The 23 best things to do in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala (2022)

Fun ways to enjoy Lake Atitlán, Guatemala on a backpacker budget. Including adventure and leisure activities, viewpoints, and best things to do to get in touch with the local culture.

Ask anyone who has traveled to Guatemala and they'll most likely say Lake Atitlán was one of their favorite places they visited.

A mystical, freshwater lake located in a massive volcanic crater, Lake Atitlán offers unparalleled natural beauty. It is the deepest lake in Central America, formed by a gigantic volcanic eruption that occurred thousands of years ago.

Looking out over the lake, you'll see glassy blue water drifting peacefully past local villages with huge volcanoes towering in the background. Rugged cliffs and lush greenery surround the lake, with tiny dwellings scattered amongst the jungle landscape.

While traveling around the lake, you'll encounter commercialized tourist towns and traditional local villages. There is no shortage of delicious food, gorgeous handicrafts and exciting adventure activities around Lake Atitlán. There are so many awesome things to do in this area that suit every type of traveler, whether you like active, adrenaline-pumping activities or peaceful, relaxing activities.

With so much beautiful nature around, Lake Atitlán is also great for budget backpackers because connecting with nature while traveling often doesn't cost any money to enjoy.

There are plenty of free things to do in Lake Atitlán where you can experience the rich natural world and the local cultures for no money at all.

So for any travelers wondering where to travel in Guatemala, definitely make a stop in the country's Southwestern Highlands and head over to Lake Atitlán. Once you get there and are wondering what to do in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, check out this list of all the best things to do in Lake Atitlán, most from personal experience.

If you are wondering about safety, check the article Is it safe to travel to Guatemala? for details.

Here are the top things to do in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala.

  1. Visit all the different towns by boat
  2. Cliff jump into Lake Atitlán
  3. Stand up paddle board on Lake Atitlán
  4. Go paragliding over Lake Atitlán
  5. Explore the nature reserve
  6. Hike the volcanoes
  7. Hike Indian's Nose
  8. Take a yoga class
  9. Experiment with spiritual practices in San Marcos
  10. Watch the sunrise or sunset over the lake
  11. Chill out in a café
  12. Enjoy a meal with a view
  13. Visit Mirador San Jorge
  14. Visit Mirador San Pedro
  15. Visit Mirador San Juan
  16. Admire the local artwork in Santa Catarina
  17. Browse the captivating street art in San Juan
  18. Shop for local handicrafts
  19. Visit a chocolate or coffee shop
  20. Shop at a local market
  21. Take a Mayan cooking class
  22. Witness a Mayan weaving demonstration
  23. Do a nearby Worldpackers experience

The 23 best things to do in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala (1)

1. Visit all the different towns by boat

The charismatic towns surrounding the lake are the foundation for the tourism industry in Lake Atitlán. Modern Guatemalan lifestyles mix with traditional Mayan cultures to fill the streets surrounding the lake with history, energy and amenities for travelers.

You can find cheap backpacker hostels, local home stays and luxury resorts, as well as local street markets, trendy cafés and high quality restaurants. Some towns are very touristy and developed, some towns are quiet with very few tourists and an authentic Mayan atmosphere.

All throughout the lake there are small boats, known as "lanchas" that travel across the lake bringing people to all the different towns. They are usually very cheap and you pay the drivers in cash.

The boats don't really have specific times that they run because the drivers wait for the boat to fill up before they leave the dock. So if you are the first one on the boat, you could wait for an hour before it leaves. If you are the last one on the boat it will leave straight away.

Some of the best towns to visit around Lake Atitlán include:

Panajachel: The most developed and easily accessible town .

San Pedro: The backpacker hub, great for partying and hiking the volcanoes.

San Marcos: The town for hippies, yogis, and nature-loving spiritual travelers.

Santa Cruz: The charming town located atop a very steep hill.

San Juan: The small and artistic town, great for weaving demonstrations and souvenir shopping.

Santa Catarina: The local town next to Panajachel, full of local artwork.

San Antonio, San Jorge: Both very local towns with few tourists, great for practicing Spanish.

There are a few more towns as well, but Panajachel, San Pedro, San Marcos and San Juan are the most popular among travelers. Throughout this list of the best things to do in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, I'll mention more highlights of the different towns.

There are lots of tour companies offering day tours around the lake, but booking a guided tour is not necessary for exploring Lake Atitlán. It is very easy and affordable to hop across the lake on a boat on your own, and then you have the freedom to do whatever you want when you arrive.

(Video) What to do in LAKE ATITLAN, GUATEMALA: TOP 10 THINGS TO DO AND SEE

If you need inspiration on what to do in the various towns around Lake Atitlán, keep reading!

Adventure activities and hiking in Lake Atitlán:

2. Cliff jump into Lake Atitlán

Scattered around Lake Atitlán there are lots of rocks and cliffs that make for a fun afternoon of cliff jumping. Climb the rocks and launch yourself into the refreshing water on a hot day, and I guarantee you'll feel blissful.

There are two perfect spots for cliff jumping, the first being on the rocks next to San Antonio. The village of San Antonio is located in a little cove, and on the edges of the cove you'll see lots of young local boys on the rocks fishing or jumping in and swimming. The rocks here are quite small and there's some that are a little bigger, so you can pick which height is good for you.

San Marcos also has a nature reserve known as Reserva Natural del Cerro Tzankujil. This Nature Reserve is one of the best things to do in San Marcos and in Lake Atitlán, and there is also a fun jump here. The locals call it the "trampoline", and it is basically a wooden platform that is 12 meters high where you can jump into the lake.

3. Stand up paddle board on Lake Atitlán

The best way to experience Lake Atitlán is from the water. Aside from just swimming and walking along the water, there are lots of water sports where you can get a good workout while admiring the amazing view around you.

GuateSUP is my favorite tour company in Lake Atitlán. They offer SUP (stand up paddle boarding) tours, SUP yoga, night paddling tours with LED lights, sunrise paddling tours, wake surfing, and offer hourly board rentals for experienced paddlers who want to go on their own.

The owner of GuateSUP, JC, is super knowledgeable and loves to help travelers get active on the lake. While paddling on the lake, you get a 360 degree view of all the volcanoes, mountains and villages surrounding the lake. The feeling is truly surreal.


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4. Go paragliding over Lake Atitlán

After seeing Lake Atitlán from the water, experience it from the sky! Paragliding is a super fun, thrilling way to get an aerial view of the whole landscape and is also a great way to step out of your comfort zone while traveling.

Basically you are strapped to a parachute, then the wind whisks you off a high cliff and you get to soar through the air over the lake while taking in the views.

Though you need to have a bit of courage to go paragliding, it's not as scary as something like skydiving or bungee jumping. Once you get off the ground, flying around is quite peaceful and not too fast. Weather conditions may affect how long you are in the air, however, so make sure the conditions are favorable before you go.

Real World Paragliding in Panajachel is a reputable company that puts safety first and has experienced staff members and lots of good reviews from other travelers.

5. Explore the nature reserve

Located just outside Panajachel, the Atitlán Nature Reserve (Reserva Natural Atitlán) is the perfect place for nature lovers and explorers.

There is lots to do in the Nature Reserve, so plan for at least a few hours exploring to see everything. It costs 70 Quetzales to enter, and then you can access everything inside the area.

One of the attractions inside is a Butterfly Geodome, which helps butterflies grow and thrive in a safe environment. Here you can learn about the life cycle of butterflies and observe the delicate creatures up close.

You can also go zip-lining over the jungle, which is one of the best things to do in Lake Atitlán for adrenaline seekers. Soar over luscious jungle and coffee plantations while strapped securely to a harness, you will feel like one with the birds!

The Nature Reserve is also full of hiking trails, suspension bridges, and wildlife such as monkeys, coatis and hummingbirds. Sometimes all you have to do is walk through the Nature Reserve, end up on the little stretch of sandy beach next to the lake, and read a book or write in a journal to soak up the peaceful atmosphere of the natural world.

If you're traveling alone in Lake Atitlan, spending time in the Nature Reserve is a great way to deepen your solo travel experience.


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6. Hike the volcanoes

Lake Atitlán is famous for its three volcanoes that surround the lake.

You can climb all of them, though it is always recommended to hire a local guide to assist you along the way. The guides are very affordable, and their knowledge of the area and the elements is worth the money. Most hiking tours include camping overnight so you can watch the sunrise and sunset at the top of the volcanoes.

As there are lots of tour companies and private local guides, just inquire at your hostel or with a tour company in whichever town you are staying in. San Pedro and Santiago Atitlán are the closest lakeside towns for hiking the volcanoes, but tour companies with hiking information reside in every town around Lake Atitlán.

For any hike up a volcano, it is always recommended to bring warm clothing as the temperature can drop at the high altitudes. Especially if you are camping overnight, pack clothing for all weather conditions. Guides will usually have first aid and camping gear with them, just be responsible for packing your own suitable clothes.

Volcán Atitlán has an elevation of 3,535 meters and takes about five hours to climb up and three hours to climb down. Volcán Tolimán is a little bit smaller, with an elevation of 3,158 meters. It takes about four hours to climb up and three hours to climb down.

(Video) Guatemala Destination Guide | Lake Atitlan Guatemala | Guatemala Travel Vlog

Volcán San Pedro is the most popular volcano hike in Lake Atitlán with an elevation of 3,020 meters. This volcano takes roughly four hours to climb up and 3 hours to climb back down. The hiking time depends on your fitness level of course, but these are average times stated by other travelers.

7. Hike Indian's Nose

Indian's Nose is a small mountain located in between San Juan and San Marcos. This is one of the best sunrise spots in Lake Atitlán, and the hike usually takes less than an hour so you don't need to wake up insanely early. You can book a guided hike with any tour company in any town, though San Pedro, San Juan and San Marcos are convenient starting points for the hike.

The name "Indian's Nose" comes from the shape of the mountain, which some say looks like a man lying on his back, face up. The highest peak resembles the shape of the man's nose. This is a nice day hike for those who want to get active but don't want to commit to hiking an entire volcano.


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Relaxing activities in Lake Atitlán:

8. Take a yoga class

In the relaxing atmosphere of Lake Atitlán, many travelers become eager to calm their chattering minds and switch off for a while. Doing yoga is one of the best things to do in Lake Atitlán because there are so many yoga centers thriving in this corner of Guatemala.

Whether you are saying somewhere for a while and doing a yoga retreat, or simply want to drop into a class and try yoga for an hour, there are lots of opportunities to do yoga around Lake Atitlán.

In Panajachel, Casa Del Arte offers weekly yoga classes for all levels that you can just drop in to. More experienced yogis can test their skills doing yoga on a paddle board or trying Acroyoga (partner yoga) with GuateSUP.

In Santa Cruz, you have a wide variety of choices for yoga studios, including DiviniTree Yoga Studio, Nourish Santa Cruz, Yoga Center Santa Cruz, Luma Yoga and Village Yoga Santa Cruz.

Rise and Shine Hostel in San Pedro offers yoga and meditation, and San Marcos is like the yoga capital of Lake Atitlán because it has so many studios and retreat centers.

Eagle's Nest, Las Pirimides, The Yoga Forest, Kaivalya, Hostal La Paz, Hostel Del Lago and Sacred Paths Yoga are a few of the places in San Marcos that offer yoga classes to travelers.

Yoga is definitely one of the best things to do in San Marcos because many expats and yoga instructors have moved here to share their practice with the world, full-time. If you are very passionate about yoga and want to do it frequently, I recommend basing yourself in San Marcos.

9. Experiment with spiritual practices in San Marcos

As I just mentioned, San Marcos is packed with retreat centers offering yoga and meditation. San Marcos is actually known as the unofficial hippie capital of Lake Atitlán, where lots of backpackers go to experiment with spiritual ceremonies and rituals and get in touch with their divine selves.

San Marcos offers so many spiritual and mystical practices, and this attracts lots of travelers. Whether it be Reiki healings, crystal healings, cacao ceremonies, drum circles, guided meditations, lucid dreaming exercises, tribal and ecstatic dancing, massage therapies, Shamanic readings, psychic readings, and any other type of spiritual practice or activity you can think of, San Marcos is the place to find it.

10. Watch the sunrise or sunset over the lake

This is one of the best free things to do in Lake Atitlán because every town sits right on the lake so you have prime sunset or sunrise viewing from every single town. Depending on the direction the town faces, some towns are better for certain times of the day.

Panajachel and Santa Catarina are perfect for sunset, as you have a stunning view of all the volcanoes directly across the lake. San Marcos is in the perfect spot for sunrise because it faces towards the east.

But from any town, if the sun rising or setting is particularly mesmerizing, which often happens after thunderstorms in the evening, then you can enjoy a lovely view from anywhere on the lake. Just head out towards the water, set up camp on a dock or on the water's edge and take in the views.


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11. Chill out in a café

Small, comforting cafés reside in pretty much every town around Lake Atitlán. In the touristy towns like Panajachel, San Marcos and San Pedro, you'll find more westernized cafés similar to ones in Europe. Many offer delicious meals in addition to heart warming drinks and snacks.

But even in the less touristy towns, locals still like to indulge in a high quality coffee. If you need a break from exploring, settle in to any café, order a nice coffee and a pastry and just watch the world go by.

Lookouts and Viewpoints in Lake Atitlán:

12. Enjoy a meal with a view

Ente Restaurant, located up on the main road outside San Jorge, offers an incredible aerial view of the lake. The food is delicious and although a bit pricey for Guatemala, it's worth it when you feel like treating yourself.

You can go on the roof of the restaurant to take in the view of the lake and the volcanoes, or you can chill out in their hammock that overlooks the entire scene. Either way, this is a great lookout point over Lake Atitlán and you can indulge in some amazing food and drinks while you're there.

13. Visit Mirador San Jorge

Most villages around Lake Atitlán have their own "Mirador", or viewpoint. After hiking up for a short time, you can find an awesome lookout over the lake.

Mirador San Jorge can be accessed by hiking up through the village of San Jorge, or just by pulling over on the side of the main road that heads towards Panajachel (the same road Ente Restaurant is on).

This lookout gives you a view of the charming village of San Jorge on the right, and on the left you can look out over the lake and the volcanoes. You can even see Panajachel on the left, way down at sea level.

(Video) Visiting the Most Beautiful Lake in Central America | Lake Atitlan Guatemala | Guatemala Travel Vlog

A plus side of this Mirador: it is completely free!

14. Visit Mirador San Pedro

The Mirador in San Pedro is not free, but the 5 Quetzales entry fee is so worth it.

After hiking up through the village of San Pedro for about 20 minutes, you'll reach the hilltop wooden structure known as the Mirador. The structure was built by a local man named Felipe, who lives there with his family. So the 5 Quetzales entrance fee supports him and his family, which is a very worthy cause.

This lookout provides a lovely view over San Pedro and the lake. Towering hills and cliffs frame the scene, making for a great photo opportunity.


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15. Visit Mirador San Juan

You can see San Juan's Mirador from the town center, as it is set on a steep hill outside the town. Bring sturdy walking shoes and follow the road up to this lovely little view point for a spectacular lookout point.

Try to start this hike early in the day, as it tends to start raining around 2pm (especially during rainy season which is April to October).

Experience local culture in Lake Atitlán:

16. Admire the local artwork in Santa Catarina

Thanks to a community tourism project known as "Pintando Santa Catarina", all the locals have helped to pitch in and paint gorgeous artwork all over the town. Lots of buildings in the town have been painted blue and are covered in traditional designs.

The project aims to empower the local people, showcase their traditional art and attract tourists. It is a very beautiful sight to see: a charming local town like any other around Lake Atitlán, but where all the local buildings are slathered in art.

17. Browse the captivating street art in San Juan

Another town full of public artwork is San Juan La Laguna.

Located just a five minute boat ride away from San Pedro, San Juan is a very artistic town. The locals are Tz'utujil Mayans, and there is so much vibrant street art around the village that depicts important aspects of this culture.

You can find art depicting traditional weaving and indigenous customs, and of course all the street art is free to find and photograph. Just strolling around San Juan reveals so much of the thriving local culture and makes for amazing photo opportunities.

The street art is not only one of the best parts of San Juan, but its one of the best things to do in all of Lake Atitlán in my opinion.


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18. Shop for local handicrafts

Traditional weaving is a huge part of Mayan culture. Though some different towns are home to different Mayan ethnic groups, colorful textiles and beautiful handmade souvenirs are consistent throughout all of Lake Atitlán.

In most towns you can find shops and street market stalls selling gorgeous local goods including paintings, colorful clothes and bags, and other classic souvenirs like magnets, keychains, coasters, aprons, hats, and more.

When buying things at a street market, try your hand at haggling the price. Locals definitely charge tourists more than they should most of the time, and if you hesitate after they tell you the price, you'll find they immediately start to lower the price for you. This applies more to street markets than to actual shops. It is also important to always be respectful when haggling the price.

When buying something nice in a locally run shop, you don't necessarily need to bargain the price. Some locals work very hard for their pieces and get little reward for it.

So just use your judgement. If a local is willing to bargain, go for it. But if they do not want to lower the price, do not be offended. Paying a bit of money for a cool souvenir that benefits a local family is a great way to spend your money and be a more mindful traveler.

19. Visit a chocolate or coffee shop

Guatemala is full of delicious, locally made chocolate and coffee. As these are two of the world's greatest treasures, travelers should definitely treat themselves to a fair bit while traveling in Lake Atitlán.

There are nice coffee shops selling locally sourced coffee beans for cheap prices all over Lake Atitlán, but I found the best ones in San Juan, San Pedro and San Marcos. Café San Juan and Cafe Xocomil, both in San Juan were two of my favorite coffee shops in Lake Atitlán.

Sometimes coffee and chocolate shops are together in the same building, and you can find coffee infused chocolate bars as well as coffee and chocolate drinks. Nina's Chocolate in Panajachel is an amazing chocolate shop selling delicious artisan chocolates.

Local chocolate not only makes a delectable treat for yourself, but it makes a great souvenir for friends and family back home.

20. Shop at a local market

One of the best things to do in Lake Atitlán is to visit a local market.

(Video) 24 HOURS IN a REMOTE TREEHOUSE in LAKE ATITLÁN, GUATEMALA (santa cruz la laguna)

Markets are the best place to taste the fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables from the area you are staying in. It is also where lots of locals tend to congregate, so it is great for people-watching and learning a bit about the lifestyle. In Guatemala, markets are the perfect place for practicing your Spanish and buying cheap local produce.

Every town in Lake Atitlán has its own local market, but Panajachel has the biggest one. With a sprawling outdoor area and an entire inside market hall, the market is like a crazy maze but is full of so many delicious foods that it is worth braving the crowds. The market is always more crowded on weekends than during the week.

Be sure to try some local fruits like papayas, pineapples and bananas, as they are so sweet here in Guatemala. I also love sweet tamales, which are similar to corn bread and are served wrapped in a giant banana leaf.

21. Take a Mayan cooking class

To further experience classic Guatemalan food, take a cooking class to learn how to cook the cuisine yourself. Local classics that you may cook include tamales, tortillas, meat and veggies, pepian (Guatemalan stew) and desserts.

The locals will usually take you to the local market beforehand as well so you can buy fresh ingredients. This is one of the best ways to get in touch with local Guatemalan lifestyle in Lake Atitlán, as food is often a gateway to a different culture.

Some recommended cooking classes around Lake Atitlán include CECAP in Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlán Mayan Kitchen in San Pedro, and Ixiim Cooking School in Panajachel.

22. Witness a Mayan weaving demonstration

A huge part of Mayan culture is weaving.

Traditionally, Mayan women grow their own organic cotton, dye the thread using natural colors like beetroot, berries, roots and carrots, then use the thread to make clothing, blankets, and any other sort of textiles. They use a method called back strap weaving, and travelers who visit Lake Atitlán have the opportunity to watch a demonstration or even try weaving themselves.

Ethical Fashion Guatemala, located in Panajachel, offers weaving demonstrations and workshops where travelers can learn all about the traditional weaving process. Casa Flor Ixcaco, located in San Juan, is a weaving cooperative that offers three day workshops and in-depth demonstrations and classes for tourists. Run entirely by local women, Casa Flor Ixcaco is a great insight into the Mayan culture.

Even if you don't feel like booking a tour, wandering into a weaving center is valuable as well. The local women are always willing to explain and educate visitors about the traditional weaving process.

23. Do a nearby Worldpackers experience

One of the best ways to save money while traveling in Guatemala is to do a work exchange.

Worldpackers is loaded with hosts who are willing to take in travelers, give them free accommodation and introduce them to the local culture, all in exchange for a bit of work.

This is a great way to learn new skills, save money and immerse in local culture.

There are a few new hosts who have just added Worldpackers experiences in Lake Atitlán.

For example, you can work in a fun hostel in San Pedro or work in an eco hotel in San Juan or create photos, videos and digital content about a community project in Santa Cruz.

All of these work exchanges give you a few days off per week to enjoy Lake Atitlán at your leisure.

Many travelers begin their Guatemalan travels in the country's capital, Guatemala City. If you plan on spending more time here, there are a couple hostels offering work exchanges. In one hostel you work in reception and in another you can help with digital marketing and SEO.

Another popular destination in Guatemala is Antigua, a colonial city located in between Guatemala City and Lake Atitlán. Worldpackers has lots of work exchanges in Antigua for travelers who want a deeper experience with this gorgeous city. If you speak English and Spanish, you can work at a hostel and teach English to the local staff. One hostel needs volunteers to help with social media and digital marketing, and another hostel needs help with bartending and kitchen work.

Aside from the hostel experience, there are a few enriching cultural experiences on offer near Lake Atitlán. In Antigua you can volunteer with local children and help teach sports and languages, and in a beautiful city called Xela you can work as a hiking guide and lead trips into the Guatemalan Highlands.


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There are too many amazing opportunities to pass up in Guatemala.

Definitely spend some time in Lake Atitlán enjoying the natural beauty and the authentic Mayan culture.

If you ever manage to pull yourself away from Lake Atitlán, stop by Antigua, Xela or Guatemala City to participate in an awesome Worldpackers work exchange, and don't miss the chance to hike a volcano like Acatenango.

(Video) San Juan La Laguna | THE BEST TOWN IN LAKE ATITLAN | Lago de Atitlan Guatemala Travel Video Guide

FAQs

What is Lake Atitlan known for? ›

Gallery. Located in the department of Sololá, Lake Atitlán is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Guatemala, and was nominated as one of the seven wonders of the world. It is considered to be the most beautiful lake in the world, and it is also conceived as one of the most unique places.

Why is Lake Atitlan special? ›

Lake Atitlán

Lake Atitlán is renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Formed 84,000 years ago during an enormous volcanic eruption, Lake Atitlán is Central America's deepest lake, surrounded by mountains and volcanoes covered with blooming wildflowers most of the year.

Can you swim in Lake Atitlan? ›

It's generally considered safe to swim in Lake Atitlan. Many of the lake's hotels and resorts boast swimming areas and docks, and some of the towns also have public swimming areas. San Marcos, with its nature reserve and massive diving platform, is an especially popular spot for bathers.

How many days do you need at Lake Atitlan? ›

How many days do you need at Lake Atitlan? You need at least 3 days to explore the best bits of Lake Atitlan, take in the views from different vantage points, see a couple villages and experience local life.

Is Lake Atitlan worth visiting? ›

The great thing about Lake Atitlan is, that it easily entertains every type of traveler, and the location close to another popular must-visit place Antigua, makes it an unmissable stop, and it does not matter whether you have a couple of days, or your schedule allows you to visit Lake Atitlan only on a one-day trip ...

What is the safest city in Guatemala? ›

10 Safest Cities in Guatemala
  1. Antigua Guatemala. Antigua Guatemala was once the capital of Guatemala and reigned as the colonial capital until 1744 when a devastating earthquake destroyed the city. ...
  2. Chiquimula. ...
  3. Panajachel. ...
  4. San Pedro la Laguna. ...
  5. Chichicastenango. ...
  6. Quetzaltenango. ...
  7. Flores. ...
  8. Santa Elena.

Are there alligators in Lake Atitlan Guatemala? ›

3 answers. As for as I am aware, there are no alligators in Lake Atitlan. Also, the owner of Panasurf, Juan, would not allow you in the water if there were any.

Is Lake Atitlan warm? ›

The annual average temperature in Lake Atitlan is around 19°C to 25°C (66°F to 77°F). It never gets too cold or too hot which is what I heard about the weather in Lake Atitlan but I couldn't comprehend what they meant. You really need to be there to experience the perfect temperature!

What animals live in Lake Atitlan? ›

Many migratory birds use Lake Atitlán as a wintering ground: Pied-billed Grebe (Podylimbus podiceps), Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) and American Coot (Fulica Americana). Roadrunners (Geococcyx velox), which are typical for Xeric Associations occur in the region as well.

What is the best time of year to visit Guatemala? ›

The best time to visit Guatemala is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. However, the country has a pleasant climate that lends itself to year-round trips, with temperatures between 72°F and 90°F.

How clean is Lake Atitlan Guatemala? ›

Most of the lake has excellent water quality for recreational purposes; it is drinking-water quality. The less cleaner areas are at the front of the largest towns such as Santiago Atitlán, San Lucas and Panajachel.

How many days should I spend in Antigua Guatemala? ›

The gateway to Guatemala, Antigua is the perfect place to start or end your Guatemalan trip, after a visit to the famous Tikal ruins. Three to five days is the ideal time to spend in Antigua; wandering the streets, climbing the volcanoes, soaking up the traditions and brushing up on your Spanish.

What can I bring to Lake Atitlan Guatemala? ›

What to Wear When Traveling in Guatemala, Lake Atitlan is a hiking and sightseeing paradise. Lightweight pants, jeans and a short-sleeved shirt are perfect attire. Good sturdy shoes or hiking boots are recommended. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are a must when hiking as the sun is very strong during daytime hours.

Is Lake Atitlan cheap? ›

The Central American country of Guatemala is definitely one of the The World's Cheapest Destinations and since the backpackers have kept coming even when moneyed tourists have gotten spooked, the chilled-out gathering spot of Lake Atitlan is still a magnet for budget travelers.

When should I go to Lake Atitlan? ›

Although Lake Atitlan is great to visit throughout the year, aside from Hurricane prone months, the best time of year to travel is right after the winter season.

Is it safe to visit Lake Atitlan? ›

Lake Atitlan is very safe — one of the safest places in Latin America. Like all other destinations, keep an eye on your belongings and don't drink too much.

How do you get around Lake Atitlan? ›

Lake Atitlan is cheap and relatively easy to get around. There are 4 main modes of public transport, boat, pickup truck, chicken bus or Tuk Tuk. Additionally, if you want to explore new towns and fancy a bit of freedom, you can always rent a motorcycle.

How can I spend 10 days in Guatemala? ›

10 Days Backpacking Guatemala Itinerary
  1. Arrive in Guatemala city, drive to Antigua – Days 1-2.
  2. San Pedro La Laguna, Lago de Atitlan – Days 3-4.
  3. Semuc Champey (near Lanquin) – Day 5.
  4. Flores & Tikal – Day 6-7.
  5. Livingston – Day 8.
  6. Rio Dulce – Day 9.
  7. Back to Guatemala City, fly home – Day 10.
24 Oct 2018

Is Uber safe in Guatemala? ›

Yes, Uber IS safe in Guatemala. Officially, Uber operates in Guatemala City and Antigua. People even take an Uber all the way from Guatemala City to Antigua. Uber is a good option for non-Spanish speakers as they don't need to worry about communicating with the driver so much – it's all on the app.

Can you drink the water in Guatemala? ›

Can I drink the tap water? There aren't any laws around in Guatemala, and the various municipalities are responsible for the region's water, which, for travelers and many locals, is safe to drink. Most locals use bottled water for drinking and cooking.

Are Americans safe in Guatemala? ›

Guatemala has one of the highest violent crime rates in Latin America. Although the majority of serious crime involves local gangs, incidents are usually indiscriminate and can occur in tourist areas. Despite the high levels of crime, most visits to Guatemala are trouble-free.

What is the deepest lake in Central America? ›

Lake Atitlán (Spanish: Lago de Atitlán, [atiˈtlan]) is a lake in the Guatemalan Highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range. It is in the Sololá Department of southwestern Guatemala. It is the deepest lake in Central America.

How do I get from Lake Atitlan to airport? ›

Option 1: Take A Shuttle Bus – Price 25$
  1. Shuttle Service – 06:00am – Guatemala City/Airport to Panajachel $25 p/p.
  2. Shuttle Service – 11:00am – Guatemala City/Airport to Panajachel $25 p/p.
  3. Shuttle Service – 02:30pm – Guatemala City/Airport to Panajachel $25 p/p.

Is San Pedro La Laguna safe? ›

Is San Pedro Guatemala safe? Overall, yes. Violent crimes are very rare and we never feel unsafe during our stays on Lake Atitlán. However, there are enough incidents that you need to be smart and take reasonable precautions.

How far is Lake Atitlan from Guatemala airport? ›

The distance between Lago de Atitlán and Guatemala City Airport (GUA) is 71 km.

What is the meaning of Atitlan? ›

A Nahuatl word, Atitlán translates to “the place where the rainbow gets its colors.” Natural places with breathtaking beauty and power have sacred meaning to the Maya, and this volcanic lake is no exception.

Is Santiago Atitlan worth visiting? ›

Things to do in Santiago Atitlan Guatemala

Santiago is worth a trip for several reasons. You can spend your time finding the liquor-drinking and chain-smoking Maximón, watch a weaving demonstration, go bird watching, explore the local market or enjoy the colourful murals in the central park.

Is there wolves in Guatemala? ›

Guatemala Wildlife Beckons the Birders

Some of the animals you may encounter on land include jaguars, pumas, howler monkeys, ocelots, wolves of prairie, coyotes, lizards, armadillos, iguanas and several species of serpents (oil lamp, chorale, mazacuate and yellow beard).

Do they have sloths in Guatemala? ›

Order: Pilosa (anteaters, sloths and tamanduas)

Is Lake Atitlan sacred? ›

In the Guatemalan highlands, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Antigua, lies Lake Atitlan. Renowned as one of the world's most beautiful lakes, this volcanic crater is the deepest lake in Central America, and is considered a sacred place amongst the Maya people.

What is the hottest month in Guatemala? ›

Guatemala has a relatively warm and tropical climate, with daytime temperatures usually ranging between 70°F and 90°F all year round. March and April are the hottest months, with the rainy season from May to October breaking the often overbearing humidity with afternoon showers and occasional thunderstorms.

Do I need a Covid test to go to Guatemala? ›

Effective August 12, 2022, the Government of Guatemala no longer requires passengers arriving by air to present proof of a negative COVID test or proof of a complete COVID vaccine course to enter Guatemala.

Where should I go in Guatemala for a week? ›

One-week Guatemala travel itinerary: Antigua – Lago de Atitlán – Tikal
  • Day one: Antigua.
  • Day two: Santo Domingo Xenacoj.
  • Days three and four: Lago de Atitlán.
  • Days five and six: Flores and Tikal.
  • Day seven: Guatemala City and home.
  • Days one to three: Antigua.
  • Days four to seven: Lago de Atitlán and Chichicastenango.
17 Jan 2022

What is the water temperature of Lake Atitlan? ›

On average the water temperature in Lake Atitlan stays around 70°F (21°C), due to the thermal heating emitted from the surrounding volcanoes.

Is Lake Atitlan fresh water? ›

With a surface area of 130 sq. km, Lake Atitlán is Guatemala's third largest freshwater lake and a UNESCO biosphere reserve as well as a wetland of international importance (Ramsar). The lake provides its residents with vital resources such as drinking water, fish, water for irrigation of agricultural areas, and reeds.

How much time do I need in Guatemala? ›

Guatemala's relatively small size allows you to comfortably visit its iconic volcanoes, colonial cities, and Mayan ruins in around seven days. But even in as few as five days, you can still see its most famous sights.

How do you get around in Guatemala? ›

Buses are the main method of transportation for most Guatemalans, and many travelers choose to save money by taking buses. Often referred to as “chicken buses”, these local inter- and intracity buses are often set in old U.S. school buses. They can be crowded and you might have to stand for the entire bus ride.

Can you take food into Guatemala? ›

What You Can Bring into Guatemala -- Visitors to Guatemala may bring any and all reasonable goods and belongings for personal use during their stay.

What should I wear to Antigua Guatemala? ›

Clothing to Pack for Guatemala

For Antigua – Jeans or lightweight pants and comfy shoes. Layers for the evening and hiking clothing if you want to do ziplining, hiking, cycling, or any other fun activity available in Antigua. For Lake Atitlan, you will need cool clothes during the day and warm layers for the evenings.

What is Panajachel known for? ›

Panajachel, known as Pana, is home to several restaurants featuring local and international cuisine, coffee shops, street food vendors and more. The town's main street, Calle Santander, is where visitors can shop for textiles and artisanal pieces handmade by indigenous people from around the lake.

Where can I watch Sunset Lake Atitlan? ›

Although the sunset is best from the east coast of the lake, you can still see it from just about every town. Simply climb on top of the nearest roof or make your way down to the docks for the best views. *Our favorite sunset spot is the lookout point between Panajachel and Santa Catarina.

Is Guatemala City worth visiting? ›

With the wealth of stunning ancient architecture in the form of Mayan ruins, the incredibly underrated cuisine, friendly people, and beautiful natural scenery such as jungles and volcanoes – Guatemala city is, without a doubt, a city worth visiting.

How many towns are around Lake Atitlan? ›

There are 11 towns and villages around Lake Atitlan. Among these 11, there are 5 destination that truly stand out from the rest. They are Panajachel, San Pedro, San Marcos, Santa Cruz, and Jaibalito.

What is it like living in Guatemala? ›

Guatemala suffers from a serious housing crisis. More than half of citizens have inadequate housing and land rights remain an issue, with around 1 percent of the population owning 60 percent of the land. Many families live in homes with dirt floors with parasites which cause different illnesses.

How wide is Lake Atitlan? ›

The lake, 1,049 feet (320 metres) deep, is 12 miles (19 km) long and 6 miles (10 km) wide, with an area of 49.3 square miles (127.7 square km). It occupies a valley dammed by volcanic ash; on its borders are three cone-shaped volcanoes: Atitlán, Tolimán, and San Pedro.

Is Lake Atitlan sacred? ›

In the Guatemalan highlands, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Antigua, lies Lake Atitlan. Renowned as one of the world's most beautiful lakes, this volcanic crater is the deepest lake in Central America, and is considered a sacred place amongst the Maya people.

What is the meaning of Atitlan? ›

A Nahuatl word, Atitlán translates to “the place where the rainbow gets its colors.” Natural places with breathtaking beauty and power have sacred meaning to the Maya, and this volcanic lake is no exception.

Are there alligators in Lake Atitlan Guatemala? ›

3 answers. As for as I am aware, there are no alligators in Lake Atitlan. Also, the owner of Panasurf, Juan, would not allow you in the water if there were any.

What animals are in Lake Atitlan? ›

Many migratory birds use Lake Atitlán as a wintering ground: Pied-billed Grebe (Podylimbus podiceps), Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) and American Coot (Fulica Americana). Roadrunners (Geococcyx velox), which are typical for Xeric Associations occur in the region as well.

What is a Mayan fire ceremony? ›

The modern day Fire Ceremony is how the Mayan of today connect with the old wisdom known as the Mayan Cosmovision. Performing a Fire Ceremony is an act of balancing one's energy and intention in daily life. If we become out of balance out life is uncentered and causes havoc and instability.

Are there shamans in Guatemala? ›

In rural Guatemala, it is common for the local villagers to go to a shaman or a healer before going to a doctor. They focus on treating the underlying conditions, not the symptoms as is often the case in Western medicine the recovery ultimately is more firm.

Is Lake Atitlan warm? ›

The annual average temperature in Lake Atitlan is around 19°C to 25°C (66°F to 77°F). It never gets too cold or too hot which is what I heard about the weather in Lake Atitlan but I couldn't comprehend what they meant. You really need to be there to experience the perfect temperature!

How do I get from Lake Atitlan to airport? ›

Option 1: Take A Shuttle Bus – Price 25$
  1. Shuttle Service – 06:00am – Guatemala City/Airport to Panajachel $25 p/p.
  2. Shuttle Service – 11:00am – Guatemala City/Airport to Panajachel $25 p/p.
  3. Shuttle Service – 02:30pm – Guatemala City/Airport to Panajachel $25 p/p.

Is it safe to travel to Guatemala? ›

Guatemala has one of the highest violent crime rates in Latin America. Although the majority of serious crime involves local gangs, incidents are usually indiscriminate and can occur in tourist areas. Despite the high levels of crime, most visits to Guatemala are trouble-free.

Is it safe to travel to Lake Atitlan? ›

Lake Atitlan is very safe — one of the safest places in Latin America. Like all other destinations, keep an eye on your belongings and don't drink too much.

What is the deepest lake in Central America? ›

Lake Atitlán (Spanish: Lago de Atitlán, [atiˈtlan]) is a lake in the Guatemalan Highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range. It is in the Sololá Department of southwestern Guatemala. It is the deepest lake in Central America.

How many days should I spend in Antigua Guatemala? ›

The gateway to Guatemala, Antigua is the perfect place to start or end your Guatemalan trip, after a visit to the famous Tikal ruins. Three to five days is the ideal time to spend in Antigua; wandering the streets, climbing the volcanoes, soaking up the traditions and brushing up on your Spanish.

Is there wolves in Guatemala? ›

Guatemala Wildlife Beckons the Birders

Some of the animals you may encounter on land include jaguars, pumas, howler monkeys, ocelots, wolves of prairie, coyotes, lizards, armadillos, iguanas and several species of serpents (oil lamp, chorale, mazacuate and yellow beard).

Do they have sloths in Guatemala? ›

Order: Pilosa (anteaters, sloths and tamanduas)

Are there jungles in Guatemala? ›

Did you know that the rainforest in Guatemala is one of the most important biomes in the country? Yes! At least 31% of the Guatemalan territory is rainforest.

Videos

1. LAKE ATITLAN Guatemala | San Pedro to Panajachel | Where to Stay for Scenic Views
(Voyage of the Santa Marias)
2. RETURN TO CENTRAL AMERICA | Lake Atitlán, Guatemala | Retirement Vlog #62
(Retirement Travelers)
3. guatemala vlog | part II - lake atitlan
(Diane Lin)
4. Guatemala Travel VLOG - Must Visit Country (So Underrated!) La Fortuna de Atitlan
(Jolly Jihane)
5. Lake Atitlan, Guatemala VLOG 🇬🇹 2022 | Panajachel, San Pedro + Eagle's Nest
(olivia anelise)
6. Lago Atitlán (Lake), Guatemala: 6 MUST SEES!
(Gab & Maya Backpacking)

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