Getting to Lake Atitlan is no easy feat. After flying into Guat City, it's another 4 hours by bus to Panajachel. Then, if your'e staying on the lake, which I recommend, it's a short (and sometimes rocky) boat ride from there. But upon reaching the docks of La Casa del Mundo in Jaibalito, and seeing the sun reflect on the lake like so, well, it's worth it tenfold.
Lake Atitlan is a stunning site. Resting under the looming volcanoes that literally rise out of the mist, find yourself at a lovely boutique hotel filled with color and culture. A gorgeous, serene patio filled with flowers and a pool where you can just be. Literally "meander" down the road into one of the small villages dotted along the lakeside where there are virtually no tourists. Just the villagers going about their daily business, weaving the incredible textiles they are known for. Dressed in their glorious, vibrant traditional clothes. They are not putting on a show for you... but for themselves.
Lago de Atitlán is one of the world's most spectacular locales. Diamond splatters dance across the water, fertile hills dot the landscape, and over everything loom the volcanoes, permeating the entire area with a mysterious beauty. You can take a boat ride around the lake. The trip takes about 2 1/2 hours and it cost $30.
By AFAR Traveler
The most beautiful lake in the world?
I'm not keen on superlatives, but this one is fitting.
Lago de Atitlan in the Guatemalan Highlands.
Lake Atitlan is an endorheic lake sits in the Guatemalan Highlands and is the deepest lake in Central America. The lake changes its looks by conditions of wind and sun light. This one day in an early afternoon I was at the deck of Panajachel, one of villages around the lake, the lake showed us its calmness and vivid blue color.
Lake Atitlan is Guatemala is almost a surreal kind of place. An almost perfect climate, clear blue waters and three volcanoes make for a sublime experience. Just visit soon, the lake is filling and flooding.
While backpacking through Central America, one of my first stops was at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, which Aldous Huxley famously referred to as "too much of a good thing." From the second you step on the cramped boat ferry, half filled with wandering gringos and half with locals buying the week's groceries, you are overcome with a sense of awe.
Stretching in the distance are the hazy purple volcanoes and lush green hills, and it is indeed way too much of a good thing. Anyone who spends time here gets sucked into an alternate universe of pure, natural beauty and serenity.
As a recent convert to outdoors activities, I was hiking from my hostel in Santa Cruz in search of a waterfall somewhere back in the hills near town. After wandering around lost for a while, I started to hear the familiar sounds of soccer, whistles, jeers, and yells.
Soccer is simply my favorite game in the world. I've found it to be a powerful connecting force between foreigners and locals while traveling. It is often referred to as "The Beautiful Game," and I could not agree more. I always seek soccer games to photograph and watch, no matter where I travel.
As I came to a clearance, I joined a local father and his two kids on this ledge, watching local teams play on an uneven field with San Pedro Volcano and Lake Atitlan in the distance.
I never found the waterfalls, but no matter. I found myself watching the beautiful game in the most beautiful place.