Spanish- some indigenous people, particularly women, may not speak Spanish.
Kakchiqu'el- the indigenous language spoken in this area (several languages are spoken around Lake Atitlán)
All buses arrive at Central Park.
From Guatemala City:
- Direct buses available. Take a bus to Sololá. Or, take a bus to Panajachel and get off 10 minutes prior to reaching Pana, since the bus drives through Sololá. You can get on this bus at the main bus depot or wait for it to come at the bus stop across from Tikal Futura.
- 1 transfer bus- take any bus toward the Western Highlands and get off at Cuatro (4) Caminos (approximately 2.5 hours). This is a fork in the road with terrible toilets and a lot of greasy food stalls. Generally a bus to Sololá or Panajachel is waiting, and departs every 20 minutes or when enough people are on it. From here, it takes approximately 20 minutes to arrive in Sololá.
- Since both Antigua and Pana are major destinations, it is best to get on the bus at the bus depot to ensure you get a seat. The ride takes approximately 3 hours.
- Bus- approximately 10 minutes
- Pick-up- approximately 7 minutes
Sololá is a small town in terms of the central downtown area. You can stroll all around it in about half a day. Since this is the departmental capital you will notice government offices for natural resources, education, and forestry.
- South side- Catholic church. If you walk downhill on the west side of the church you will arrive at the cemetery and have a fantastic view of the lake.
- North side- This is the route buses take to leave town to go to 4 Caminos, Antigua, Guatemala City. If you go to the northwest corner of the park and walk north a few blocks you will come to the Public Library on the left side of the street. It is upstairs. It is very different from Panajachel's public library. Walk up further to arrive at a bakery on the right side of the street.
- East side- market and food vendors
- West side- directly across the street is a friendly typical food restaurant. If it is crowded on a market day you may have to share a table. Great salsa!
Cemetery with amazing view of Lake Atitlán
Hike from Sololá to Panajachel.
Take a pick-up to a more remote village and hike for the day. Ask about return times in advance, since some pick-up routes run on a limited schedule. There are few to no hotels in the villages. It is possible to hike to (one of the villages on the lake) which does have a hotel.
Enjoy Central Park in the evening, when the music is playing through the speakers and the fountains' water is lit with colored lights
Visit Universidad del Valle and walk on the nature trail. Learn about the agricultural practices; birding. Take the bus from Sololá's Central Park and ask for "Universidad del Valle". It takes about 10 minutes and costs 2Q (2004). Try to get a spot on the bus near a door, since it is one of the earlier stops. This might be easier if you enter from the back door and sit in a back seat. Then you can also exit via the back door.
Flowers- an amazing selection of flowers are available at the Sunday (?) market. Arrive early in the morning for the best selection.
Textiles- since each town has its own colors and patterns for textiles, travel directly to Solola if you desire the red stripes worn by women or the black and white wool worn by men.
Tofu- the tofu factory is not open to the public. It supplies tofu for all of Panajachel's restaurants, and is also sold in the tofu store in Sololá along with soy ice cream. Sololá's tofu store is near Central Park. From the northwest corner of Central Park walk north. It is on the right-hand side approximately 2 blocks away.
- Food stalls: wonderful soups and dishes of meat, beans, and rice with fresh handmade corn tortillas.
- Food stands:
- Fried chicken and french fries. Watch for a few minutes to wait for a fresh batch to come out of the fryer
- Tacos with fried onions
- Churros are more prevalent during the annual feria
- Corn on the cob- ask to have it the same as the person in front of you, with ketchup and mayonnaise or salt and lemon
- Various for bread, cakes, and desserts
This is not a tourist town, so mainly men go to bars. Women do not tend to frequent bars, although they may drink at home among their family.
Various small, clean hotels. Mainly cater to the traveling salesmen. Prices similar to those in Panajachel.