Lake Atitlan Tours
The magnificent Lake Atitlan has long lured travellers with its aquamarine waters, looming evergreen volcanoes and vibrant indigenous cultures. Located in the western highlands of Guatemala, the lake and its surroundings are one of the country’s most popular destinations. The lake’s shorelines are dotted with colourful traditional villages and some of the country’s most beautiful scenery. These Lake Atitlan Tours combine all that makes this area such a special holiday destination and offer travellers the ideal mix of culture, adventure and stunning landscapes.
Incredible nature and ecosystems
The surroundings of the lake are home to some phenomenal hiking and cycling options. These include multiple lookout points, waterfalls, and mountain and volcano treks. There are also spots to practice kayaking, artisan fishing and enjoy great birdwatching. In some spots, the crystal clear waters of the lake provide the perfect setting for swimming and relaxing, and there is even the opportunity to explore beneath the lake’s surface during a scuba-diving excursion. It is hard not to fall in love with the lake’s magical beauty, set to a backdrop of fertile hills and majestic mountains and volcanoes.
Vibrant Mayan culture
The highlands of Guatemala are where indigenous culture is at its strongest. The villages around Lake Atitlan provide travellers with a colourful introduction to ancestral beliefs and knowledge, local flavours and current day Mayan culture. These tours of Lake Atitlan also provide plenty of opportunities to get to know more about traditional arts and crafts, from naturally dyed fabrics to ceramics and paintings. Along with fishing and agriculture, tourism and handicrafts provide a vital source of income for these lakeside communities. That is why the tours on our platform are designed to contribute to local economic development in a sustainable and respectful way.
Visiting the lakeside villages
The shores of the lake are home to 11 villages, each with their unique identity and appeal. For example, San Marcos la Laguna is the hub for travellers looking for wellness and alternative therapies such as reiki, herbalism and yoga. San Juan la Laguna, the most picturesque and colourful of the lakeside villages, is home to many medicinal plants, as well as coffee plantations and naturally dyed textiles that are unique to the region. The tzutujil villagers of San Juan are known for their warm hospitality, making it the ideal village for a homestay with local families.
Santiago Atitlan, which still bears the scars of the civil war, has many stories to tell and is a good place to learn about the syncretism between traditional Mayan beliefs and Catholicism. The village is home to Maximon, a mischievous folk saint with origins in both indigenous Mayan and Spanish Catholic beliefs. Santiago Atitlan also boasts a vibrant weekly market. The villages of San Antonio Palopo and Santa Catarina Palopo standout for having the best views of the lake. They are also home to colourful ceramic and textile traditions, and are less frequented by tourists than many of the other villages.
Start planning a personalised tour to Lake Atitlan
Overall, Lake Atitlan is not a single destination, but a collection of unique and picturesque villages and incredible scenery. Travelling between villages allows travellers to experience local life by combining rides in public boats, tuk tuks and even ‘chicken buses’ for the more adventurous. The culture surrounding Lake Atitlan is unique to the world, and offers an extraordinary and colourful blend of artisan traditions, gastronomy and truly stunning landscapes.
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