Where to Stay in Santa Catarina Palopó: Hotel Villa Santa Catarina

Hotel Villa Santa Catarina is an excellent option if you’re looking for one of the best hotels in Santa Catarina Palopó on the shores of lake Atitlán in Guatemala. My favorite thing about this great Atitlán hotel is its location only 10 minutes from Panajachel and steps from the Santa Catarina Palopó pier. Even though it’s close to everything it’s still secluded and relaxing.

Villa Santa Santa Catarina hotel in Atitlan

Why you should consider staying in Santa Catarina Palopó instead of Panajachel

When traveling to lake Atitlán most people choose to stay in Panajachel. While it is convenient to be within walking distance to a variety of restaurants and markets I find Panajachel to be too noisy and overwhelming. For me part of the magic of lake Atitlán lies not only in the lake’s beauty but in its relaxing and tranquil atmosphere. That is why I love staying in Santa Catarina Palopó. And the only hotel conveniently located steps from the village center is Villa Santa Catarina.

Best hotel in Santa Catarina Palopo Atitlan, Villa Santa Catarina

Santa Catarina Palopó, snuggled along the peaceful shores of Lake Atitlán, is a delightful place that’s unlike any other. What makes this charming village a must-visit is that over 950 building facades, including houses and stores, have been painted with vibrant Mayan designs, revitalizing the town and  boosting tourism. This is part of the Pintando Santa Catarina project, a community initiative that has transformed the village of Santa Catarina Palopó into a colorful work of art with the objective of creating economic opportunities for its Mayan residents.

Santa Catarina Palopo colorful village in lake Atitlan

While walking the streets of Santa Catarina make sure to make a stop at the charming village church that is  full of history and culture. If you want to connect with the community, don’t miss the Centro Cultural Santa Catarina.You can try on traditional Mayan clothes there, which is a fun experience and  you can even join in on traditional weaving workshops to learn how they make those beautiful textiles. They also have a little shop with local crafts, where you can learn about the different crafts and clothes from various villages. Plus, they have a coffee house.

Santa Catarina Palopó church and things to do

Santa Catarina Palopó is a great starting point for other adventures around the lake. Head to the village pier where you can hop on a boat to visit nearby villages like lively Panajachel, the artistic San Juan La Laguna, San Antonio Palopó famous for its ceramic crafts or one of the other many lakeside villages.

Santa Catarina Palopó pier on Lake Atitlán
Santa Catarina Palopó pier on Lake Atitlán

After your adventures, returning to Hotel Villa Santa Catarina is a real treat. You can kick back by the pool or savor a delightful dinner while soaking in the breathtaking views of Lake Atitlán. The pool area is a relaxing haven where you can cool off and unwind, surrounded by the hotel’s beautiful gardens. 

One of the best hotels in Santa Catarina Palopó

The hotel Villa Santa Catarina, tucked away on the peaceful shores of Lake Atitlán in the charming town of Santa Catarina Palopó, is a wonderful hidden gem I highly recommend if you’re looking for a calm and delightful getaway in lake Atitlán. The hotel’s beautiful Spanish colonial architecture adds to its charm, and the beautiful flower-filled gardens add a relaxing atmosphere.

Villa Santa Catarina best hotel in Santa Catarina Palopo

One of the highlights is the pool and hot tub, both with beautiful views of the lake and gardens. The hot tub is heated by natural spring water, making it the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring. 

Villa Santa Catarina has a natural thermal hot tub

My stay at Villa Santa Catarina was a true pleasure that added to my Lake Atitlán adventure. The thoughtfully maintained grounds offer stunning views of the lake and surrounding volcanoes, creating an ideal place to relax. While the hotel is more charming than luxurious, it offers great value. It’s a peaceful retreat that serves as an excellent base for exploring the lake’s wonders. The nearby pier, just a minute’s walk from the hotel, makes it easy to reach neighboring towns by taxi boat. ltural center hidden behind the village square.

Hotel Villa Santa Catarina

My stay at Villa Santa Catarina was a true pleasure. It was the perfect place for our family to relax and enjoy the magic of lake Atitlán. My kids had plenty of room to run around and I loved that the hotel is dog friendly. While the hotel is more charming than luxurious, it offers great value. It’s a peaceful retreat that serves as an excellent base for exploring the lake’s wonders. The nearby pier, just a minute’s walk from the hotel, makes it easy to reach neighboring towns by taxi boat. And Villas de Santa Catarina is the only hotel within walking distance of the Santa Catarina Palopó village which is a joy to explore.. 

Rooms with a view in lake Atitlán

Every room has a balcony with views of the serene gardens. The rooms at the end of the block offer a spectacular full-size window view of the lake and volcanoes.

Best hotels in Atitlan Guatemala, Villa Santa Catarina

Our family stayed at the two junior suites which are in a separate smaller building. The first-floor junior suite, features a roomy bedroom, a cozy living area, and a spacious bathroom with a large shower. The patio, with outdoor furniture under a pergola covered in hanging flowers, overlooks the garden and volcanoes. 

Junior suite at Villa Santa Catarina Hotel in Atitlan
Junior suite at Villa Santa Catarina Hotel in Atitlan

For the most impressive view of Lake Atitlán, choose the upstairs Junior Suite Vista al Lago (room 7) on the second floor. This bright and spacious room has a large bathroom with a comfortable bathtub. 

Room with a view of Lake Atitlán at Villa Santa Catarina

The large  windows open to a big balcony, offering breathtaking views of Lake Atitlán and the encircling volcanoes. Waking up to such stunning views and the delightful sounds of morning birdsong is an experience you’ll cherish.

Best view of Lake Atitlán at hotel Villa Santa Catarina

Fantastic restaurant in Santa Catarina Palopó

The restaurant at Villa Santa Catarina Hotel was a real treat during our stay. Their menu had a wide variety of dishes to choose from, something for every taste. What we loved most was that they both traditional Guatemalan food and international dishes. The kid friendly menu items like burgers and pastas were ideas, especially my somewhat picky child.

Restaurant Villa Santa Catarina

Every meal we had, weather it was breakfast or dinner, was not only delicious but the presentation of the food was beautiful too. You could tell they put a lot of care and effort into making the dishes making our meals very enjoyable. The fruits and vegetable always looked fresh with is always a big plus in my book. 

The ambiance at Restaurant Villa Santa Catarina was also fantastic. We really liked sitting at the covered patio tables, where we could look at the beautiful views of the gardens, the pool, and the majestic volcanoes and Lake Atitlán in the background.

Restaurant at Villa Santa Catarina Hotel in Santa Catarina Palopo

I personally loved the fresh shrimp ceviche and the chiles rellenos. And their Guatemalan breakfast was also delicious! This is a great restaurant to try some of Guatemala’s traditional foods. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel I would highly recommend the restaurant!

Traditional dishes at the best restaurant in Santa Catarina Palopo in lake Atitlan

The tables had lovely Mayan textiles on them, which added a nice touch to the place. The restaurant had a friendly and cozy atmosphere, giving us a peaceful and quiet space to enjoy our meals. My kids specially loved to see the staff wearing traditional Mayan clothes, which made our dining experience special. 

Villas de Guatemala

Villa Santa Catarina is part of the Villas de Guatemala chain of hotels. I love all of their hotels and if you’re traveling to other areas like Antigua and Tikal or even visiting the Caribbean beaches I highly recommend you check out their other hotels. You can see my review for Villa Maya, were I stayed when visiting the mayan ruins of Tikal in Peten. Check out the Villas de Guatemala website for the best pricing and follow them on Facebook as they often have special offers specially if you stay in more than one of their hotels when visiting Guatemala!

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

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