Lake Atitlan – Guatemalan Gem

Lake Atitlan is a truly magical place. The scenery is stunning, and is surrounded by several chill and inviting towns. I stayed near a little town called Santa Cruz. After my hikes in Xela, I took the first day to relax and read a book. I even found an English bookstore with A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens! I hope Scrooge learns his lesson this year!

It’s easy to hop around the lake on public water taxis, or lanchas, which only cost around $2. My spot in Santa Cruz was right on the lake, with the little Mayan town perched a couple hundred meters above. The main commercial hub is Panajachel with all kinds of shops, restaurants, and bus connections. I took a chicken bus above Panajachel to Solola that has great views of the lake. The best lookout is from the town’s cemetery, which can easily be spotted with its colourful monuments. Just below this town I wandered around a bunch of little farms with its industrious Mayan farmers hard at work!

I also did my first fresh water scuba dive in the lake! This lake was formed from an old volcanic crater, so the rock formations are really interesting. Some time ago the water level in the lake increased significantly, with the water covering a hotel. I was able to swim in this hotels’ underwater swimming pool, and swim through the old bar!

Next stop is the Pacific Ocean – Monterrico!

Cheers, Shawn

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