Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

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Find the best place to stay — Lake Atitlán

Your vacation in paradise, only 85,000 years in the making

For a land made by volcanic explosions, Lake Atitlan is more lovely and serene that its violent past suggests. An eruption 85,000 years ago caused the Earth's crust to collapse, leaving room for the sky blue lake that draws families, nature lovers, and explorers from around the world. Now, the lake is dotted with 3 towering volcanoes and surrounded by rolling hills and flowering trees. Whether you crave alone time on the lake, a romantic waterfall hike, or a unique cultural experience, Lake Atitlan has something to offer.

Lake views 3 ways—on foot, by kayak, or mid-dive

You won't have to roam far from your Lake Atitlan vacation rental to enjoy stunning scenery. Families can sign up for guided tours around the lakeshore that stop at villages where you can spot locals working the corn and coffee fields. More adventurous types can paddle kayaks from the friendly town of Panajachel toward remote areas for cliff diving. After water sports have tuckered you out, take in a cultural experience. The ancient Mayan fire-cleansing and protection ceremony is on display at the Sacred Caves of Lake Atitlan.

Weave your way from a local art gallery to a weaving museum

Pristine volcanic lakes and mountain views are just the start of what your Lake Atitlan vacation rental will have to offer. The village of Santiago Atitlan is home to the Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers, a museum devoted to the art of backstrap loom weaving. Visitors can watch daily demonstrations of the weaving process. Near the town of Panajachel is the Iximche Archaeological Site, remnants of a 15th-century city that will delight history buffs. For something more contemporary, visit Galeria de Arte Tz'utujil, a gallery featuring the work of local artists.

Want your head in the clouds? You'll have to climb a volcano

Guatemala is a tropical country with distinct dry and rainy seasons, but Lake Atitlan is special. Its high elevation means cooler temps and less cloud cover than in the neighboring lowlands. Oh, and tropical rains? They aren't so bad here either—just bring an umbrella for brief showers during the rainy season, from May through October, and you're set. The dry season is from December through March, and the area is particularly popular during the Christmas and Easter holidays, so if you want to wait for Santa in a Lake Atitlan vacation rental, book early.

Swimming holes, waterfalls, and long, lovable snouts

Explorers, outdoorsmen, and nature lovers having been singing Lake Atitlan's praises for centuries. Swimmers looking for a dip with a view will enjoy Cerro Tzankujil, a nature reserve on a hill equipped with walking trails along the lake and diving platforms into the crystal-blue water. Reserva Natural Atitlan in the town of Panajachel is a haven for plants, people, and furry friends. You can walk to a waterfall, keep an eye on the spider monkey population, and watch the kids in your party squeal at adorable caotis—raccoon cousins with big snouts and long fluffy tails.