Of all of the towns around the lake, Panajachel definitely has the most diverse nightlife. On weekends, you are sure to find live music in many different venues, a handful of clubs, and restaurants that shift to bars and the evening goes on. Here are Panajachel’s most popular nighttime hangouts.
1. La Palapa, Calle Principal: La Palapa is the “gringo hangout” of Panajachel. On weekday nights it hosts a variety of (English) activities such as karaoke, trivia, and open mic. On Friday and Saturday nights you can usually find live musicians playing under the straw hatch roof, or back behind the bar on the main stage. Be sure to take advantage of the 5Q tequila shots!
2. Atlantis, Calle Principal: Atlantis sits right next door to La Palapa. It almost always has live music on weekends as well. You won’t find as many people dancing here – more often, people tend to sit at tables and enjoy the music or hang out at the bar.
There are two clubs in Panajachel, both of which are right next door to each other and across the street from La Palapa and Atlantis. This is definitely the corner to be at on weekend nights – although neither club is very happening during the week.
1. Aleph, Calle de los Arboles: You’ll recognize Aleph by its blue shining lights and Latino pop music. Head on into this club if you are looking to dance, sweat, and lose yourself in a good time.
2. Element, Calle de los Arboles: You can hear Avicii blasting from Element from a block away. If you’re homesick for some good old American dance music, slip into Element. Although the soundtrack is almost exclusively English, it attracts tourists and locals alike.
These restaurants are great places to go for dinner and drinks. They almost always have live music on weekend nights, and on weekdays they are calmer and have more of a family restaurant feel.
1. Circus Bar, Calle de los Arboles: Circus Bar is famous for its pizza, but it offers a variety of international foods as well. It has a very pleasant atmosphere, isn’t too loud, and it isn’t hard to catch a talented musician there on a Friday night.
2. Pana Rock, Calle Santander: If you’ve ever been to a Hard Rock Cafe, then you know pretty well what to expect when eating at Pana Rock in Panajachel. The food is nothing special, but it’s a fun environment to enjoy a meal and drinks. Pana Rock is very popular among the Panajachel locals and Guatemalans visiting from the capital.
On a typical weekend night, I would usually make my way into two or three of these spots to see what they had to offer. Some are definitely more happening than others on certain nights, depending on the performers and general vibe of the night. The good thing is that all are within less than five minutes walking distance from each other. No matter what kind of mood you’re in, you’re bound to find a place to have a good time.