Lake Atitlan is often seen as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world and is therefore one of the most popular destinations in Guatemala. Lake Atitlan is surrounded by several giant volcanoes and several nice villages that all attract their own kind of audience.
How to reach Lago Atitlan, Guatemala?
The easiest and quickest way to get to Lake Atitlan is with a shuttle bus from Antigua. On every street corner in this city you can find small travel agencies that offer these shuttles. It takes about 3 hours from Antigua. These small buses will pick you up at your hotel or hostel and drop you off at Panajachel, the largest village on Lake Atitlan. From there you can take the boat to the various villages. It’s also possible to take a direct shuttle to San Pedro la Laguna, but it takes a bit longer. From Antigua to Lake Alitlan you pay around €10.
Adventurous Activities to at Lake Atitlan
There are numerous cultural tours such as coffee tour, mayan tours and market tours, but if you are like me and want to do a bit more adventurous activities, they have them as well. Here is an overview of things to do.
Climb Volcan San Pedro
Climbing Volcan San Pedro is probably the hike that topped off the charts. I say ‘topped’, because at the moment the higher regions of Volcan San Pedro is plagued by armed robberies and therefore no guides will take you all the way up anymore. Let’s just hope that they get the situation fixed as soon as possible. Normally it takes about 3,5 hours to reach the summit and 2 hours down.
Best done from San Pedro la Laguna (guide strongly recommended).
Climb Volcan Atitlan
This might be a better alternative for Volcan San Pedro if the situation doesn’t improve. a 4-5 hour climb with similar vistas as on Volcan San Pedro.
Best done from San Pedro la Laguna or Santiago.
There are two ziplines located at Atitlan Natural Reserve, just 10 minutes from downtown Panajachel. The nature reserve also has about three short hiking trails to explore and has a campsite.
Maybe the best experience you can have at Lake Atitlan. Soaring in the air like a bird with views on the lake and the surrounding volcanoes. There is only 1 company that offers these flights, but you can book the tour pretty much everywhere and they will arrange it for you.
Hike to Indian Nose
Short, but great hike to viewpoint. There are two trails leading to this point. A 45 minute hike from Santa Clara (often chosen for sunrise tours) and the 2-hour trail from San Juan. The last few years there were stories about solo hikers being harrassed by farmers for an entrance fee close to the viewpoint. This while they already paid in San Juan. Best thing for safety is to book a sunrise tour, which costs about 25$.
Can be booked as guided tour in most places, but it’s also possible to rent them per hour (8$). You can book a tour in which you paddle the north shore to see Santa Cruz, San Marcos, Tzununa, and Jaibalito.
Best place: Santa Cruz
Book a tour or rent them per hour (8$). One of the best ways to explore the lake and its villages.
Note: We recommend to book all tours while you are there as this is often much cheaper than booking online in advance!