The Cost Of Living On Lake Atitlan

OverviewPreparation DestinationsWhere To Stay
Getting Heregetting AroundThings To DoBudget

100 guatemalan quetzales
Lake Atitlan is arguably one of the best value destinations in the world. Everything from accommodation and food to transportation and activities is at least 50% less than in the USA or Europe. As my immigrant grandmother always says “What you pay, what you get,” but on Lake Atitlan, ‘what you get’ is a whole lot more.

In order to help you budget your trip to the lake, below you’ll find a run down of my monthly expenditures. You’ll learn exactly how much things cost and discover the methods I use to save money.


Lake Atitlan Price Index

Currency Name: Quetzales “Q” (GTQ)
Average Rate: 1$ = 7 Q

  • Budget Hotel: 100-150 Q
  • Dorm Bed: 30-70 Q
  • High-end Meal: 120Q
  • Low-end meal: 30-50Q
  • 3 Tacos: 15 Q
  • Private Boat Service: 150Q-250Q

Current Rates

*The Quetzal or Quetzales (used interchangeably) is named after Guatemala’s national bird of the same name. In ancient Mayan times, the feathers of this bird where used as tender.


Although there are plenty of comfortable studios and rooms for between 100-150$/month, I’m not willing to give up this view. For info on my apartment, check out The Best Apartment Rentals Around Lake Atitlan (Coming Soon!).

Rental Price Index (in Panajachel & San Pedro)

Single room : 75-100$/month
Studio apartment: 100-200$/month
Studio Apartment with view: starts at 300$/month

My Current Rent for a lake view studio:  2,500Q or 300$/month


I could eat cheap I really could. I could go to the local market in Panajachel and eat nothing but fruits and vegetables and probably get by for less than 100$/month.  But with Sandra’s Grocery store packed with overpriced products from the US it’s hard not to give in. To learn how to live super cheap, check out How To Live Cheap On Lake Atitlan (Coming soon!).

Grocery Price Index:

Bag of milk: 8 Q
Roasted Chicken: 50 Q
Large Papaya: 12 Q
Loaf Of Bread: 18 Q
24 Pack Brahva Beer: 80 Q

Estimated Total: 2,200Q or 200$/month

Dining Out

Ever since I visited Hana Sushi in Panajachel, I’ve had no choice but to go at least once a week for my Japanese food fix. Add this to my growing addiction to coffee thanks to Crossroads Cafe, and my cravings for BBQ meat every Saturday at La Palapa, and now I’m spending a small fortune.

Dining Out Price Index:

Coffee at Crossroads: 8 Q
Margarita at La Palapa: 10 Q
3 tacos at Taquero Mucho: 15Q
Fried chicken and fries: 15 Q
Sushi Roll at Hana Sushi: 50 Q
Filet Minion with 3 sides At La Palapa: 80 Q
Super Sublime Burger at Sublime: 60 Q
Arugula Pizza at Mikaso: 75 Q
Lunch Set At Chez Alex:  100 Q

Estimated Total: 650Q or  85$ / month


I recently purchased a motorcycle in order to reduce transportation costs. At least that’s what I keep telling myself to justify spending around 1,300$. Although the motorcycle has reduced my transportation costs significantly, it’s still going to take a few years for the bike to become worthwhile investment.  Below is how much I used to spend on transport before I bought my 125 Yamaha.

Transportation Price Index:

Tuk Tuks: 5-10 Q / ride
Pickup truc into towns: 2 Q / from Pena D’Oro to Pana
Public Lanchas (Boats): 25Q / from Pana to San Pedro
Chicken Bus: 4 Q / Pana to Solola

Estimated Total: 400Q or 50$/month

Extras / Activities

Now that I have my motorcycle I spend most of my recreation time riding around and discovering new places. But below are a few activities that you’re probably going to spend money on around the lake.

Activities Price Index:

Atitlan Nature Reserve: 55 Q
Private Boat Tour 2 hours: 300 Q
Diving At La Iguana Perdida: 270 Q
Climbing Volcan San Pedro: 115 Q
Kayak hourly rental: 10 Q

So How Much Do I Spend?

The great exchange rate and high purchasing power makes Lake Atitlan ideal for a budget holiday or long term stays. It’s one of the reasons why Lake Atitlan is one of my favorite places in the world.

If you’re a broke backpacker you can easily get by on around 14$/day or less. If you’re looking for more luxury, 40-60$/day is all you’re going to need.  And if you’re thinking about living here for a while, you can do so extremely comfortably for just 500 to 600 dollars a month.

My Total Monthly Expenditures: 4,500Q or 600$