San Juan La Laguna is my favorite village on Lake Atitlan! The townspeople have been working hard to make it one of the prettiest and cleanest villages on the lake. Many of the businesses and homes have a fresh coat of paint; there are several newly paved streets, new restaurants and a coffee/juice bar, new hotel, and the new market building-all in the last year.
San Juan La Laguna also tries to lure tourists with a variety of quaint artisan shops but if you really want to learn more about the village and the culture of the T’zutujil of this area check out the cultural tours offered. Rupalaj K’istalin is a community association of eco-tourism guides that has a variety of eco tours in San Juan La Laguna and the surrounding area.
The Mayan women of the area are noted for their beautiful backstrap weaving and the textile eco-tour takes you to groups to see not only backstrap weaving but also the process of tinting the cotton yarn with natural plant dyes.
If you are a little more adventuresome they have tours for bird watching of the 150 species of the area, a hike to see Rostro May (Face of the Maya) or to see traditional fishing by the men on Lake Atitlan. The artists of San Juan La Laguna have created an
open air museum of murals depicting the history of San Juan La Laguna. You can take a tour to see all the murals or just enjoy them as you walk around the town.
To get to the tour office of Rupalaj K’istalin —-from the dock follow the street to the top of the hill where the new market building sits then turn right and follow the street one block. The street curves to the left and keep following it for about 1 block. The office sits on the left side of the street and is open 7 days a week for tours. It is best to book ahead and you can request an English speaking guide. They are closed during the long lunch break each day.
Have fun exploring this wonderful Mayan village!