The quiet Cakchiquel village of Panajachel on the northern shore of Lago Atitlán began welcoming international visitors during the heady, hippie 1960s, and never looked back. This is still Guatemala's consummate hangout, a place where many end up staying longer than planned. And who can blame them? With a view of three volcanoes that drop off into the crystalline waters of Lago Atitlán, Panajachel's setting could hardly be more dramatic. For better or for worse, though, the '60s are over and the "Pana" of old has been tamed. Once exclusively the province of bare-bones lodging for backpackers with bare-bones resources, the town has matured in its middle age and today welcomes visitors and foreign residents of all stripes and budgets. It remains as fun as ever, and counts an ever-increasing number of activities to keep you occupied. There may still be a few dead heads floating around, but today's Panajachel is a place you would be proud to take your parents.


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