Lake Atitlán

Located two and a half hours from Antigua and Guatemala City is Lake Atitlán. Once referred to as "the most beautiful lake in the world" by author Aldous Huxley, with three towering volcanoes providing the backdrop, this lake truly is an amazing sight. In addition to Volcanoes Atitlán, San Pedro, and Toliman, Lake Atitlán is also surrounded by 12 villages, all of them populated by indigenous Mayans, many of whom continue to wear traditional Mayan clothing, consisting of beautiful colors representing their villages.

The first village you will arrive in is Panajachel. You can use this as your base to explore the other villages, or take a boat ride across the lake to another village. Panajachel has long been popular with tourists, and contains a large number of aging expatriates and retired foreigners. Many find Panajachel to be too touristy, and choose to stay in smaller villages, such as San Pedro, San Marcos, or Santiago Atitlán. Each village has its own characteristics, and depending on what you are looking for, one may be more suited to your tastes than another. If you visit a more touristy village, for a more cultural experience, try to explore beyond the lakefront area, where many of the hotels and restaurants are located. This is a very poor region in Guatemala, and it was devistated by hurricane Stan in 2005.

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