No visit to Guatemala is complete without a visit to Lake Atitlan – a captivating stretch of turquoise water that never fails to impress. The mirror-smooth surface is only rippled by the rustic boats of local fisherman, who ply the waters in search of the day’s catch. The lake’s shores are dotted with local women in vibrant traditional costume washing the family’s clothes upon the lake’s banks.
The landscape surrounding the lake is a natural spectacle that only Mother Nature could’ve designed – from blooming trees to fertile hills, dusky volcanoes and vibrant lake towns. Lake Atitlan holidays have a stopping-off point to suit all travellers; from the indigenous identity of Santiago Atitlan, to the lively San Pedro La Laguna, to the spirituality of San Marcos, or Santa Cruz and Jaibalito, two of the most picturesque places to stay. Staying within one of the more traditional villages offers the chance to witness the colourful traditional dress of the Maya culture, which has endured through centuries of development.
The lake itself is eight kilometres long, 18 kilometres across and around 300 metres deep – the latter a number that swells each year with the rising water levels. Atitlan is easily reached in a day trip from Antigua, though it’s well worth spending a few days here to soak up the light and relaxed pace of life.
A popular trip for visitors to Lake Atitlan is Chichicastenango and its colourful market. Considered one of the best markets in Guatemala, this cascade of sights, sounds, smells and colour is held on Thursdays and Sundays and draws in patrons from all walks of life. Brightly woven textiles create a stylish backdrop, and ceramics and masks are the ideal souvenir. The market has been around for centuries and seems to have avoided all attempts at gentrification – highlights include its impressive food market, which is well worth the early start. As well as the market scene, the town is home to the church of Iglesia Santo Tomas, where Maya customs and Catholic traditions fuse thanks to the determination of the Maya Quiche people.
For more information on holidays to Lake Atitlan, call our Destination Experts today and start planning your adventure today.