Verified Review icon check navigate-up navigate-left navigate-right expand mail svg-lightning svg-24hr svg-house svg-sleeps svg-bedrooms svg-bathrooms svg-stay svg-toilet calendar svg-report-flag pet-dog svg-multiunit Default Owner Icon heart-filled

Pamakanya: Lakeside Villa & Bungalows

Bedrooms 4
Property type villa
Minimum Stay 3 - 4 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.

To reach Pamakanya, you take a 15-minute boat ride from the town of Panajachel often in the company of local women dressed in village patterns dating back centuries. They're likely to be hauling a bag of avocados or papaya for sale in the market. You're likely to haul a few of them back for some fresh guacamole or some fruit salsa for your grilled fish. That's commerce, Atitlan style.

The house, called 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.

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. (Pascual, the caretaker, will show you where to pick some fresh limes and tart oranges from the garden for a rum drink, too).

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 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 Sebastian & Becky Smith
Member since: 2005
Speaks english, spanish
Response time
Within a few hours
Response rate
Calendar last updated:
22 July, 2017

About Katie Sebastian & Becky Smith

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 Sebastian & Becky Smith 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:
  • Max. occupancy: 15
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters ...
  • pets considered
  • Events Allowed
  • children welcome ...
  • 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
  • Fireplace
  • Hair Dryer
  • Internet ...
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Local Maps
  • local restaurant guide
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • 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 -
(16 traveller reviews)

87% Complete
12% Complete
0% Complete
0% Complete
0% Complete
Pamakanya: Lakeside Villa & Bungalows
average rating of 4.875 based on 16 reviews

Breathtaking Pamakanya with 3 young kids

  • 5 of 5

Our family of 5 (11 yr old, 9 yr old, and 7 yr old) stayed in Guatemala for a week and four nights at Pamakanya. It was the trip of a lifetime. From the moment we placed our bags on the dock, we were all amazed how gorgeous the views are of Lake Atitlan especially from all the patio choices. The kids loved every minute of it. From jumping off the dock in the afternoons to taking the kayaks out in the morning, this is a dream spot for families. We had Maria cook for us for 3 dinners and had her delicious leftovers for our breakfasts and our final dinner at the house. After Katie connected us with her in-country liaison, we used Andrea to help us with the details of our trip: a van from Antigua, a private lancha to bring us to the house, securing dinners with Maria, and a guided hike from Santa Cruz to San Marcos. Andrea was invaluable to us since we speak very little Spanish. The kids saw Volcan Fuego erupt while they were sitting in the hammocks. They loved the bunk beds, the ping pong table, and the nightly fires in the outdoor kiva. We are in awe of the beauty of Guatemala and the kindness of the people.

  • Review Submitted: Mar 28, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Mar 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0
Ontario, Canada

Beautiful Pamakanya!

  • 5 of 5

My husband , myself and our little dog sadly left Pamakanya this morning after spending one week there. We truely enjoyed the property. Its very well appointed. The communication with the owners was great as well as the information provided. Thanks to Pasqual the manager and gardener for making our stay confortable and to lovely Maria for keeping the house in top shape and cooking some delicious meals for us.

We had a lovely experience.

  • Review Submitted: Mar 5, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Feb 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0

Absolutely amazing - gorgeous views, spacious and very relaxing

  • 5 of 5

Our stay at Pamakanya was fabulous! It was the last week our friends (Family of 4) from Canada were down for a visit and this was the perfect place for everyone to relax. The water was great for swimming, the kayaks were great for exercise and getting around and the hike to Jaibalito was great. We used the upper and main houses. The kitchen was fully equipped and everything in each house was clean and very nice! Our nights were spent playing games, watching Fuego erupt and the projector was a great touch for outdoor movie nights. We enjoyed it so much, we had extended our stay for a few more nights.

Prior to arrival and during our stay, communication with Katie and Becky was great. All our our questions and concerns were answered, documents about what to expect were sent - including phone numbers and assistance with transportation. We had Maria cook for an evening and it was delicious! She made enough food for a few nights which was great! Her coffee is amazing as well. Guardian Pascual was very nice , helpful and prompt.

We are definitely interested in returning and recommend Pamakanya to anyone who is looking for a relaxing time at Lake Atitlan.

  • Review Submitted: Jan 27, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Jan 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0

A Wonderful Corner of the World

  • 5 of 5

How fortunate we were to have found Pamakanya and Jaibalito/Guatemala for our family vacation! We have not been together as a family for a week long vacation since our adult children were in their late teens/college age and so this was a unique opportunity to catch up with our three daughters, their spouses and our two grandchildren.

We have had the opportunity to travel and so a week long vacation somewhere none of us had been before was one of our goals and the ability to be in a country where you can really interact with the folks who live there was a real plus. I am fond of native Americans and the Mayan people who we were fortunate to meet were special and lovely. From the experience of talking with Maria and her daughter while they prepared for us one of three meals at the house (no easy task as we had two vegans and one vegetarian amongst the rest of us meat eaters) to interacting with restaurant owners and workers, boat drivers, , fellow passengers on the water taxis, or merchants in some of the small towns within walking distance from Pamakanya, we were enthralled.

Lake Atitlan is indeed a special place and having those fantastic views of the lake and volcanoes, morning, noon, and night was something we will all long remember. The house was perfect for our extended family as we spread out comfortably in all three casitas and congregated at all hours in the main house. The owners have kept this house as I would have and do everything possible to make your stay perfect. The information provided by them was excellent and so we followed their recommendations many times including our first night stay briefly in Guatemala City before hiring the van to transport the 10 of us to the lake, where we caught our private boat to the house.

Swimming in the lake and kayaking were two of the many special things we did during the week, walking to the neighboring villages and hiking a volcano two more, and we only regretted not being able to stay for a month instead of just a week! Work and the real world did eventually reimpose itself on all of our lives but the memories will long be with us of a fantastic week at Pamakanya, Jaibalito, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

Thank you Katie and Becky..!!

  • Review Submitted: Apr 21, 2016
  • Date of Stay: Apr 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0

La bonita Pamakanya!

  • 5 of 5

My husband and my best friend and her husband recently had the wonderful joy of staying on this magnificent property! Lake Atitlan is without question one of the most beautiful places we've ever been and to be able to stay in our own magical hideaway called Pamakanya is an experience we will never forget. The property is absolutely stunning. Each bungalow provides a nice stay with all the amenities provided. Because the public lanchas stop running at 6pm, we enlisted the services of the beautiful Maria as our own private chef for all 4 nights we were there. That was without question the best decision we had ever made during this part of the trip because not only did we get delicious, native home cooked meals every night, but we got to know a bit more about the culture and history of the lake and its surrounding villages thanks to Maria. For that we are forever grateful and touched by the memories and experiences we had on this trip and highly recommend it to those of you looking for a very personal and memorable time. One afternoon we even made use of the kayaks to get to the nearest village Jaibalito. What an amazing time!!! We will certainly be back.

  • Review Submitted: Mar 5, 2016
  • Date of Stay: Feb 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: We are so happy that you had such a wonderful time and were able to experience the wonder and beauty of Lake Atitlan and the magic of spending time at Pamakanya. It's truly a special place. And you got to know Maria, who is a treasure to herself, and to enjoy her fabulous food. What fun!! Thanks so much!
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0
Bend, Oregon- US

9 minds, blown!

  • 5 of 5

2 of us had been to the lake before, many times. This was our first stay at Pamakanya. The house is perfectly appointed for up to 9, no problem. We cooked 6 meals, kayaked, watched a movie on the projector at the house (HDMI cables included for MAC), spent time in the hammocks, listened to our playlists on a totally fine soundsytem, stargazed from the dock, watched the sunrise from the dock, roasted coffee with our local friends, drank lots of coffee and Quetzalteca, laughed, danced, relaxed and shared deep conversations.

The gardens were well cared for, beautiful and the house was spotlessly clean with the care of Pasqual and Maria(?). Pasqua went above and beyoned to allow us back into the house when we forgot: 1- a passport. 2- a computer and 2- an envolpe of cash. Nedless to say, we tripple tipped him for getting those things back to us. He is a GREAT man!

My wife and I would certainly return with our kids (15/13/11) or recommend this house to anyone hearty enough to take the road less traveled.


  • Review Submitted: Nov 18, 2015
  • Date of Stay: Nov 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: We are so glad that you and your guests enjoyed your visit to the lake and your time at Pamakanya. And we are thrilled that Pascual and Maria were there to help out when needed and had everything in order upon your arrival. We do hope you'll return someday with your family!
Did you find this review helpful?
2 0


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 in Jaibalito

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event
Low Season1
1 Sep 2017 - 31 Oct 2017
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 4 guests; add A$19 per night, per additional guest
18 Nov 2017 - 25 Nov 2017
4 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 4 guests; add A$27 per night, per additional guest
christmas/new year
23 Dec 2017 - 6 Jan 2018
4 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 4 guests; add A$27 per night, per additional guest
Semana Santa
25 Mar 2018 - 1 Apr 2018
4 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 4 guests; add A$27 per night, per additional guest
Low Season2
1 May 2018 - 30 Jun 2018
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 4 guests; add A$19 per night, per additional guest
My Standard Rate
4 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 4 guests; add A$23 per night, per additional guest

Additional information about rental rates

cleaning fee A$75.8
Refundable Damage Deposit A$252.68
Tax Rate 5.0%

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

Owner's Cancellation Policy

Please ask the owner or check their rental agreement when booking the property.
Contact Owner

Other Holiday Properties