Panajachel is in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. Panajachel (or Pana, as it is widely known) is a small town on the North shore of Lake Atitlán. It is a small town with a booming tourist industry, giving the town a "disneyland" feeling (full of souvenir shops, touts, restaurants...). Panajachel is one of the major tourism areas in Guatemala. Know what to expect or you might have a choc on arrival!
The elevation is 1,597 metres (5,240 ft). Population was 11 thousand in the 2000 census, estimated as 15,000 now (Insituto Nacional de Estadística de Guatemala), and has approximately doubled each of the last few decades. The town of Panajachel is located on the Northeast shore of Lake Atitlán, and has become a centre for the tourist trade of the area as it provides a base for visitors crossing the lake to visit other towns and villages. "Panajachel" derives from the Kaqchikel language and roughly translates to "place of the Matasanos," the white sapote fruit tree. In the 16th century, during the period of the Spanish conquest of Guatemala, the shore of the lake was the scene of a battle in which the Spanish and their Kaqchikel allies defeated the Tz'utujils. After the Spanish conquest of Guatemala, the Franciscans set up a church and monastery in Panajachel soon afterward, and used the town as a centre to convert the indigenous people of the region to the Roman Catholic faith.