Panajachel is the most touristic of the towns along the lake, which means you also have to most options and competition when it comes to hotels and restaurants. The main Calle Santander is lively and packed with local indigenous vendors selling handmade clothing, jewelry, bags and just about everything in between — including great varieties of local wool products. Its also the best access point along the lake — with two roads out of town and plenty of traffic. Buses leave from the Calle Principal, heading to various destinations throughout Guatemala. Also, a number of tourist offices here offer shuttles to these locations, and even to as far away as Mexico. If you’ve stayed longer than planned (it happens) and need to get to your next destination fast, Panajachel is probably your best bet.
Panajachel also offers a supermarket, a health food store, numerous ATMS, a few Spanish schools, and a bilingual primary school that works with foreign teachers and volunteers, both short and long term. And if staying long term, Panajachel certainly is the least-remote feeling town on Atitlan, which can be a plus or minus depending on what you’re looking for. We’ve found also, that Pana seems to be the meeting point for at least a certain percentage of the middle-aged expats living around the lake.
Panajachel can easily be traversed by foot. However, tuk-tuks are numerous, and for 5Q you can head anywhere in town quickly.
Both banks and ATMS are numerous. Head down Calle Santander and you’ll find a couple options, specifically near the intersection with Calle Principal.