There is something about large bodies of water that has always fascinated and attracted people. Dark and mysterious waters are the perfect fuel for imagination, spawning stories of monsters and deities living in the depths. These stories become the hallmarks of the nearby communities, and centuries of culture. For Guatemala, Lake Atitlan is exactly such a place. It is considered special by the local people, and those that visit don’t question that notion for a minute. It spans 50 square miles, with its deepest point reaching down over 1100 feet below surface. There is plenty to see here.
This is a bustling town that will suit those who are coming from a loud metropolis and need a place to acclimatize to the relative peace surrounding lake Atitlan. There is plenty to fill your day with in this town, especially if you like shopping. If you are looking to buy some unique authentic clothing handmade by the locals then you’ll be spoiled for choice. There will be plenty of places to eat and there is quite a vibrant nightlife as well. If loud parties are not your thing, you can always withdraw and enjoy the gorgeous sunset.
If you are a seasoned traveller and sunsets are not likely to impress you, how about a sunrise? There is a spot called Indian’s Nose, due to the anthropomorphic shape of the mountain, which appears to have a face with a very pronounced nose. This nose is believed to have been a sacred spot for the Mayans, where they held ceremonies. You can follow in their footsteps and hike to that spot to around 4 am so see what is perhaps the most beautiful sunrise you will ever see, over an already breathtaking view of Lake Atitlan.
San Pedro Volcano
The lake is of volcanic origin and the terrain that surrounds it are not so much mountains as volcanoes. So you owe it to yourself to hike one of those volcanoes, and the San Pedro volcano is one of the best choices. It’s not a walk in the park but it’s worth it. If you’re reasonably fit, it will take you about three hours to hike to the top. Be prepared to encounter some weather because the volcano reaches all the way into the clouds, which will make seeing where you’re going rather difficult. Also, the top of San Pedro tends to get cold, so bring layers. The hike will be a rewarding experience, especially if you take advantage of one of the thermal baths located near it. It will definitely help you remedy the sore muscles, and you’ll sleep like a baby afterwards.
It wouldn’t be a full experience of lake Atitlan if you didn’t get to experience it directly. There are many kayak rentals located all around the lake’s coast, and on a quiet day, the experience of heading out into the water is nothing short of magical. If the weather report isn’t promising perfect conditions, then try to go out early in the day to have as few waves as possible.