Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala

About 3 hours west of Antigua and you get to Lago de Atitlan, one of the most visited destinations on the Guatemalan backpacking trail. Indeed my guidebook tells me that Aldous Huxley, the author of one of my favourite dystopian novels Brave New World described it as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and coming down the mountainside on a chicken bus from Solala, it is easy to see why.

Two of the three volcano peaks on Lake Atitlan

The lake is vast – there are a number of destinations which one could visit. I found a cheap room in Panajachel, but had I had more time I think I would have ventured further – I have heard good things about San Pedro and hippy things about San Marcos.

Panajachel in all its finery

The lake itself is not the best for swimming – especially around the town it was quite full of rubbish. But I went on a 20min boat ride from the jetty which gave me good views of the three volcanoes the lake is famous for. As it was Easter Sunday, the place was buzzing with locals and the shore side was filled with vendors – people trying to sell tourist items, but also locals frying up tortillas and various pieces of indescript meats on smoky BBQs.

The jetty at lake Atitlan

Kayaks are available for hire on the lake with the morning being advised as the water is less choppy. I also saw paragliders from the boat – if only I were a billionnaire…

A short stay at the lake, but it was time to head north through the highlands to the ancient centre of the Mayas


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E.Q. Lever is the pseudonym of a hopeful young writer living in London, England.

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