Reserva Natural Atitlán
Just outside of Panajachel 200 meters past Hotel Atitlán, this wonderful nature preserve on the grounds of a former coffee farm offers myriad attractions including a visitors center, a zip line between trees in the forest canopy, a butterfly farm, a lakeside beach, and well-designed nature trails with hanging bridges leading to waterfalls, where you can spot monkeys and coatis (pizotes) along the way. The park (tel. 7762-2565, www.atitlan.com/resnat.htm, $5 adults, $2 students/children) is open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily.
Spacious and attractive accommodations are available for up to six people with decks overlooking the surrounding forests. Rates vary from $65 s/d during the week to $80 s/d on weekends. Splurge for the better views. You are also welcome to camp here for $14; tent rentals cost $4.50 per person.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com