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Santa Cruz La Laguna

This little village is actually the closest to Panajachel but probably the least visited, with most people going to San Pedro La Laguna on the opposite side of the lake. And it couldn’t be more different. With the only access being by boat or on foot the town (actually made up of three villages) has remained rather undeveloped. For the foreign visitors this translates in to unspoilt charm and beauty. As with some of the other villages, the shoreline has been mainly bought by wealthy foreigners and Guatemalans with the local Mayans living in the village high above. For these locals inaccessibility has meant no phone lines, no commerce and no progression. The organisation Amigos de Santa Cruz (URL: was set up in 1998 by residents of Santa Cruz to help improve the lives of the indigenous villagers through education programs on health care and environmental sustainability.

Things To Do

Most people who come to Santa Cruz do so to relax, read and perhaps relax some more. The way of life here is certainly very chilled. But there are some activities if you need as little more action. You can walk along the shoreline to nearby San Marcos or take the stunning high path to Sololá, swim in the lake (it is usually about 22°C/72°F) and the Iguana Perdida can organise visits to a local weaving cooperative among other things (see below).


The hotel La Iguana Perdida is just as you get off the boat, right next to the jetty and overlooking the lake. It is a friendly place with various sleeping options, abundant greenery around the cabins and peaceful chill out areas with views of the water. Morning yoga classes and scuba diving classes are offered and if you sign up before 3p.m. you can partake in the communal set dinner. Locals from the nearby are also employed here. This place has a real community vibe and it is very homey. Rooms between $ 5 - 54 . Tel: 502-5706-4117, URL:

On the opposite side of the jetty is the Hotel Arca de Noe, the first hotel in Santa Cruz. The European owners work hard at keeping the hotel ‘green’ and also supports a group of 18 elderly people from the village through its Los Ancianos program. There is a gym and a private beach and even French boules available. Rooms costs $8 – 37.Tel: 502-7848-1407, URL:

Getting To and Away from Santa Cruz La Laguna

The boat schedule is flexible, with the first lancha to Panajachel usually leaving around 6.15a.m. and the last one setting off back about 6p.m. From Panajachel there is a less frequent service which calls at Santa Cruz first before calling in all the other villages. Or you can take a fast boat to San Pedro and then go back to Santa Cruz via boat or, for the more adventurous, you can walk around the lake past San Juan, San Pablo, San Marcos, Tzununá and Jaibalito but you have to set off early in day.


Other places nearby Santa Cruz La Laguna: Sololá, Ixil, Jaibalito, Acul, Tecpán, San Antonio Papoló, Panajachel, Santiago Atitlan, Uspantán and San Pedro La Laguna.

By Joanne Sykes

Born and raised in Yorkshire, England, Jo is currently working as a freelance travel writer in Latin America. With degrees in...

15 Aug 2011

Things to do in Santa Cruz La Laguna

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