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Visit the Lake Atitlán area to explore indigenous villages, trek through volcanic highlands and dive, kayak or swim in Central America’s deepest lake.
The volcano-ringed Lake Atitlán is approximately 12 miles (19 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide and has a maximum depth of more than 1,000 feet (305 meters). Along its shoreline are several towns and villages where you can learn about Mayan culture.
Many visitors start their vacation in San Pedro La Laguna, a good base from which to explore the mountains surrounding the lake. In the main part of this town you will find plenty of restaurants, cafés, bars and hotels. Discover a traditional vibe in the old quarter, where you can see locals dressed in indigenous outfits that evolved over the centuries. For spectacular views over the lake, climb the volcano that gives the town its name.
Panajachel is the busiest and most developed town around Lake Atitlán. Browse handicraft markets, sightsee historic buildings and go to the nature reserve for exotic plants and wildlife.
Develop further insight into Mayan culture and the local way of life at Santiago Atitlán. The lakeside town is the capital of the Tzutujil Maya Nation and has a large population of indigenous Mayans. Learn about local arts and culture by attending a weaving or painting class.
Go to San Juan La Laguna for the Tz’utujil murals that depict the Tz'utujil Mayan creation legend.
Adventurous types will enjoy a trip to Santa Cruz La Laguna. The village can only be accessed on foot or by boat, and is home to Lake Atitlán’s main diving school. Venture down into the underwater world to see crabs, freshwater fish and volcanic areas on the lake floor.
Lake Atitlán enjoys a warm climate throughout the year, with the rainy seasons lasting from May to October.
Reach the lake by bus from Guatemala City, Antigua and Xela. If you are driving from the capital city, your route will take you along the Pan-American Highway. A pleasant and scenic way to get around the lakeside communities is by taxi boat.