Author Aldous Huxley once called it ‘the most beautiful lake in the world’ and on first sight it would be difficult not to agree. Not only is it the scenery stunning but some of the most traditional villages in Guatemala are located here. Dotted around the shoreline, these villages are home to different indigenous groups with distinct languages, cultures, costumes and textiles.
Lake Atitlan is a wonder of startlingly blue, wind-tossed waters set against a backdrop of three enormous volcanoes jabbing at the southern sky - Tomilan, Atitlán and San Pedro. Along the shores of the lake are a number of indigenous villages where life has changed little over the centuries. All the lakeside villages are accessed by small motor boats, called lanchas, but it is possible to hike around the lake which is one of the best ways to experience the rural communities. There are also a number of fantastic local markets full of colour and produce and without a tourist trinket in sight.
- Explore the many lakeside villages and visit the revered idol Maximon (pronounced Mashimon)
- Stay at Casa Palopó, one of the best hotels in Guatemala
- Visit one of the highland markets, much less-visited by tourists
- For the more adventurous among you, kayak on the lake, enjoy the adrenaline thrill of a zip line or the unique experience of diving in the volcanic crater-lake.
- Or if you are looking for something more relaxing, experience the spirituality of the lake at one of the many yoga centres.
- Excellent bird watching opportunities
Beyond the Ordinary
For a spectacular view of Lake Atitlan hike San Pedro Volcano that towers 3,020 metres on the east side of the lake. It is a tough hike up but worth it for the breath-taking views.