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San Lucas Toliman

According to the inhabitants, the name of San Lucas Tolimán has two origins and meanings. One of those is in the language Kaqchikel with the word “Tulimán” which means place where the Tul or Tule is harvested, which is an aquatic plant that can be found in abundance on the shores of Lake Atitlan.  The other origin is attributed to the nahuatl (Mexican) word “Toloman” which means "chief of the toltecas". In Mexico, there are various places that also have the name “Tolimán” and this could indicate that the name could have come from Mexico at the time of the conquest. 


It is said that the town of San Lucas Tolimán has prehispanic origins and that it was officially established as a town around the year 1540.

According to the report of the Royal Audience of the Mayor of San Lucas Toliman, don Manuel de Gregorio y Pinillos, on the 10th of July in 1765, mentions that: “San Lucas Toliman is an annex of Santiago Atitlan, which depends on seventy-one tributaries who spend their time planting beans and corn, as well as transporting passengers that come from the coast.”  This information indicates that the town has had communication with the Boca Costa and the Southern Coast of the country for a long time.  

Originally, the town of San Lucas Tolimán belonged to Santiago Atitlán, during the period of the colonial village of Santiago Atitlán.  

According to the description of a friar from that time, San Lucas Toliman was officially elevated to the category of Municipality in the year 1877 and the first birth book, archived in the Municipality, shows the birth certificate of Simeona Enríquez Perez, born September 2nd of that year, as the first certificate authorized in San Lucas.  This birth certificate was signed by Mr. J. Angel Santizo, in substitution for the Municipal Mayor Inés Ovalle, who didn’t know how to sign.  This affirms that the town was categorized as a Municipality since September 2nd of 1877, during the liberal government of General Justo Rufino Barrios.


In those times Catholic doctrine was taught to girls beginning when they were six years old, from two in the afternoon until sunset, and boys of the same age would receive Christian Instruction for two hours.  The teaching consisted in reciting all the doctrine and prayers and doing exercises with the questions of the catechism.  All of this was led by a Missionary and two elderly Maya men, called “fiscales”.  


The season of Lent was a time when the indigenous people would prepare for their yearly obligation of confession and communion, this was taught to them in their native language of Kaqchikel.  

The titular celebration of San Lucas Tolimán is in honor of St. Luke the Evangelist.  The celebrations start on the 15th and end on the 20th of October, with the 18th being the main day.  This is the day that the Catholic Church commemorates the death of St. Luke the Evangelist, the patron of the town.


  • Coffee: In 2019, 27 growers from San Lucas Toliman sold their coffee to the Mission.

  • Construction: Since 2015, the Mission has built 16 block homes, 15 hybrid homes, 191 wood homes, and 371 fuel-efficient stoves in San Lucas Toliman.

  • Healthcare: In 2019, San Lucas Toliman was served by 2 visiting medical groups who conducted a total of 204 consults. 

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