Lago de Atitlán (name in Spanish) is one of the most visited sites in Guatemala (after Antigua Guatemala Colonial City, which is the most visited city in Guatemala), and considered as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
Located up in the highlands of Sierra Madre mountain and volcano chain in Sololá, Guatemala, this volcanic lake is surrounded by small villages, many of which are a ‘must visit’ spot by lots of travelers to Guatemala. Panajachel is perhaps the most popular on of them all; each town has its own identity and even lifestyle.
The name Atitlán comes from the native word ‘náhuatl’; ‘atl’ means AGUA (water), ‘titlan’ means ENTRE (between); ‘Entre Las Aguas’ (Between the Waters).
Lake Atitlan holds an important portion of biodiversity in Guatemala. In fact, a region like this provides landscapes and ecosystems beneficial to nature and to tourists and visitors looking for a contact with nature. An interesting data about this lake is that it is the deepest of Central America, in fact, it’s deepest part is 330 meters from the surface (over 1,065 feet depth).
According to geo studies, the lake was formed over 84,000 years ago, when a very violent volcanic eruption took place, throwing ashes far to south america, the volcanic crater was nearly 12 kms wide. Overtime, the magma in this crater started to get dry and then moved (following the earth’s hot-spot) to give shape to three new smaller volcanoes, the main crater then collapsed and extended its size to be 18 kms wide to later form the Lake Atitlán.
The 4 main water-sources for the lake are the rivers Panajachel, San Buenaventura river, La Cascada (The Waterfall in English) and Quiskab river, all of them are located in the north side of the lake.
Despite of the time and the tourist affluence to this beautiful place, lots of the traditions of the inhabitants around the Lake of Atitlán have remained unchanged, their cloth design, food and lifestyle have practically not been modified.