Lake Atitlan or Lago de Atitlan - Travelers have praised this natural wonder for centuries. Including Aldous Huxley, who compared Lake Atitlan to the picturesque Lake Como, “…Como…touches the limit of the permissibly picturesque; but Atitlan is Como with the additional embellishment of several immense volcanoes. It is really too much of a good thing.” When visiting you will experience the same breathtaking views Huxley so eloquently wrote about in his 1934 travel book, Beyond the Mexique Bay.
Lake Atitlan is also included in the New York Times Bestseller, A Traveler’s Life List: 1,000 Places to See Before You die, where it is described as, “…an oasis of serenity.” Recently heard on the streets of Panajachel, “The energy feels more powerful than Sedona (Arizona).”
The Mayan translation of Atitlán is, “the place where the rainbow gets its colors.” Located in the highlands of Guatemala at 5,000 feet above sea level, it is only an hour and half drive to the Pacific Ocean. The lake is 54 square miles on the surface and has depths of up to 1100 feet. Three volcanoes surround the lake, Toliman, Atitlán and San Pedro.
The formation of Lake Atitlán is said to be from a collapsed caldera from over a million years ago. Underwater discoveries of Mayan ruins have been found at locations called Sambaj and Chiutinamit. Numerous hot springs have been discovered along the shores of Lake Atitlan, the larger ones are located in Santa Catarina and San Antonio.
Since the peace treaty signing, Lake Atitlan has developed into one of the best vacation spots in Central America. Numerous styles of accommodations, from backpacker’s hostels to boutique and luxury hotels, along with food from street vendors to gourmet cuisine can be found at very affordable rates.
Paragliding, nature reserve, zip-lining, hiking, mountain biking, dirt biking, and water sports, are some of the activities enjoyed while visiting Lake Atitlan. Most hotels, restaurants and activities are located in Panajachel, Santa Cruz, San Marcos, San Pedro and Santiago, towns surrounding the lake.