Monday, November 24, 2008

Lake Atitlan - Wiki Travel

Source: Wiki Travel:

Laguna de Atitlán, (English: Lake Atitlán), is a beautiful volcanic lake in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. It is ringed by small towns, many of which are favourites among backpackers. The region encompasses the lake and the towns around them. Panajachel is best known, and a good entry point, but more off the beaten track are San Pedro la Laguna or the "less party, more meditation" village of San Marcos. Due to the region's popularity, other towns along the lake, such as Santa Cruz la Laguna and San Juan, are now starting to see growing tourism.
[edit] Cities

* Panajachel- Lake Atitlan's most visited town
* San Pedro la Laguna - a laid-back small town with established backpacker reputation
* San Marcos - "less party, more meditation" than San Pedro
* Santiago Atitlán, small town on south side of Lake Atitlán, famous for a shrine to Maximón
* Santa Cruz la Laguna - emerging destination
* San Juan - emerging destination
* San Antonio Palopo
* Santa Catarina Palopo

[edit] Other destinations
[edit] Understand

Lake Atitlán and its villages are a winning combination of scenic beauty, a relaxed atmosphere, easily accessible Mayan culture, and a good tourist infrastructure. You can have an enjoyable weekend visit, a week away from it all, or several weeks to learn Spanish. The Atitlan Lake located at 1560 m of altitude, and the Tolimán volcano at the bottom (3158 m). If the depth being reproduced on the charts is 320 m, investigations carried out in the years 1970 evaluate to 600 m the depth on the San Lucas Tolimán side.
[edit] Get in

Most travellers arrive in Panajachel. Bus and other transportation instructions are in that town's article.
[edit] Get around

Many lanchas, or small boats, provide transport from village to village around and across the lake. Some boats are scheduled like buses, other will go as soon as they accumulate enough passengers, like share-ride taxis. Prices are open to negotiation, but generally non-latino tourists pay 50% more than latino tourists.
[edit][add listing] See

The Indian's Head at the top of the mountain above the cities of San Juan and San Marcos. It is accessible through various tracks and there are also organised trips with horses to the top.
[edit][add listing] Do

There are a number of activities you can do on the water, such as kayaking (rent from Casa del Mundo below, or San Pedro la Laguna) and jet skiing. Diving is also possible in Santa Cruz la Laguna through the hostel "La Iguana Perdida". Or, if you're not the watery type, there's horseback riding, and hiking galore.

There exists a vague, and at times somewhat precarious, path that encircles pretty much the whole lake. New holiday homes and hotels have restricted some of the access to the lakeside path, but it's still possible to walk it. It's a very rewarding and enjoyable hike. Swim in the beautiful water anytime you need to cool off. Thumb down a boat from any of the countless jetties if you get tired and want to return back home.
[edit][add listing] Eat

Many of the towns around the lake have restaurants, at a variety of price points from luxury to budget. See the individual town articles for details.
[edit][add listing] Drink

Lake Atitlán is a better place to relax than to party. Some towns, like Panajachel, have thriving bar scenes. Others go to sleep when the night falls.
[edit][add listing] Sleep

Each of the towns and villages around the lake offer a wide range of hotels. See the individual town articles (under Cities above) for details. The following hotels or resorts are not in a specific town.

* Casa Del Mundo, [1]. Mid range price US$ 25 per night with own room and shared bathroom or US$ 50 per night with own room and bathroom. It´s a 15 minute boat ride to this secluded villa on the lake set apart from everything. This is a small hotel with about 15 luxurious rooms and amazing food. Be prepared to pay about 75 Quetzals extra for the three course dinner they serve, its the only way to eat. Bring a swimsuit because this is the ideal place to lounge in hammocks or simply float in the water. Perhaps the best value for money hotel to be found in Atitlan. It is only accessible by boat, the food is fantastic, the rooms are clean and the grounds are amazing.

* Lomas de Tzununá, [2]. A relatively new place perched on the hillside between Santa Cruz la Laguna and San Marcos. Facing the volcanos, with amazing views, friendly staff. Only accessible by boat.
* La Riviera de Atitlan, ☎ (502)7762-0310, [3]. A high-end resort, located a few km to the west of Panajachel on the bay of San Buenaventura. US$150.00/night.


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Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
View of Lake Atitlan and volcano from my apartment balcony in Panajachel. Taken by Catherine Todd June 2008.