Lake Atitlan: Guatemala’s Stunning Volcanic Lake

There are few things quite as breathtaking as seeing the silhouette of a towering volcano in the distance. Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan is situated between 3 towering volcanoes. Lake Atitlan’s crater basin was formed in the wake of a massive volcanic eruption 84,000 years ago. San Pedro is the oldest volcano on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Scientists believe that the San Pedro volcano is entirely dormant. The Toliman volcano and the Atitlan volcano remain active, and have the potential to erupt at some point in the not so distant future.

Lake Atitlan is consistently hailed as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Toxic cyanobacteria blooms and pollution caused by discarded plastic have marred Lake Atitlan’s picturesque beauty in recent years. Thankfully, a successful effort to ban single use plastic has helped restore Lake Atitlan to its former glory.

Atitlan lake

The shores of Lake Atitlan feature numerous historical Mayan settlements, including a ceremonial space on an island in the middle of the lake. Many of the communities that surround Lake Atitlan are populated by descendants of Mayan people who still wear colorful traditional clothing, and create art inspired by the traditions of their ancestors. The villages surrounding Lake Atitlan are largely agricultural, with numerous corn, avocado, and coffee farms lining the volcanic foothills.

Guatemala Atitlan lake

Guatemala Atitlan lake

Many travel enthusiasts claim that Lake Atitlan’s beauty rivals or even surpasses Italy’s stunning Lake Como. Lake Atitlan’s deep blue waters rimed with stately volcanos give the surrounding area a primordial feel. There is no question that Lake Atitlan is less posh than Lake Como. Lake Atitlan’s utterly breathtaking scenery and the area’s connection to vibrant Mayan culture make Lake Atitlan a lovely travel destination. Standing at the foot of a volcano on the shores of a royal blue lake is any seasoned traveler’s dream come true.


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