The Atitlán lake with its surrounding volcanoes form an incredible beauty and said to be the most beautiful lake in the world. The lush green nature reflects itself in the deep blue of the water, making the lake an incredible place. Framed by the breathtaking, mountainous landscape of the Sololá department, you can enjoy a spectacular view towards three different volcanoes from the lake: Volcán San Pedro, Volcán Atitlán and Volcán Tolimán.
The lake has a longitude of 18 kilometers and many small villages are situated along its shore. Even though the Atitlán lake is a well known tourist center, it preserves its beautiful nature and authentic Guatemalan charm. Around the lake, the traditional Mayan culture is still present and you will see the women and even some men wearing traditional g
owns. Not only does every village offer different tourist attractions, but also the traditional clothes vary in their colour and their patterns. The best and most spectacular way to get around Lake Atitlán is by boat. The villages are all well connected, with Panajachel being the biggest port and best starting point for excursions.
The town Panajachel, or fondly called Pana by the locals, is the most touristy town. It is seen as the capital of the lake and differentiates itself by being a huge tourist and commercial center with many bars, restaurants, souvenir shops and hotels. However, it is also the least authentic town around the lake. Santa Cruz La Laguna and San Pedro La Laguna count as some the most authentic villages. Santa Cruz conserves most of its rustic beauty, as it is only reachable by boat or by foot. San Pedro is one of the cheaper villages for tourists, but you can still feel the traditional pace of the villagers.
Another must-see at the lake is the village Santiago de Atitlán. It still conserves it authentic Mayan charm and is home to the holy Maximón statue. Deeply rooted traditions and ceremonies are still celebrated around the Maximón, making it to an interesting and one of a kind attraction. One of the quieter villages is the idyllic San Marcos La Laguna. It is known to be the Hippie commune at the lake and is famous for the practicing of yoga, meditation, massages and Reiki.
The Atitlán Lake is also a good starting point for volcano trekking tours or for hiking around the lake. Many tour operator offer tours, but as a group you can also go on your own. Also excursions to the neighboring villages in the mountains let you explore the lake from a different point of view. Mayan traditions are still very present and you can enjoy fantastic views over the lake.
The easiest way is to go Panajachel, as this is the town where most public buses go to. From there you can take the boat to get around the lake.