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Pamakanya: Lakeside Villa & Bungalows

Bedrooms 4
Property type villa
Minimum Stay 3 - 5 nights


About the property

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.

The house, called Casa 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. Casa Pamakanya is reached by boat from the village of Panajachel and is located along the north shore of the lake near the village of Jaibalito.

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.

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 base rate includes rental of the main house for 4 people. There is an incremental charge of $18-22 per night (depending on the season) for each additional person. Rentals for 5 or fewer include the main house; 6-8 include the main house and one bungalow; >8 include all three houses. All renters have full use of the extensive gardens, kayaks, outdoor shower & dock and we never rent to more than one party at a time.

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

More Details

Katie & JIm / Becky & Jeff
Member since: 2005
Speaks english, spanish
Response time
Within a few hours
Response rate
Calendar last updated:
20 September, 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


Accommodation and facilities for this holiday villa rental in Jaibalito

Property Type:
  • villa
  • Catering available
  • Breakfast - Booking Possible
  • Lunch - Booking Possible
  • Dinner - Booking Possible
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 3:00 PM
  • /
  • Check-out: 11:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 15
  • Children welcome
  • Parties/events allowed
  • Pets considered
  • Non smoking only
Location Type:
  • Lake
  • Lake View
  • Lakefront ...
  • Mountain
  • Mountain View ...
  • Water View
  • Waterfront
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Budget
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Bottled Water
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Fireplace
  • Hair Dryer
  • Internet ...
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Local Maps
  • local restaurant guide
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet
  • Wood Fireplace
  • Blender
  • Catering Available ...
  • Coffee Grinder
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Freezer
  • Grill
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 12 people
  • 3 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 -
    Bathroom 2 -
    Bathroom 3 -
  • The main house bathroom has an amazing view of the lake and volcanoes & the lower house bathroom has an outdoor shower that is accessible from the outside so can be used by others in your party who are not staying in that house.
  • 4 Bedrooms, Sleeps 15
  • Main house loft - 1 single bed , 1 bunk bed , the two lower singles can be converted to a king
    Main house master Bedroom - 1 large double bed
    Lower house - 2 single bed , 1 sofa bed/futon , 2 singles can be converted to a king
    Upper house - 1 large double bed , 2 single bed
    Other (See Description) - 2 single bed , two single air mattresses are available
  • King size beds (1) Both the lower bungalow and the main house loft include 2 single beds that can easily be combined and converted to king size beds. King bed linens are available., Queen size Beds (1) The master bedroom in the main house and the upper bungalow include queen beds., Twin or Single Beds (1) The main house loft includes two single beds (plus a top bunk bed); the upper bungalow includes 2 single beds, the lower casita has two twin beds, Baby Cribs (1) A port-a-crib is available., Sleep Sofa or Futons (1) The lower bungalow includes a futon couch that converts to a queen bed., Bunk Beds (1) The main house loft includes bunk bed., Other Beds (2) Two inflatable mattresses is available.
  • Audio Tape Player
  • Books
  • books - fiction/non-fiction
  • books - kids
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player ...
  • Games
  • games - kids
  • Music Library ...
  • Toys
  • Video Library ...
  • Balcony ...
  • deck chairs
  • Beach Towels
  • Boat with Paddles
  • Deck / Patio
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Lanai / Gazebo
  • Lawn / Garden
  • Outdoor Grill
  • patio
  • Veranda / Loggia
  • Terrace
  • veranda
  • Water Sports Gear ...
  • long term rentals available
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Pool / Spa:
  • Hot Tub ...
Onsite Services:
  • Housekeeper
  • Private Chef
  • arboretum
  • botanical garden
  • churches
  • museums
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • volcano
  • waterfalls
  • zoo
Leisure Activities:
  • antique hunting
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • eco tourism
  • horse riding
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • Babysitter
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • laundrette - serviced
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • mountain climbing
  • paragliding
  • diving
  • snorkelling
  • snorkeling/diving
  • swimming
  • water skiing
The main house features an open layout with a main bedroom and a roomy loft, anointed with fine textiles, three fireplaces, a full Kitchen with Microwave, Refrigerator/Freezer, and all Utensils (including the all important Blender), For larger groups there are two detached bungalows sleeping 4-6 each, with studio kitchens, full baths w/ hot showers, There is a daytime caretaker, Pascual Hernandez, on the site who will keep firewood, water and gas in supply, point out what's ripe in the fruit trees, and is available to help any way you need. Houses come with use of Charcoal Grill (BBQ), 4 Kayaks & Gear, Snorkeling Equipment, Fresh Limes, Oranges, Papayas, Avocados, Mangoes and other fruit in season from the garden.


Wonderful! 4.9/5 -
(22 traveller reviews)

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Pamakanya: Lakeside Villa & Bungalows
average rating of 4.909091 based on 22 reviews

An amazing home centrally located on the north shore of Lake Atitlan

  • 5 of 5

We stayed for 3 nights with my parents, my wife and 3 boys(14,12 and 11). Becky was responsive to all communication and Pasqual and Maria were awesome. Maria’s cooking was great. The photos dont do the home justice. Had a great time exploring and kayaking with lots of time cliff jumping. Location is perfect in our opinion as it is easy to get a water taxi to all of the villages as well as hike to nileighboring villages for adventures and drinks. Look forward to coming back next year.

  • Review Submitted: 05/06/2018
  • Date of Stay: June 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thanks! So glad you enjoyed your stay at Casa Pamakanya! Come back anytime!
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Family of 6 enjoyed immensely!

  • 5 of 5

We stayed 4 nights at Pamakanya in August - and had such a wonderful time. The homes are all so quaint and full of character, the property is well maintained and so fun to explore, and the hosts are helpful, responsive and reliable. No doubt, you need to be ready for an encounter or 2 with some critters, but all part of the experience. We enjoyed the spectacular view from the covered patio, including a movie on that covered porch with the hammock in the photo. Also savored a few meals from Maria, which we highly recommend. The sun sets early and returning to the house at dusk with a meal (totally reasonably priced and quite tasty) all set is bliss. We hiked to the nearby town, and then on to Santa Cruz. Walking on the trails with a group, in daylight, felt totally safe. Bring good shoes. Exploring the towns around the lake, cliff-diving in San Marcos (or to a nearby bay with the kayaks), and swimming off the dock filled our days with adventure. We used the phone numbers and recommendations from the hosts for private boats and transport to and from the airport and Antigua. We recommend the extra money for the private boats at busy times and when the lake is rough. There is 2 houses in your little bay, one that had people staying but it didn't impact our privacy.

We were grateful for the detailed information provided by the hosts shortly before traveling - lots of great resources and advice that proved to be the best source of info during our 10 day stay in Guatemala.

Just go for it! Yes its rustic and out of the city but it really is not as big of a deal as it seems. Getting around is easy. Just bring your cash. The gardens are beautiful!!! The houses are fun, funky, architecturally interesting, very well maintained, well stocked, beautifully decorated, etc. etc. A really fun place to stay!

  • Review Submitted: 27/08/2018
  • Date of Stay: August 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Wonderfull house and PERFECT location!

  • 5 of 5

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. 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!

  • Review Submitted: 08/02/2018
  • Date of Stay: January 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Escape to lake Atitlan

  • 5 of 5

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.

  • Review Submitted: 29/11/2017
  • Date of Stay: November 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Largo, Fl

Tranquil lake stay

  • 5 of 5

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)

  • Review Submitted: 12/08/2017
  • Date of Stay: July 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Perfect place to kick back and relax

  • 5 of 5

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..

  • Review Submitted: 03/08/2017
  • Date of Stay: July 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
75 Miles
Guatemala City
Nearest Restaurant
3 Kilometres
Ven Aca; Casa del Mundo
Car: not necessary

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

Rental Rates for this holiday villa around the Jaibalito

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event
Low Season1
1 Sep 2018 - 31 Oct 2018
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 4 guests; add AU$21 per night, per additional guest
17 Nov 2018 - 25 Nov 2018
4 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 4 guests; add AU$29 per night, per additional guest
christmas/new year
22 Dec 2018 - 5 Jan 2019
5 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 4 guests; add AU$29 per night, per additional guest
My Standard Rate
4 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 4 guests; add AU$25 per night, per additional guest

Additional information about rental rates

cleaning fee AU$82.33
rental support fee AU$54.89
Refundable Damage Deposit AU$274.44

Standard housekeeping servicess provided every fourth day of your stay. Additional housekeeping and cooking services can be arranged.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if cancelled at least 14 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if cancelled at least 30 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.
Contact Owner