Santa Catarina Palopo, Guatemala
At a Glance
One of Guatemala's finest hotels with magnificent views of Lake Atitlan and surrounding volcanoes.
Beautifully furnished guest rooms with stucco walls painted in rich Guatamalan colours, arts, furnishings and heirlooms all around.
Boasts an outdoor lap pool on the sun terrace, perfect for soaking up the rays with a picturesque view of not only one but three volcanoes on the horizon.
Award-winning Relais & Chateaux restaurant where you can enjoy Guatemalan-inspired cuisine made with ingredients sourced from neighbouring farms.
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Guatemala is called the "Land of Eternal Spring" because the average annual temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit (a bit cooler, especially in the evenings around Lake Atitlan, 5,000ft elevation). While June through August see the most tourists, April, early May and November for gorgeous weather and smaller crowds. The rainy season lasts from May to October, typically beginning each day with clear skies and clouding up and rains beginning after mid-day. The Semana Santa (Easter week) proceedings in March or April are very popular and bookings need to be made far in advance. High season rates apply for most hotels both During Semana Santa and the Christmas/New Years seasons.
To start planning your holiday to Casa Palopo
Previously a private estate but now an exclusive beautifully decorated hotel overlooking the startlingly blue Lake Atitlan and surrounded by breathtaking volcanoes and indigenous villages - one of Central America's most spectacular sights.
Casa Palopo is a charming retreat and well located to enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Atitlan and the cultural delights of the surrounding area, boasting views from each of the nine bedrooms and the separate villa.
Casa Palopo’s suites have been lovingly decorated with oversized furnishings that evoke Guatemala’s Mayan heritage, private sun decks and floor-to-ceiling windows. The fabrics are beautiful and there is a real emphasis on comfort and impeccable service. There is a private villa with two bedrooms and a pool available within the grounds, furnished in an African colonial style, which is perfect for guests wanting a secluded retreat. The Relais & Chateaux Restaurant is the ideal place to sample delicious local cuisine.
Visits to the surrounding villages are a must, particularly that of Chichicastenango which holds a fantastic market on Thursdays and Sundays selling local artefacts and wonderfully colourful textiles, a true characteristic of the Guatemalan people. Other activities include bird watching, fishing, horseback riding, and waterskiing on the crystal clear waters of the lake.
Please note that Casa Palopo does not accept children under 10 years of age.
Casa Palopo offers fourteen spacious suites adorned with contemporary and indigenous artwork. There is also a three-bedroom luxury villa featuring a private lounge, open fireplace, large lap infinity pool, Jacuzzi, outdoor living area and butler service.
Children over the age of 10 are accepted at Casa Palopo. We recommend the property more for couples and honeymooners as it has a more grown-up, romantic feel, however the addition of the private villa means it can work well for families travelling with older children or teenagers.
Casa Palopo features a swimming pool, small gym, Relais & Chateaux restaurant, bar, wireless internet, private beach by the lake with gardens and jetty and two helipads.
Casa Palopo offers activities such as bird watching, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, scuba diving, waterskiing and cultural visits to the surrounding villages and markets.
Camilla Greenwood (Staff)
When I think of Casa Palopo, colour comes to mind - the flashes of cobalt blues and warming yellows and deep reds are what makes Casa Palopo so unqiuely beauitful and wonderfully authentic. This, coupled with breathtaking views of the lake and a Relais & Chateaux restaurant makes this boutique hotel a real winner.
Casa Palopo is currently undergoing some exciting renonvations, by December we can expect sets of new modern rooms some of which will be interconnecting, making the hotel much more family friendly. Due to the calm, serene atmosphere I would suggest the hotel is better suited to families with older kids rather than little ones.
Casa Palopo is hidden away in the Guatemalan highlands, overlooking the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan. It is a 90 mile drive from Guatemala City on a ramshackle bus, but well worth the effort: there are just seven rooms and suites in the main house, each done out with chalky tones with Kahlo-esque art and Mayan artefacts. The best bits? Our private terrace with lake views, Aveda products in the bathroom and the log fire in the living room each night.
In fact, the standard of accommodation throughout Guatemala for the traveller who has stopped backpacking and is prepared to spend a little bit extra, is of fantastic quality – quirky and filled with colonial and Mayan antiques. In particular, make sure not to miss the gorgeous Casa Palopo overlooking Lake Atitlán, which has a fabulous restaurant and one of the priceless large people paintings by the Colombian master Fernando Botero hanging on its walls.
Mark Beken (Staff)
Casa Palopo is a real jewel. If someone were to ask me where I would go in the world to experience complete serenity, then this place would certainly make the shortlist. The views over lake Atitlan are utterly sublime, and you could quite happily ensconce yourself by the pool and gaze all day without moving a muscle. I also adored the art pieces, which add much elan to your surroundings (there is even an original Botero), and the juke box by the bar is a gem. Breakfast on the terrace is a special treat here, and few places in the world set you up for the day so well.
Authentic Mayan village visit
Located in the hills above Lake Atitlan, San Jorge La Laguna is a small Kaqchiquel town that's a 10-minute drive from Panajachel, the lake's main hub.
Biking Lake Atitlan & village tour
Explore the shores of Lake Atitlan by bike and discover the many traditional villages that surround the lake, dotted between its three volcanoes, as well as soaking in the region's natural beauty.
The pretty highland town of Chichicastenango is famed for holding the biggest and best market in Guatemala, where indigenous peoples come from all over the area to sell their wares. Spend a full day exploring the maze of stalls and observing local life.
Chichicastenango Market by Helicopter
Buzzing with local life, Chichicastenango Market is full of stalls stocking food, random household objects and handmade textiles, and is a wonderful place to go for a spot of people watching. Fly there by helicopter and soak in amazing views on route.
On market day (Tuesdays & Fridays) the village of Solola, on the shores of Lake Atitlan, is bursting with life and local Maya people from all around the area flock to buy and sell their wares dressed in traditional costume and brightly coloured textiles.
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Location & directions
Santa Catarina Palopo, Guatemala
Casa Palopo is set high above the spectacular Lake Atitlan on the hills surrounding Santa Catarina Palopó village, with a view of three volcanic peaks - Toliman, Atitlán and San Pedro. Located 90 miles from Guatemala City in the Guatemalan Highlands.
How to get there
15-hour international flight to La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City. From the airport, Casa Palopo is a 3-hour 30-minute car transfer.
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