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Lake Atitlan is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. And if you don’t believe me, just ask Aldous Huxley. Oh, wait, scratch that, I’m pretty sure he’s dead. But he still said it, just ask around. It is an ancient crater lake formed from a collapsed volcano, leaving a picturesque body of water surrounded by stunning volcanoes, rolling hills and photogenic Mayan villages that deserves to be part of every Central American travel itinerary. This complete guide to Lake Atitlan will give you all the information you need to plan your visit. Anyone who follows our blog will know that fabulous Lake Atitlan is one of our favourite places in the world. Hence my reckless use of the word “fabulous”. We have now managed to get there in 10 of the last 11 years and are hoping the stars will align for another visit this winter. So,…

As February draws to a close, so does our latest stay on Lake Atitlán. It’s bittersweet, as always. On the one hand, I’m excited to hit the road again, explore new places, see some new things, complain about new bathrooms. On the other, having become fully immersed in the generally tepid pace of life here on the lake (it usually only takes a week or so to fully slow down to “lake speed”), the idea of getting moving again – buses, airports, planes, delays, waiting, confusion, sleeping sitting up – can also feel pretty daunting. I know that within days we’ll be used to it again and actually having a whole list of things to do – or places to go, or transportation to figure out – each day as opposed to just a single hike, or “extra long happy hour”, or something equally simple to manage, will once again…

Are you a tourist visiting Antigua? If so, I bet you’ve hear of the Volcan Acatenango hike! Over the last couple of years the challenging endeavour of hiking the Acatenango Volcano in Guatemala has become the most popular activity among all the many popular activities in this tourist hotspot. For that, you can thank Acatenango’s nearby neighbour, Volcán de Fuego (Volcano of Fire), one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Interested in getting within a really long stone’s throw of some flying lava? Don’t worry, you’ll get a plastic helmet. What You See on the Volcan Acatenango Hike The two volcanoes are actually connected, with the whole thing known as La Horqueta (The Fork), so the top of Acatenango offers mind-blowing close-up views of Fuego’s near-constant fiery eruptions, not to mention grand vistas of many other impressive Guatemalan volcanoes. Agua, Pacaya, San Pedro, Atitlán, Toliman, Santa Maria, Tajamulco.…

The best thing about spending extended periods of time on beautiful Lake Atitlan is the scenery, although you don’t necessarily need months to enjoy the main highlights. A stunning crater lake surrounded hills and volcanoes that looks amazing from every angle. The second-best thing about it, however, is the hiking on Atitlan. There are tons of great trails all around the lake, offering unique combinations of views, village life and rural charm and hiking is one of the best things to do on Lake Atitlan. Unfortunately – or maybe fortunately, if you relish the opportunity to avoid the crowds – trails in Guatemala are notoriously difficult to hike independently. Trail markings are non-existent, many pass confusingly through farmer’s fields and small villages and a few of them have a disappointing reputation for robberies. However, with the proper descriptions and some GPS assistance, as well as advice on how to stay…

Easter week is a massive holiday across Latin America, and in particular in Guatemala and Lake Atitlan, where it is known in Spanish as Semana Santa. It is dominated by religious ceremonies, endless gatherings for Mass, holy processions and, of course, people frolicking to and fro on vacation like headless chickens. Headless chickens in their most presentable clothing, and often least presentable drunken behaviour. Semana Santa in Guatemala On Lake Atitlán, in particular, Semana Santa means the kids are out of school, everyone has had some festive responsibility bestowed on them by their church, “Chapinos” (residents of Guatemala City) are out in full force showing off their fancy “city clothes” and roaring jet skis, and cheap, temporary food stands pop up everywhere (cold day-old pizza or rapidly drying out watermelon slices anyone?). Of course, fireworks and firecrackers are everywhere, just as often set off by mischievously cackling old men as…

With our time winding down here in Guatemala yet again, it seems prudent to cover what we’ve been up to in our time since the heady days of Semana Santa, including 3 days doing the Xela to Lake Atitlan hike with an early morning summit of Volcan Zunil. While in most of the northern hemisphere April means spring – unpredictable weather,  melting snow, dirty streets, the first flowers shyly poking up from the dead yellow grass, and NHL playoff drafts – the difference at Lake Atitlan is negligible. It might be a little bit warmer, possibly, although it’s hard to say for sure. You might think things would have settled into a post-holiday stupor after the hectic festivities surrounding Easter, but if you did you’d be dead wrong because, for some reason, mainly coincidence I think, April seems to be when all the nearby villages celebrate their “ferias”, or fairs.…

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