Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Elevation: 1,562 m / 5,125 ft
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala Vacation Guide
Lake Atitlan is one of the top destinations in Guatemala and the lake has been named one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Visitors can wander through many traditional Mayan villages that surround the Lake, practice adventure sports and navigate from town to town by boat.
Besides all the wonders this Lake treasures, the area of Lake Atitlan is also the best place to immerse you into the Mayan indigenous culture. Every village on the lake has its own Mayan language. Traditional dresses are worn, depending on their culture and beliefs. This magic place in the Western Highlands of Guatemala will leave you longing to come back to Guatemala!
Attractions and Activities
Discover Lake Atitlan
Guarded by the volcanoes Atitlan, San Pedro and Toliman, Lake Atitlan is a great combination of scenic beauty, peaceful atmosphere and rich in Mayan culture.
The Lake offers a big amount of activities for all tastes to keep you busy during your stay. Learn how to weave typical textiles, hike the mountains and volcanoes that surround the Lake or embark on a coffee or bird watching tour. If you are more into water sports, you can go kayaking, jet skiing, diving or for more adrenaline, refresh yourself by jumping from a 7m/23ft platform in San Marcos La Laguna. Lake Atitlan serves as a point for unforgettable experiences!
Excursions from Lake Atitlan to other destinations near by
Visit this mystic town that neighbors Lake Atitlan. Locals are very devoted to their religion, so you will most likely experience a Mayan ritual during your visit. Chichi's market is the most important attraction of this town. Every Thursday and Sunday a colorful market is prepared to receive visitors from all over the world.
The second largest city of the country is three hours away from Lake Atitlan. Surrounded by hills and mountains, Quetzaltenango offers a variety of activities to keep you bounded with nature.
Around three hours away from the Lake, Totonicapan is known because it hosts one of the most impressive churches in the country. La Iglesia de San Andres Xecul is a church that reflects the Mayan roots from the locals and its Christian heritage.
Shopping in Lake Atitlan
The biggest street to find souvenirs of all types is Calle Santander in Panajachel. Almost every village on the Lake has its own commercial street to sell similar souvenirs. These streets are easy to find as they are usually located where the boats disembark.
Villages around the Lake
Panajachel is the gateway to Lake Atitlan and to explore the many indigenous villages around the lake. The volcanoes San Pedro, Toliman and Atitlan set an incredible stage for this town. Panajachel also serves as a gateway to explore the twelve indigenous villages around Lake Atitlan.
Santa Catarina Palopo
A colorful town that you need to see at least once in your life! This little town still keeps its traditions and is an interesting mix of modern and antique. Besides, it host one of the most beautiful hotels in the country: Casa Palopó, a cozy place with a unique taste of art.
San Marcos La Laguna
Known as the "hippie town" of the Lake, this is the perfect place for you to relax and meditate. Find a big concentration of quality accommodations and vegetarian/vegan restaurants. It also hosts the natural reserve Cerro Tzankujil known for its jumping trampoline of 7m/23ft high. Perfect to submerge in the magical waters of Lake Atitlan!
San Juan La Laguna
San Juan La Laguna is growing in size and in tourism. It is known for its natural colored dyed fabrics, medical plants, local painters, spirituality and nature. San Juan La Laguna will give you a different and unique experience when you visit this peculiar village.
San Pedro La Laguna
This is the most visited village of the Lake. It has a big backpacker reputation and a global social scene for its amazing setting. Here you will find a big concentration of restaurants, pubs and travel agencies that offer plenty of activities to keep you entertained.
Santiago Atitlan is the cultural destination on the Lake. Here it was where the first inhabitants of the Lake settled. This is the reason why they keep their traditions at its purest. If possible, visit Santiago on a Sunday and you will see literally every local woman wearing their best typical clothes as part of their traditions. Santiago is also known for its worship of Maximon, The Big Grandpa, a Saint created by Mayan priests back in the days.
Location and Map
Located to the Southwest of Guatemala, Lake Atitlan is reachable within three hours from the City (160km / 100mi). Because of its weather and its stunning location on the Wester Highlands, Lake Atitlan is one of the most popular touristic destinations of the country. Lake Atitlan is a must for your Guatemala itinerary.