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San Juan La Laguna

San Juan La Laguna is just 1.2 miles (2km) west by road from busy San Pedro, on a rise above a spectacular bay, but this neat, mellow village has escaped many of the excesses of its neighbor, and some travelers find it a more tranquil setting in which to study Spanish or experience local life. San Juan is special: the Tz'utujil inhabitants take pride in their craft traditions – particularly painting and weaving – and have developed their own tourism infrastructure to highlight their culture to outsiders.

Perhaps part of what makes it all run so well is the communal spirit: coffee growers, fishers, organic farmers, natural dyers and widows are among the like-minded groups who've formed cooperatives here.

As you wander around the village, you'll notice various murals depicting aspects of Tz'utujil life and legend.

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