Santiago Atitlán is the largest community around Lake Atitlan, with a strong indigenous identity. Many Atitecos (as its people are known) proudly adhere to a traditional Tz'utujil Maya lifestyle. Women wear purple-striped skirts and huipiles embroidered with colored birds and flowers, while older men still wear lavender or maroon striped embroidered pants. The town's cofradías maintain the syncretic traditions and rituals of Maya Catholicism. Most men dedicate their livelihoods to fishing, farming, boat building and construction work. Women contribute to the family income by elaborating handicrafts, more specifically woven tapestries and embroidered blouses.
The lake’s landscape features three volcanoes. Facing the lake from Santiago, sits the oldest volcano, San Pedro, rising to 9,908 feet (3,020 meters). Directly behind Santiago are two volcanoes, although they often appear to be only one. In front is Tolimán, standing at 10, 361 feet (158 meters) and behind Tolimán looms the youngest volcano, Atitlán, at a height 11,605 feet (3,537 meters). Volcán Atitlán is the only one of the three believed to still be active, though its last eruption occurred in 1853. Most of the year, the volcanoes are clearly visible in their supreme grandeur.