lake atitlan & antigua

While the volcano-fringed Lake Atitlan is one of Guatemala’s most iconic natural sights, few can match the historic significance of colonial Antigua, once the country’s capital city.

Covering a surface area larger than Dublin City, Lake Atitlan has long been counted amongst the most stunning lakes in the world. Formed by a volcanic eruption that took place around 85,000 years ago, the area has played host to everything from the ancient Mayans to colonial Spanish invaders. With a distinct culture and heritage that has stood the test of time, Antigua remains the first port of call for many of those who visit Guatemala. Its also a great base for exploring local towns and villages such as Chichicastenango with its famous marketplaces.

things to do

  • While the natural beauty of the lake is often enough to entice visitors, the more adventurous traveller could hike Vulcan San Pedro for an additional challenge.
  • The ruins of Iximche provide excellent insight into the heritage of the Mayan people that once populated the area, and rarely gets as busy as the more famous Tikal.
  • With a laid-back vibe and a blend of different cultures, San Marcos La Laguna is a fantastic place to get away from it all, particularly the San Marcos Holistic Cottage.
  • Once a colonial convent, Casa Santa Domingo is now one of Antigua’s best-known hotels, and can tell an important part of the story of Antigua’s past.
  • Antigua’s ChocoMuseo is where you can not only make your own chocolate, but learn more about the processes involved in making these delicious treats.

best time to visit

November - April

Seeing as this is dry season in Guatemala, the clear weather opens up the lake and lets you witness the landscape in all its glory. You’ll likely be spending a of time outdoors as well, so avoiding the rain can make matters a lot more straightforward.

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