Street in Santa Catarina Palopó leading to Lake Atitlán
Santa Catarina Palopó is a municipality in the Sololádepartment of Guatemala. The municipality is located on the shores of Lake Atitlán, approximately 3 miles South-Southeast of Panajachel, a popular tourist destination. To the East-Southeast is San Antonio Palopó. The three aforementioned towns are connected by one paved road, which runs directly through Santa Catarina Palopó. The population of Santa Catarina Palopó is approximately 5,000 according to a 2011 census conducted by the town administration. The vast majority of the residents of the town are indigenous, descending from the KaqchikelMaya. Kaqchikel is the most common language spoken in the village, though Spanish is widely understood. Subsistence agriculture and fishing are the means of survival for most families within the community, however, a recently spurred tourist industry has created a market for souvenir style goods and services. Perhaps the most easily recognizable characteristic of Santa Catarina Palopó is the blue huipil, or blouse, which is worn prominently by the women of the community. Though the guipil has been worn since the 16th century, it may seem to be particularly indigenous trait, the blue style is, in fact, the result of very recent western influences.