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All About Atitlán Lake, Guatemala

Atitlán Lake, Guatemala

* Guest blog, posted by:   Francisco Grazioso
                                              (General Manager)
                                              (Toscana Tours Guatemala)

Located at 145 kms of Guatemala city, driving is about 3 hours we have Atitlán Lake on the department of Sololá, Atitlán comes from the language Nahuatl, and means among the waters, this beautiful lake has 12 little villages around it, and 3 volcanos. Santiago, San Pedro and Atitlán, the three volcanoes can be climbed.

On this lake you can swim from 6 am to 2 pm because after 2 comes like the people around the lake know it Xocomil, that comes from the cachiquel language and means Sins picker, is about a big waves such a high tide on the sea, the boats can go on but you can not swim this tide is made from the winds of north and south that arrives to the lake.

When you arrive to the lake you have to drive the pan American highway, and you will see the highlands of Guatemala is know so because is above 1700 meters above the see, and sometimes you can see permanent fog on highway. You arrive to Panajachel, and you do it by Santander Street that is a street that has a restaurants, ice cream parlors, tattoo shops, and piercieng, and also coffee shops, is very nice can walk by 1 kilometer on the Santander Street to arrive to the lake. A nice place to lunch over Santander Street can be Casa Blanca owned by a German Couple that gives you international food, now if you rather pizza we can recommend you Circus Bar, one of the best pizzas in Guatemala, the name Circus Bar is because the owners use to be circus workers and makes a amazing pizza and also if you like the night life on front of Circus Bar you can find the Chapiteu.

Back in Santander Street also you can rent a bikes or you can move on Panajachel in Tuk Tuk, a special kind of taxi a motorcycle capacity for 3 people You can find textiles from the area there regional suits also at good prices, in one corner is a shopping of Chocolate, a small Italian factory welcomes you for you can try the chocolates of the place, nice combinations with coffee, orange and cardamom, a spice that grows in Guatemala, the whole country is number 1 of exportation worldwide of this seed.

The most beautiful lake on the world, named so by Nat Geo, and the British writer Aldous Huxley Place of inspiration of many people tourists and locals, this beautiful lake offers a nice views in the months of November and December, the weather is nice among 17 and 24 degrees in December may change.

You arrive to the shore and you can take a boat collective or private to visit any small village around the lake, the prices in collective boat cost Q50.00 quetzales about 6.00 Us dollars for go and back from Panajachel to Santiago Atitlán, in Private depends of the number of people them charge you about 70 us dollars for 3 hours visiting the villages that you like around the lake.

For say the truth we recommend visit Santiago Atitlán and the beautiful church of the year 1550, and watch how the mayan people dress the saints, to different way than a regular catholics do, and also you can visit Mashimón or Maximón that is the lake keeper, this character pass from house and house in what the natives of the place knows like Cofradía, them smoke with him, and drink a special drink that is almost pure alcohol and offer to him.

For arrive there and to San Pedro la Laguna that is other beautiful place known by the people because in San Pedro exist Spanish schools and beautiful views of the lakes and coffee plantations you should use the boat to arrive there.

Santa Catalina Palopó, we can drive from Panajachel to Santa Catalina, 5 kms and enjoy the wonderful view that has there to the lake, and walk and check the textiles and ceramics that the people of the village has to offer to the tourist. Here you can visit the beautiful Colonial Church, also the viewer to the lake you must go walking by 5 kilometers in a company of a tour guide of the place, hot spring waters, you can swim on the hot spring waters located to a short distance of Santa Catalina Palopó, you also can walk in the panoramic paths of the place.

San Antonio Palopó, on this place has a nice view to the lake is about 10 kms away from Panajachel, and the women share the regional suit with you and ask you to wear it if you are woman, enjoy of the ceramics too. Has 2 churches only one open to the public on the front you can enjoy of the Lake Atitlán. The main work is the ceramic, the paint is bringed from Italy, all the people who lives there open their houses for you can see how the textils are doing by them and also, you can see how ceramic is doing. The ceramic work is a work showed to the people of the village by an American guy. Here you will see almost all houses are painted in white color.

To this both places you can arrive driving from Panajachel. When you finish the tour we can recommend lunch at posada de Don Rodrigo, is a place where you can find a happy women making tortillas for the lunch, go up to the second level and you will have a wonderful view for you lunch. Enjoy the national food such as Plato Chapin, which has a steak, with guacamole salad, and tortillas, tortillas is the national dish of Guatemala is eated in every meal.

When you finish your lunch you can visit the lacustrian museum of the Hotel, there is a museum where you can find supplies of a mayan civilization, before the lake was there about 1500 years ago exist a mayan city called samabaj, there you can find the supplies that a group of Canadian divers found in the year 2010 on the lake.

I should say that the lake is so deep that nobody find the bottom, the deepest found is 3000 meters, and this tour is something incredible.

       * Guest blog, posted by:   Francisco Grazioso
                                              (General Manager)
                                              (Toscana Tours Guatemala)


  1. This look like great tips for newly weds.

    1. Thank you MARIA LISBOA that you like our blog posts. You can also subscribe us for getting articles in your mail.


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