Trip to Lake Atitlán - West side

Trip to volcanic lake

Petr Liška
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Trip to Lake Atitlán - West side
Inserted: 13.08.2014
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Lake Atitlán is for sure one the most popular trips in Guatemala. Here you can stroll along the banks of the lake and visit the surrounding Indian villages, where you can see locals still wearing traditional costumes, ascend to the surrounding volcanoes or use water taxi operating between the villages at the lake. You will surely be captivated by the magic surrounding landscape with blue lake in the middle. The western part of the lake is better for those who come here from Mexico or Pacific Highway CA-2 (Carretera al Pacífico) or for those who want to avoid the busy town of Panajachel.  

Day 1

Villages Santiago and San Pedro

If you come to lake Atitlán from south along the road No.11, your first stop will be either in San Lucas Tolimán or rather in interesting Santiago Atitlán (1 600 m asl) a little further. From Santiago is a beautiful view of the volcano San Pedro, so it is certainly worth to get to the roof of your hotel and enjoy the view of the surrounding volcanoes and lake. In addition, there is also an interesting market (especially on Friday and Sunday). From Santiago you can then get by boat into another pleasant town San Pedro. If you have more time, you can spread the trip into two days.

  • TIP: An interesting possibility for passionate tourists is the long ascend into the pass El Chanan (2 550 m asl) between volcanoes Atitlán (3 535 m asl) and Tolimán (3 158 m asl), from where you can get to one or both of these tops. But count with two days.

Visit of Santiago Atitlan

Town in between volcanoes

| Altitude: 1 600 m / 5 249 ft

Right by the largest cove on Lake Atitlan there is a busy town with great views of San Pedro volcano. It is… continue reading

Cruise Santiago - San Pedro

On the lake along volcano San Pedro

| Altitude: 1 558 m / 5 112 ft

Ship transportation between Santiago and San Pedro is still more common than along the road at the southern… continue reading

Visit of San Pedro la Laguna

Town below the volcano

| Altitude: 1 605 m / 5 266 ft

San Pedro la Laguna is a small colorful town situated on the slope above the lake. There are now two ports… continue reading

Day 2

Walk around the lake

The second day is ideal for walking along the lake, making a nice picture about the local life and seeing amazing views of the volcanoes San Pedro, Atitlán and Tolimán. We here describe the walk between San Pedro and San Marcos, which is generally regarded as safe.

  • Bike TIP: another interesting option is to ride a bike from Panajechel to San Pablo, about 80km, during which you can bypass the entire lake.

  • Tourist TIP: walk from San Marcos through Tzunuma, Jaibalito to Santa Cruz. This walk leads through the most remote part of the coast of the lake (there is not yet a road). But the locals may warn you here that you can come across bandits, so you had better ask about the current situation.

  • Road TIP: the road winding from San Pablo to Santa Clara (2 120 m asl) offers in a fine day stunning views of the lake. You will probably go this way in the bus on the way to historic Antigua. If you have time, you can ascend from Santa Clara less than hundred vertical meters to the outlook mountain with wonderful views.

Hike San Pedro - San Marcos

Walk along the western shore of lake

| Altitude: 1 650 m / 5 413 ft

The easiest way how to get to know the life on Lake Atitlán is to walk along the shore and visit local… continue reading

Day 3

Ascent to the volcano of San Pedro

It is definitely worth to ascend at least one volcano in the area of Atitlán. Most passable is San Pedro directly above the town. But also this ascent will test your stamina.

The ascent to volcano San Pedro

King's view of Lake Atitlan

| Altitude: 3 020 m / 9 908 ft

The most accessible volcano near Lake Atitlan is San Pedro (3,020 m asl) monumentally towering above the town… continue reading

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