About the property
- Half Baths0
- Minimum Stay3 - 5 nights
Main house + 2 bungalows, total 4 bedrooms , 3 Baths, (Sleeps 2-13)
The writer Aldous Huxley called it 'the most beautiful lake in the world.' We think he shortchanged the place.
Lake Atitlan sits high in a basin of volcanoes, a breathtaking, cool and sunny expanse of water surrounded by dramatic cliffs and peaks. Our house, on the roadless north shore, has a parrot's eye view of a scene that hasn't changed much since the Mayans stacked the first two blocks together at Tikal.
To reach Pamakanya, you take a 15-minute boat ride from the town of Panajachel often in the company of local women dressed in village patterns dating back centuries. They're likely to be hauling a bag of avocados or papaya for sale in the market. You're likely to haul a few of them back for some fresh guacamole or some fruit salsa for your grilled fish. That's commerce, Atitlan style.
The house, called Pamakanya, is a work of art, literally. It's a bewitching maze of stone steps, walks and patios tucked into shady gardens, built over ten years by a local artist and architect.
Fine woodwork, tile and mosaics are at every hand, making it hard sometimes for the eye to chose between the craftsmanship and whimsy of the house and the ridiculously picturesque landscape of the lake and mountains.
One of our favorite places to indulge it is the Lido Deck, a stone patio where quiet reading time or cocktail hour can unfold a bit outside the fierce rush of card playing at the main house or the delighted shrieks of kids from the dock.
The main house, with fully stocked kitchen, extensive bath and shower, living room and more, sleeps up to five in a bedroom and loft. The dining table on the sunny porch that will be your Atitlan headquarters, can squeeze in up to 13 tortilla smackers with plenty of room for lounging in over the view. (Pascual, the caretaker, will show you where to pick some fresh limes and tart oranges from the garden for a rum drink, too).
Rental party size has ranged from one to fifteen. The main house alone is perfect for one to four/five people. If you have a larger group, two adjacent guest bungalows are available, with studio setup steps away for four more people each. Each has its own bath, hot shower, coffee maker, water dispenser, and, of course, covered patio with ageless vista.
The upper house boasts one of the best views on the lake. The lower house is closest to the dock and makes a great base for a day of swimming and kayaking in the four provided kayaks. Our days often begin with a plunge into the lake followed by a steaming outdoor shower at the lower house. If you prefer your hot water straight from nature, thermal hot springs can often be found at lake's edge.
After a few days, when you’re ready to pull yourself away from the black hole of relaxation that grips the house, take a hike to the nearby village of Jaibalito for a swim at the pool at Ven Aca or restaurant meal or some Internet time. Or catch one of the public boats that ply the shore every half hour to visit one of the many unique and lovely villages and towns that ring the lake. Or call for a private boat and take a tour.
Go east to Panajachel for shopping (either for world class textiles, a full array of groceries and fresh produce) or catch one of the shuttles to nearby famous markets of Chichicastanengo. Or hail a westward boat to San Pedro for a volcano climb, horseback ride or Spanish classes. Or Santiago a stronghold of Mayan culture, sites (and great shopping). Or to San Marcos, a village full of cafes, massage therapists and new age options.
The climate is high tropical (about 5,000 feet), meaning warm sunny days most of the year with cool breezy nights that sometimes dip to delightful fleece temperatures. The rainy season may means a downpour or two in the evening, but the days are generally dry.
Just make sure you’re back home in time for sunset. It’s going to be a great one.
As a recent renter stated ...
'... the highlight of our trip was Pamakanya! We were sitting on the patio our first evening there enjoying a drink and the fantastic view and saying “It doesn’t get much better than this!’ We were wrong! The sunrise the next morning was even more amazing. We have rented some very nice vacation homes in the past: twice in Mexico and twice in Costa Rica, but Pamakanya is by far the nicest.' Brenda, NB, Canada
We provide a booklet with extensive guidance about getting there and around the area, and local opportunities, restaurants, and other recommendations. More photos and information at www dot pamakanya dot com.
Keywords: House & 2 bungalows
Katie & JIm / Becky & Jeff
- Response rate:
- Response time:
- within a few hours
- English, Spanish
- Calendar last updated:
- May 18, 2018
About Katie & JIm / Becky & Jeff
We are two families from Takoma Park, Maryland. Katie and Jim and their children, bought Pamakanya on a whim in 2005. Jeff and Becky who were Peace Corp volunteers in Guatemala joined them in ownership in 2013 so for them and it's just like coming home.
Katie & JIm / Becky & Jeff purchased this Villa in 2005
Pool / Spa
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Sports & Adventure Activities
Wonderfull house and PERFECT location!
Pamakanya may be one of the best places on earth! We spent a month hiking, kayaking, swimming, visiting local markets, wandering through villages, eating local produce and just plain relaxing.
Pamakanya is ideally located. It is an easy walk to the tiny village of Jaibalito where we were thrilled to discover that we could purchase many supplies. Yogurt, wraps, wine, bread and a variety of fresh produce were available. The produce varied on a daily basis but onions, carrots, potatoes and bananas were always there. Avocados, pineapples, etc...were hit and miss.
The village of Santa Cruz is a pleasant one and a quarter hour hike along a beautiful trail. It has a few steep parts but the views are well worth the effort. On Saturday mornings there is a market with a great selection of produce, fresh fish and on some days baked goods.
So....you will need to stock up on 'pantry supplies' in Pana but otherwise you can get everything within walking distance of the house.
Communication with the owners is efficient, thorough and very friendly. No matter what question we asked we had an answer within an hour. Becky communicated with the local supports, on our behalf, when needed. We felt completely at home and were encouraged to make use of all the house and lake have to offer.
There is a local gardener who quietly maintains the incredible grounds. We ate lettuce, parsley, cilantro, onions, hot peppers and avocados from our very own garden!! Again, what is available varies with the season but everything was fabulous. What a treat to walk out the door and cut some fresh lettuce for lunch!
The public boat stops right at the dock and for a small price takes you anywhere on the lake that you want to go.
There is just something about Pamakanya that relaxes your soul. From the moment you are greeted at the dock until your suitcases are carried back down you feel at home. There is even a 'house dog' that will keep you company...if you want! On our first day about 10 dogs wandered through the property. We selected one and fed him. 'Sandy' became 'ours' and visited almost every day thereafter. He 'marked' his territory and the others ceased to visit!
I miss you already Pamakanya!! Hope to see you again!
Escape to lake Atitlan
This is a beautiful villa on the shore of lake Atitlan. Nice rustic feel with well maintained grounds and amazing views. This is a get away vacation spot. The house was well maintained, clean and well supplied to include Kayaks and the video projector for evening movies (owner has a nice collection to choose from) on the back porch as the sun set. You do have a washer and clothes line, kitchen supplies and the WiFi is OK. You must buy your groceries in Pana on the ways in as the local villages don't have a lot to offer for resupply though we did kayak over for sodas and beer as well as fresh bread and pie from Han's. There is a foot path at the rear of the house to take to the villages or a morning run or hike. I truly enjoyed meeting the locals on my morning runs before a dip in the lake. Andrea is very helpful with your transportation needs to and from the airport. The water taxis when you want to go around to the other villages are easy to catch by standing at the end of the dock and waving. I highly recommend you have Maria cook for you. She did three dinners for my kids and I and we loved every bite. The owner communicates very easily with you on your planning and is very helpful and when you arrive there is a welcome book with all of the needed information and suggestions. It takes about 3.5 hours to get to the lake from the airport an then 10 minutes form the lake to the villa by water taxi. Yes - there are scorpions and spiders but they were never a real issue. The coffee in the morning on the lower terrace as the sun comes up is memorable and the local people are a joy.
Tranquil lake stay
My family and I stayed at Pamakanya for 8 days. We have 3 small children 8, 5 and 4. They had a blast checking out the gardens, lounging in the hammocks, swimming in the lake and using the kayaks. We had Maria make 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners for us. Everything was delicious and we had plenty of leftovers. We even got to help with preparing. Her frijoles were really good! Pascual was always discreetly tending to the gardens and constantly supplying us with water daily. Andrea helped coordinate dinners with Maria, private shuttle from Antigua/ boat transfers and a private guide with boat to check out the other pueblos was extremely helpful and very accommodating. A really great staff! Jaibalito was a short 10-15 minute walk. We checked out Ven Ace for their pool (although it was cold, the lake is warmer), Casa Mundo for a glass of wine with a cool view and Han's for a drink and light snacks. (He is a German owner and very cool to talk to once you give him a drink or 2). San Jose was a little past Jaibalito. Maybe a 45 minute walk past. It was a really nice well maintained trail with great views. We loved the lake, the people and the house. We will definitely be back! Thank you for sharing your beautiful house. (except the scorpions, they were small but unwanted)
Perfect place to kick back and relax
We loved our stay in the main house. Lazy mornings reading on the dock and swimming in the lake, or kayaking to Jaibalito. Afternoons catching a lancha to the villages around the lake, all with their distinct characteristics. Climbed San Pedro which was well worth it for the walk through fields of coffee, maize and avocados, then pine and cloud forests, and stupendous views from the top. The gardens are beautiful, and well-looked after by Pascual who was really helpful. Maria cooked a great pepian de pollo on our first night, and kept us stocked up with her fantastic coffee. Best of all the view, from opening your eyes in the main bedroom at dawn, to watching Volcan Fuego from a hammock. Oh, and the loo with a view...
We'd go back at the drop of a hat...
PS if anyone finds a pair of rayban reading glasses in the lake by the dock, do shout. A casualty of the xocomil wind..
Breathtaking Pamakanya with 3 young kids
Our family of 5 (11 yr old, 9 yr old, and 7 yr old) stayed in Guatemala for a week and four nights at Pamakanya. It was the trip of a lifetime. From the moment we placed our bags on the dock, we were all amazed how gorgeous the views are of Lake Atitlan especially from all the patio choices. The kids loved every minute of it. From jumping off the dock in the afternoons to taking the kayaks out in the morning, this is a dream spot for families. We had Maria cook for us for 3 dinners and had her delicious leftovers for our breakfasts and our final dinner at the house. After Katie connected us with her in-country liaison, we used Andrea to help us with the details of our trip: a van from Antigua, a private lancha to bring us to the house, securing dinners with Maria, and a guided hike from Santa Cruz to San Marcos. Andrea was invaluable to us since we speak very little Spanish. The kids saw Volcan Fuego erupt while they were sitting in the hammocks. They loved the bunk beds, the ping pong table, and the nightly fires in the outdoor kiva. We are in awe of the beauty of Guatemala and the kindness of the people.
My husband , myself and our little dog sadly left Pamakanya this morning after spending one week there. We truely enjoyed the property. Its very well appointed. The communication with the owners was great as well as the information provided. Thanks to Pasqual the manager and gardener for making our stay confortable and to lovely Maria for keeping the house in top shape and cooking some delicious meals for us.
We had a lovely experience.
Volcano Climbing, Shopping (around the lake in Panajachel and Santiago Atitlan, and in the famous markets of Chichicastanengo, an hour away, and Antigua, two hours away), Nightlife, Visiting Mayan Villages, Massages and Yoga Workshops (in the New Age center of San Marcos, just along the lakeshore)
Rates & Availability
Additional information about rental rates
Standard housekeeping servicess provided every fourth day of your stay. Additional housekeeping and cooking services can be arranged.