The two hour drive heading west from Antigua leads through the central highlands, dotted with colourful traditional villages to the stunning Lake Atitlán.
The dramatic winding road leading down to the lake rewards you with incredible views of the lake and its spectacular backdrop of three cone-shaped volcanoes: San Pedro, Toliman and Atitlán.
The Mayan Indians throughout this area are undoubtedly the most colourfully dressed in Guatemala, if not the whole of Central America, with intricately woven shirts, huipiles and skirts of the brightest reds, greens, yellows, pinks and blues. Each village around the lake maintains its own traditional dress.
The lake itself is mesmerising and spending time relaxing here absorbing the views, watching the effect of changing light and wind on the water is special enough, but the best way to enjoy the stunning scenery is to travel by ‘lancha’ (boat) visiting the Indian villages of Santiago Atitlán, Santa Catarina Palopo and San Antonio Palopo.
The highland area is also home to countless markets giving an intricate and enthralling insight into Guatemalan life. Chichicastenango is one of the largest and most famous, situated about an hour north of Lake Atitlán. Hundreds of locals and visitors flock for a bargain buy and there is everything here from souvenirs and clothes to food and household goods.
It is fascinating, but for a more authentic experience, we recommend a visit to more typical markets such as those held in the villages of Comalapa or Tecpan.
Suggested itineraries featuring Lake Atitlan
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Lake Atitlan, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Lake Atitlan
Places & hotels on the map
Accommodation choices for Lake Atitlan
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Lake Atitlan. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing Lake Atitlan
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Lake Atitlan, and which use the best local guides.