Fallen in love yet? Wait until your cliff jumping in San Marcos or enjoying a pool party at Zoola hostel.
And if you like spacious dorms, firm bunkbeds (these are made of stone) and pool parties on the weekend, this is your place.
The restaurant is another reason to stay at Zoola. We love the low tables, straw mats and colourful pillows – a great combination that simply oozes backpacker style. Try the falafel pitta bread and delicious breakfast menu.
Prices cost from $6 for a dorm and you’ll need to book ahead – this one has been recommended by the Lonely Planet so it gets booked up fast.
If you thought Lanquin was pretty, gear yourself up for Lake Atitlan – another one of Guatemala‘s hidden gems. Surrounded by volcanoes and shrouded in mystery, this dramatic region is as breathtaking as it is unique.
Where to stay
Lots of backpackers choose to stay in San Pedro (pictured below) where there’s cheap accommodation, great Spanish schools and a lively bar scene. Those looking for a more tranquil vibe should head to San Marcos where impromptu yoga classes spring up on the cliff tops. Love to shop? Panachel is packed full of souvenir stores and boutiques.
What to do
* Brush up on your Spanish skills
If your Spanish is a bit rusty, why not take a class? Lake Atitlan has some of the cheapest schools in Central America. San Pedro Spanish School is one of our favourites with sunny classrooms and professional teachers. Five days is just $70 – and you get 4 hours per day, one-on-one tuition.
* Go cliff jumping in San Marcos
Throw yourself off a 10m-high platform (pictured below) into Lake Atitlan. The stunning backdrop of volcanoes makes for a fantastic photo.
* Hike San Pedro Volcano
Love treking? Climb the beautiful San Pedro Volcano and experience some of the best views in Central America. Make sure you take a guide – robberies have been reported on some of the trails.
* Relax in thermal springs
Enjoy fantastic views of the lake as you laze around in thermal pools in San Pedro.
The stunning backdrop of volcanos makes for a fantastic photo – so get your mate to climb down the cliff to get the perfect snap.
How to get there
Lake Atitlan is 3.5 hours from Antigua and should cost around 60Q for a shuttle bus.
If you’re already on the lake, and staying in the backpacker town of San Pedro, take a water taxi (15Q each way) or hire a kayak (8Q per hour) and sail across. It should take around 40 minutes and you can leave it on a nearby beach.
How to avoid bruises
Make sure you land feet first and tuck your arms in as you enter the water. If you stick your arms out (or worse still, bellyflop) you’re guaranteed to come out with some mean-looking bruises.
TOP TIP Nervous? Get it over with asap. The longer you think about it, stare at it, put it off, cry, the harder it gets.