Guatemala: San Pedro la Laguna and Lake Atitlán
The word "Atitlan" comes from a combination of two words of the nahuatl language, where "atl" means water, and "titlan" means "between". Altogether “between waters”. The area of the lake is 125 km² and lies at an altitude of 1560 meters. The length of the lake is 18 km and reaches a depth of 341 meters, making it the deepest lake in Central America. Three spectacular volcanoes Tolimán, Atitlán and San Pedro surround the lake. The beauty of the lake is complemented by panoramic paths, beaches, villages and the surrounding mountains.
The lake is surrounded by more cities, we head to the city of San Marcos. Even in a dream we would not have thought that after two hours of looking at a map on your mobile, our GPS position is completely opposite and the lake is nowhere. So we get off, go back by bus to Quetzaltenango and head back to San Marco, but we are already specifying that it is San Marcos la Laguna, that is, by the lake!
Finally we reach San Pedro la Laguna in the dark and stay here. It is small and there is no problem to find accommodation here. In addition, accommodation is cheap and we find that there are plenty of tourists. This small town is one of the most visited and is probably made for tourists. A lot of backpackers will be here for a long time to attend Spanish courses that are very affordable. The city is also characterized by painted colored facades, so just walk through the city you can see various expressions of art. And of course there are plenty of restaurants and bars where you can go for fun.
There are also activities on the lake: sport fishing, kayaking or water skiing. Or you can hike to the top of the San Pedro volcano and watch the lake from a height of 3020 meters.
The health situation did not allow us to go to the volcano, so we only walked a few times the city and the surrounding lake and rested here.
Then we headed to Antigua and wanted to go by boat across the lake to Panajachel and from there by bus. Of course, we have heard that this is impossible to drive and nothing goes, that we have to take an expensive tourist bus that takes us directly to the destination. We were not discouraged and asked elsewhere, locals. In the end we got a chance to get by boat across the lake to Panajachel and from there a nice bus to Antigua. It just takes a bit of persistence and insolence, but we've got used to it in Central America.
Text and photos: Tomáš Novák
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