Considered as Central America’s most diverse country, Guatemala offers stunning natural scenery and amazing landscape.
Guatemala does not promise you an easy, smooth sailing travel. Remember: the country has seen its fair share of tragedies from earthquakes to hurricanes and flooding and landslides. In addition to that, less than 2% of the country’s landmass is urbanised which leaves a vast majority of the territory untouched.
And perhaps it is one of the reasons why Guatemala continues to draw travellers for decades. It is a mysterious challenge—an adventure waiting to happen. Choose a path and go with it. Trek through volcanoes and jungles, go spelunking in its undisturbed caves, dive in swimming holes you only see in postcards or go white-water rafting on the lake.
When a lake in Guatemala in mentioned, one destination comes to mind. Situated in the southwestern part of Guatemalan Highlands is the deepest lake in Central America. Lake Atitlan, called Lago de Atitlan in Spanish, is a captivating treat to all five senses.
Clear but deep turquoise waters surrounded by three soaring super volcanoes help Lake Atitlan earn its title as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The air is fresh. The food is diverse. And activities to perk up your senses are plentiful.
Make no mistake; Lake Atitlan is not a single destination you can just explore in a few days. It is a collection of quiet towns and villages that are home to a primarily indigenous Mayan community.
Whatever your budget is and whether you prefer to settle in hotels, hostels or homestays, there are a lot of options for you. A dorm room can cost as low as $6 while a private double room can cost at least $25. The price points may vary a little depending on which village or town you are staying in.
Most tourists visit San Francisco Panajachel or Pana located at the edge of the lake. It is bustling with restaurants, accommodations, and visitors from all over the world. You can usually procure the supplies you need from the local market. Shop for everything you need as Pana has the best prices around or simply hang out at its cafés. It is an ideal starting point should you decide to boat to other towns.
People are not joking when they call Santa Cruz a nearly vertical town. It is the steepest of all the villages in Lake Atitlan and walking to village top can be a challenging feat. If you are feeling quite daring, you can find a diving spot in this town.
Accessible by either hiking or boating, Jaibalito is a small but charming town with a friendly local community and wonderful views of the lake. There is not much to do but simply hang out, breathe and relax. If you want to experience the mystical side of Lake Atitlan, visit the tiny village of San Marcos La Laguna. It is a popular destination for hippies, those who believe in the mystical powers of the lake, or those who are simply looking for a more spiritual journey. Jump into the water, have your chakras balanced or attend silent retreats while you are here.
If you are travelling through Guatemala on a shoestring budget then San Pedro La Laguna is ideal for you. More commonly known as the backpacker town, San Pedro is home to the cheapest accommodations that are perfect if you are in for a long-term trip. There are plenty of things you can do too. If you are physically fit, hike through San Pedro Volcano. It will be difficult but the reward is priceless—a magnificent lake view from above.
Albeit a bit isolated from other towns, Santiago is the largest town on Lake Atitlan. It is built on the slopes of the Toliman Volcano. From here, you can climb the San Pedro Volcano but expect the trail to be much more difficult and dangerous. The town is known for its religious background with a unique blend of Mayan and Catholic beliefs.
Travelling through Guatemala is not a walk in the park. Let us make your trip more convenient and more memorable with fewer worries. Book through www.clbglobaltravel.com, send us an inquiry or give us a call for more information.
Charles is a world traveler having lived in 44 states and 11 countries and traveled to dozens more. He and his wife spend time between London, Ireland, Canada, and the Philippines.