Jaibalito

It’s Own Little World

At A Glance

Official Name: El Jaibalito

Name Meaning: ???

Population: 650-750

Expat Population: 40-50

Notable Hotels: Vulcano Lodge, Casa Del Mundo

Language(s):  Kaqchickel, Spanish

English Speakers: Low

Currency: Guatemalan Quetzale (“Q”)

Lake Atitlan Map

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If you want to party, head over to San Pedro, and if you’re looking for civilization and a bustling city, Panajachel is where it’s at. But if you’re looking for tranquility and an experience off the beaten path, Jaibalito is the place to be.

Jaibalito is the least developed, biggest little town on Lake Atitlan. Most people who visit the lake have no idea it even exists. It’s inaccessible by road and there are no cars. And it’s because of this isolation, that Jaibalito remains the most authentic and charming Mayan village on Lake Atitlan.

Although Jaibalito doesn’t get many tourists, it does have a few unique accommodation options. There are also a couple of great places to eat.  In the following guide, you’ll learn how to get here, where to stay, what to eat, cool things to do, and everything else you need to know about Jaibalito, Lake Atitlan.

How To Get To Jaibalito

If you’re coming from the US or Europe and need info on finding cheap flights and shuttle busses, check out How To Travel To Lake Atitlan. If you’re already in San Pedro or Panajachel, you can easily get here by boat.

From Panajachel it costs 15Q and takes around 25 minutes. And From San Pedro it also costs 15Q and takes about 20 minutes. Essentially, Jaibalito is located right in the middle of the northern part of the lake.

San Pedro >> San Juan >>San Marcos>>Tzunuma>>Jaibalito>>Santa Cruz>>Panajachel

Jaibalito's main dock

Jaibalito’s main dock

Hotels In Jaibalito

Jaibalito is home to just 3 traditional accommodation options. However, if you’re interested in longer term stays, there are a few local rental options that can be arranged.

The Most Tranquil & Private – Vulcano Lodge

Vulcano Lodge is a quaint boutique hotel nestled in one of Lake Atitlan’s most gorgeous gardens. If you’re looking for tranquility and privacy, this is the place. For a full review please see, “A Botique Hotel In Jaibalito That’ll Keep You Coming Back.”

Vulcano Lodge's private garden cottage

Vulcano Lodge’s private garden cottage

The Best View – Casa Del Mundo

Casa Del Mundo is perched on the side of a cliff and offers unobstructed views of the lake. Rooms begin at just 37$/night. But if you have trouble climbing stairs, you may want to consider wheel chair friendly Vulcano Lodge instead.

View from Casa Del Mundo

View from Casa Del Mundo

Hostels In Jaibalito

The Most Backpacker Friendly – Posada De Jaibalito

Posada De Jaibalito, better known as Han’s Hostel, is the cheapest short term accommodation option in Jaibalito. The dorm is just 35Q a night! It’s the perfect place to relax, drink some beers, and converse with Jaibalito’s expats and backpackers.

Han's Hostel dinning and common area

Han’s Hostel dinning and common area

Long Term Options

In A Social Setting – Posada De Jaibalito

Han’s Hostel also offers one long term studio apartment for just 2000Q a month. It’s clean and the interior is well constructed. If you want privacy and the ability to cook but also want to talk to interesting people every once in a while, this could well be an option.

Ron relaxing in his hammock

Ron relaxing in his hammock

Convenient With A Good View – Casita De Sirena

Casita De Sirena is a decent sized studio apartment with kitchen for 248$/week. It’s conveniently located just steps from the main dock and has a large front yard and volcano view. Check out their site for more information, Casita De Sirena.

Casita De Sirena

Casita De Sirena

Where To Eat

The majority of Jaibalito’s dinning out options are located within it’s hotels. But there are also a few other restuarants with delicious menus that are worth trying as well.

Cheap & Delicious Breakfast, Coffee & Desert – The Thirsty Baker

The Thirsty Baker is was founded by Norman from upstate New York.  His mission, to provide Jaibalito with all the eclairs, pies, and cakes that it deserves. He doesn’t just offer baked gooda but also some pretty delicious pita sandwiches. Whether you’re looking for great conversation with Norman or need to satisfy your sweet tooth, The Thirsty Baker is the place to be.

Norman the baker and his assistant

Norman the baker and his assistant

Lunch With A View – Club Ven Aca

Club Ven Aca offers a one of a kind setting. With a Jacuzzi and infinity pool right on the water, there’s no better place to enjoy Ceviche or drinks on Lake Atitlan. While the prices are on the high side, the food is delicious and the view is unbeatable. For more info, check out Club Ven Aca.

Club Ven Aca view from the bar

Club Ven Aca view from the bar

German Goodness – Posada De Jaibalito

The owner Han offers delicious German food for between 20 and 30q a plate. You can find Schnitzel, Goulash, and even Falafel. The portions are German sized and every dish comes with freshly baked bread. In terms of value, it might just be the best on Lake Atitlan.

Falafel at Han's Hostel

Falafel at Han’s Hostel

A Diverse Menu – Casa Del Mundo

Have yet to try their restaurant but I have heard there are a lot of options to choose from.

A 4 Course Dinner With Class – Vulcano Lodge’s Garden Restaurant

For just 105Q or 13$ you get a really remarkable dining experience at Vulcano Lodge. All of the food is fresh and you can truly taste it. On the night I went, an artistically presented salad and creamy pumpkin soup started the meal. This was followed by a perfectly grilled chicken shish kebab and home made strawberry ice cream. Vulcano lodge also serves and equally pleasing breakfast and lunch. For more on their restaurant, please see Vulcano Lodge Jaibalito.

Delicious nacho lunch at Vulcano Lodge

Delicious nacho lunch at Vulcano Lodge

Things To Do

1) Take out the kayaks at Casa Del Mundo

2) Relax in the gardens of Vulcano lodge.

3) Hike to Santa Cruz or San Marcos

4) Lounge about in the infinity pool at Club Ven Aca.

Infinity pool at Club Ven Aca

Infinity pool at Club Ven Aca

Conclusion

In terms of short term holiday accommodation, Vulcano Lodge and Casa Del Mundo both offer a unique experience, and a level of comfort akin to any western hotel. But if you’re on a budget, look no further than Posada De jaibalito. From it’s cheap dorms to it’s authentic German food and drinks, it’s a backpackers smorgasbord.

Wherever you decide to stay, you’re going to enjoy Jaibalito. It’s a village unlike any other on Lake Atitlan. It’s the perfect place to write, to relax, and to connect with the mysterious Mayan Lake Atitlan.