"Lake of the Mayans, Gringos Welcome." Top 5 Page for this destination Lago de Atitlán by acemj

Lago de Atitlán Travel Guide: 173 reviews and 415 photos

I can't really figure out why Lake Atitlán is not more well-known throughout the world. I mean, I knew all about Lake Como before I ever set foot in Italy. I learned about the legend of Nessie and Loch Ness when I was a kid. Somehow, images of Canada's Lake Louise have danced in my head for years. So, why didn't I know anything about Lake Atitlán until I started researching my trip to Guatemala?

The British author, Aldous Huxley once wrote, "Lake Como, it seems to me, touches on the limit of permissibly picturesque, but Atitlan is Como with additional embellishments of several immense volcanoes. It really is too much of a good thing." In all honesty, my impression of Lake Atitlán was slightly diminished by some persistent smoke and haze that seemed to be stubbornly clinging to the air just above the water. I just happened to be here during a time of year when there is a lot of burning of fields for agricultural purposes and this causes a cloud of pollution that doesn't help when trying to create magical photos.

However, there were enough afternoon breezes passing through that cleared the skies long enough for me to see what Huxley was talking about. This place is truly beautiful and the atmosphere is a cool mix of tourist activity, laid back travelers and easy going locals. The villages surrounding the lake are fascinating places to visit with local Mayans who go about their lives in traditional, flowing garments of bright orange, blue and red hand-woven threads.

  • Last visit to Lago de Atitlán: Mar 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (14)

Comments (10)

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Aug 2, 2010 at 6:56 AM

    Beautiful shots of the lake and very helpful info - thank you :-)

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo
    Feb 6, 2006 at 4:16 PM

    This looks like a really beautiful lake, and I like the volcanoes, too. Guatemala has never been high on my wish list, but that may be readjusted now...

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2006 at 6:29 PM

    Great description of lakes, mountains, villages, locals and their customs. Bad news about banditos who have been known to rob tourists.

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Sep 30, 2005 at 7:34 AM

    Looks like an interesting area. I plan to eventually go to Tikal. Maybe I will include a visit here as well.

  • sim1's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2005 at 11:52 AM

    Wonderful page Mark! The beautiful lake, surrounded by those villages makes this sound like such a great place! I've seen many of those lakes you mentioned, but never heard of this one. It really is strange that it is not more well-known.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2005 at 6:19 AM

    A very useful overview of the area, without going para-sailing! I'm still trying to decide what to do this winter and Guatemala is still in the running!

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2005 at 7:24 AM

    an interesting page & great pics, Mark !

  • DaDrifter's Profile Photo
    Jul 27, 2005 at 8:59 PM

    Great page as always, Mark! The villages surrounding Lake Atitlán make is sound quite so unique.

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    Jul 27, 2005 at 7:29 PM

    the mysterious local saint, Maximón? Paragliding? Is it possible our acemj was falling under the spell of the local whacky weed? ;)

  • b1bob's Profile Photo
    Jul 24, 2005 at 3:53 PM

    I like it!


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