding but visually stunning.

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







16 Nov 2006

Things to do in Santiago Atitlan

Hiking around Santiago

106614Santiago Atitlán is full of beautiful surrounding trails to hike. Routes lead to the top of each of the three nearby volcanoes, though due to robberies against tourists in the area it is necessary ...
Hiking
Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala

Market

The market in Santiago Atitlán is at its best on Fridays and Sundays. Vendors set up shop to sell local crafts and goods to those that pass by, while the Mayan women dress in traditional costumes. ...
Market
Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala

Mayan Ceremonies

Mayan religious ceremonies are conducted throughout the year in Santiago Atitlán due to the belief that these practices ensure the sun, stars, moon and planets continue to follow their correct ...
Entertainment
Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala

Iglesia Parroquial Santiago Ap├│stol

The Iglesia Parroquial Santiago Apóstol is one of the most magnificent churches in the Lago de Atitlán area. The structure was constructed during a nine-year span between 1572 and 1581. There ...
Historical Building
Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala

Museo Cojoyla

The Museo Cojoyla is a must-see for those specifically interested in the history of this lakeside village. There is an excellent showcase of the village's weaving past. The museum can be found one ...
Museum
Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala
Mapa
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