San Pedro La Laguna is located at the base of the volcano of the same name. It is a medium sized community that was founded by the Spanish in the late 1540’s and became a pueblo in the late 1570’s. San Pedro is rather laid back with a traditional Tz’utujil society that centers around the cathedral uphill from the lake. The tourist area is concentrated in the area by the waterfront between the two Launcha docks. The San Pedro docks are about 1 kilometer apart; one dock for boats going to Santiago and the other serves the boats that go from town to. town on the north side of Lake Atitlan
Dominating the high spot in town is the Church of Saint Peter, which is surrounded by a lively market where more traditional rhythms of Mayan society can be seen. The majority of the people in the market area are clad in indigenous outfits. The church itself was built after the 1902 earthquake and in front of the church is a park with a fountain topped with a figure of Saint Peter and a large chicken. On one side of the park is a fishing boat with nets also a symbol of St. Peter.
The market, like in most of the small towns around the lake are mainly for residents and sell meats, vegetables, pottery and other household items. The stalls do not cater to tourists and few tourists can be seen in the market area. Between the Church and the market is a small open square where children play soccer and other games…on one of the days we were visiting the market the children were settingoff firecrackers and having a great time.
Going back to the tourist area we visited a museum, Museo Tz’unun Ya which is a historical museum that shows two films, one about the formation of the lake and villages around the lake and the second about the history of San Pedro from 1940-2010. The second film was over an hour long and was followed by a short tour of the museum
which showed a typical family with a woman weaving using a back strap loom and a man getting ready to go to work in the fields. The path between the two docks is filled with typical tourist stall and shops selling tee shirts, small weavings, paintings, leather goods etc.; restaurants and bars; and language schools where you can study for a day,month or extended periods of time. A very commercial area.