For years Lake Atitlan in Guatemala has been one of the favorite spots for hippies, backpackers, expats and travellers. It is flanked by three 10,000-foot volcanoes and is the deepest lake in Central America with a depth of about 340 metres to the extreme and averaging depth of 220 metres..
Called as Lago de Atitlan in Spanish, the lake is located in the Solola Department of southwestern Guatemala and feeds into two nearby rivers. It is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world and is about 50 kilometres west-northwest of Antigua.
The oligothrophic lake is formed by a volcanic explosion and is immensely popular among international tourists because of its extraordinary landscape as well as crystal clear water, which is of drinking quality.
The lake offers winning combination of scenic beauty and a good tourist infrastructure. It offers a relaxed atmosphere beside easy accessible to the famous Mayan culture.
Culture of Lake Atitlan
Surrounded by several villages, the lake had habitats of Maya culture. The largest lakesdie communities were Santiago Atitlan and they worshipped idol formed by the fusion of traditional Mayan deities. They can be reached either by boat or roads from the mountain.
Entry to Lake Atitlan
Panajachel, or just Pana in short, is the main port from where the lake can be entered for tourists coming from Mexico, Antigua or Guatemala City. The village is dustry and bustling with busy streets and high traffic. Those who want to avoid Pana can take a taxi boat and check other more authentic villages that surround the lake. Solola village, north of Pana, interest visitors more.
Vibe at Atitlan
Pana is the most developed tourist infrastructure of all the towns around the lake and it hosts a mix of Guatemalan weekenders, tour groups as well as retiree expats. The town is best for shopping, restaurants, nightlife and transport. Watching sunset, behind the volcanoes and across the water, is something unforgettable in life.
List of Villages and Towns at Atitlan
Panajachel – It is the most visited town by international tourists.
San Pedro La Laguna – The place is mostly visited by backpacker. It is a small town.
San Marcos La Laguna – The place is basically more for meditation and less for party.
Santiago Atitlan – The small town is famous for a shrine to Maximon.
Santa Cruz la Laguna – It has magical surroundings and is just a small village north of Lake Atitlan.
Jaibalito – The small village is best for the foodies of all budgets and it has standard public lancha stops.
San Juan – The place is popular for its natural colored dyed fabrics. It is currently an emerging destination for tourists.
San Antonio Palopo – It is a simple Mayan village and famous for its distinctive ceramics.
Santa Catarina Palopo – The small village has abundance of traditional Kaqchikel culture.