Lake Atitlan is a gorgeous volcanic lake three hours away from Guatemala City and 2 and a half hours from Antigua .
If you’ve read the famous children’s book “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, this volcanic lake was the inspiration behind that book. Saint-Exupery had crashed his plane in Guatemala and while he was recovering, he spent much of this time at the lake, and the Cerro de Oro, or “hill of gold” was reflected in one of his drawings in the book.
Outside of the volcanoes that make the lake famous, you can visit some of the towns, such as Panajachel. Panajachel is one of more populated areas around the lake and offers visitors some great opportunities for nightlife, shopping in the market, and gorgeous sunsets and lake views. When traveling from town to town, it’s also recommended that you take local transport such as tuk tuks, don’t go alone. Since in the less populated areas between towns, some tourist vehicles have been known to get robbed. Be safe after dark, many visitors recommend only using guided transport after 10pm, and women should not travel alone at night.
If you’re looking to view some Mayan art and textiles, you should check out San Juan, just outside of San Pedro. It is a community known for its art and gorgeous, rich colors. It’s not as much of a tourist destination either, so you’ll get more of an idea of what life is for the locals who aren’t involved in the tourism industry.
Experience the Nature Preserve:
There is a nature reserve in Pana called Atitlan Nature Reserve, where you can zipline and see beautiful sights such as waterfalls, hanging bridges, butterflies, monkeys, and more. The butterfly garden is stunning and if you’re lucky enough to see a monkey, they might play up their activity for the crowd, since they often like to show off for people. Kayaking is also a viable way to see the nature preserve from the water.
As you can see, there are many opportunities to witness the beautiful culture, history, and nature of Lake Atitlan. It’s a paradise that you can’t afford to miss.