Photographer's Note

The town of Panajachel is located on the 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. The lake is surrounded by three volcanoes, one of which is featured in this shot.

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. The Spanish 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.
Panajachel is packed with hotels, small restaurants, lively nightspots and has several schools to learn spanish. It has been overwhelmed in recent years by tourists, with souvenir shops and stalls lining the main street (Calle Santander). The town attracted many hippies in the 1960s, but the numbers of foreign visitors plummeted during the Civil War. After the war ended, tourists started coming back, and Panajachel's economy is once again primarily based on tourism.

The town is nicknamed Gringotenango ("place of the gringo") by some, in reference to the number of tourists who visit and the foreigners who choose to live in Panajachel, but most people call it Pana for short (thanks Wikipedia).

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Additional Photos by Stephen Harnett (SteveH) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 407 W: 101 N: 1297] (8220)
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