Renting a house in Lake Atitlan … if you’re in Panajachel.

If you’re in Guatemala for any extended period of time, a visit to Panajachel is a “must-do”. Panajachel, or “Pana” as it is widely known is a small town on the North shore of Lake Atitlán and along with Antigua is the other major tourism areas in Guatemala. Lake Atitlán is a volcanic crater lake and definitely the deepest lake in Central America. There are many indigenous Maya tribe still living around the volcano, to the point that there are 23 separate Maya dialects/languages spoken at the day markets. This type of linguistic diversity is incredible and leads the area being called “the Switzerland of Guatemala”.
As part of our wedding festivities, we organized a 4 days excursion to one of the lake houses in the district. So if you’re Renting a house in Lake Atitlan I would highly suggest using Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO). We found a spectacular house overlooking Lake Atitlan. As part of our amenities, we had the following:

  • Full time gardener
  • Staff on site 24/7 – although we never called anyone
  • Paved Road access with secure parking.
  • Use of cellular telephone
  • Maid, cook and butler service is available – we absolutely had this done!
  • USA Direct TV with all channels

The main attraction was the infinity pool overlooking Lake Atitlan and what a view it was. When you were too cold, you could walk into the Sauna on the side of the pool with Eucalyptus leaves in the rocks for a refreshing sauna.

The sauna was on the right side! Here’s a tip … don’t drink a lot of vodka and fall asleep in a sauna!

Another of the amazing amenities was having our own personal chef on site. This was an additional charge of 20$ per meal + ingredients. We had between 8-10 people in the house at anytime, so this worked out to about 3$ per meal.

In the house, we had a wood burning oven, so guess what we ended up having every other day? Yep, you got it … wood fired pizza for lunch. We were only supposed to have this for one day … it was so good, that we ended having it for lunch every day! I’m totally inspired to have a wood burning pizza oven in my house at some point in my life. Our cook has been cooking Italian and Guatemalan meals forever, so she made a superb thin crust .. I ended up have two pizzas of my own, simply because I was the only person not having cheese!

This is a traditional Guatemala chicken dish. There are more than 10 green ingredients in this sauce … it was simple yet amazing!
This was our dinner scene every night!

As for the overall feel of the house.

Master Bedroom
Walking out on to the master bedroom gallery
View from the master bathroom!

Now on to the rest of the house …

Our living room with crackling fire … yep, the staff always have firewood
The entire house was constructed to have this tree spanning from the bottom to the top of the house!
Who doesn’t like a mini art gallery in their walkout closet?
One of the guest bedroom. There were four in the house!
Who doesn’t believe in this?
Another one of the guest bedrooms!
Same room, different view from the gallery!
Yet another bedroom … for the kids! We didn’t have any there .. except me!

If you’re into a bit of video, here is the terrible Rishi video walkthrough

So if ever you’re heading to Guatemala, a lake retreat with some of your good friends, should be super high on that list of things to do.

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at

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