Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Lake Atitlan is a must-visit on any trip to Guatemala. The expansive body of water is nestled within the verdant Guatemalan Highlands, offering stunning views of the Toliman, Atitlan, and San Pedro Volcanoes. Not only is Lake Atitlan absolutely gorgeous, it’s also steeped in rich Mayan culture—promising plenty to see, do and discover on any trip to this “Land of Eternal Spring”.
Ready to learn more? Don’t miss this glimpse of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala:
There are countless outdoor adventures to be had around Lake Atitlan. For starters, be sure to kayak to the center of the lake for excellent views of the surrounding hills. Horse lovers can go riding through pristine countryside (and even enjoy a gourmet four-course meal after the tour!). Hikers can climb Indian Nose for a memorable sunrise. Divers can go deep underwater to explore a volcanic crater. No matter what gets your adrenaline pumping, you’re bound to find something at Lake Atitlan!
The Nature Reserves
There are a couple of different nature reserves that offer hiking and nature walking. Cerro Tzankujil is just west of San Marcos and provides a variety of hiking trails as well as a 25-foot pier perfect for jumping into the tranquil waters below. The Atitlan Nature Reserve boasts well-maintained walking trails, a zip line, hanging bridges and a butterfly garden.
Lake Atitlan is surrounded by villages, each with their own distinctive flair. A few of the more popular villages include:
Panajachel: Also known as “Gringotenango”, this village is perhaps the most touristy of them all. But with the tourists come a great variety of restaurants and shopping. For a more authentic experience, explore the town outside of Calle Santander.
San Pedro: A favorite spot for backpackers and families, San Pedro is the base for those who wish to climb San Pedro Volcano. The town has numerous cafes, restaurants and hotels, as well as good Spanish language schools.
Santiago: This unique village is perhaps most well-known for being the home of Maximon, a Mayan folk saint. It’s also a great spot for shopping for local arts and crafts.
Santa Catarina Palopo: This picture-perfect town doesn’t see as many tourists as the other villages listed above. For a uniquely memorable stay, Casa Palopo is a gorgeous hotel with pristine vistas of the lake and surrounding three volcanoes.
San Marcos: This village is more than just a quaint and quiet escape. San Marcos is also known for its unique spiritual energy, attracting people from around the globe who seek a center for optimal well-being. If this sounds like you, then don’t miss Las Piramedes, a center for meditation and holistic health.
Lake Atitlan might be touristy, but that doesn’t take away from the region’s intrinsic charm and beauty. To learn more, don’t miss these great guides by Globetrotter Girls and Never-ending Voyage.
Have you visited Lake Atitlan before? Is it on your bucket list?
I was always curious about this area, great breakdown of what’s around Casey!