Panajachel is a popular weekend playground for folks from Guatemala City and things are usually hopping on Friday and Saturday nights. There’s a smattering of bars and dance places along Calle de los Arboles, which breaks off from Calle Principal just past its junction with Calle Santander.
It’s hard to beat the lively bohemian atmosphere at Circus Bar (Avenida Los Arboles, tel. 7762-2056, www.panajachel.com/circusbar, noon–midnight daily), popular with locals and foreigners alike. There are circus posters adorning the walls, a wide selection of drinks, and tasty food. Its pizzas are highly recommended. There’s live music 8–11 p.m. nightly.
Across the street and under the same ownership is Chapiteau, a lively dance club open until 1 a.m. El Aleph is also along this corridor and worth checking out.
As you head back toward Calle Santander, on Calle Principal is Rumba, a dance club frequented by a younger crowd for its Latin pop and merengue beats.
On Calle Santander, Pana Rock Café (tel. 7762-2194, 8 a.m.–1 a.m. daily) serves Tex-Mex food, including delicious burritos, has live music daily, and a lively happy hour. There’s also wireless Internet.
On the lakeshore at the end of Calle Santander is Sunset Café (tel. 7762-0003, 11 a.m.–midnight daily), with live music every night. It makes a great place to enjoy a cocktail while watching a gorgeous Lake Atitlán sunset. Decent tacos, nachos, quesadillas, burritos, and fajitas are served.
With a balcony overlooking Calle Principal, Solomon’s Porch (tel. 7723-0751, noon–10 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 3–10 p.m. Sun.) shows digitally projected movies on its giant screen with surround sound. It also has an extensive DVD collection of movie titles available for rent. Complementing the audiovisual facilities is a full coffee bar.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com