Atitlan, Guatemala

The lake from outer space - from the space shuttle

Atitlan is a particularly beautiful lake. Surrounded by mountains and volcanoes covered with blooming wildflowers. It is home to a primarily indigenous community. If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the Mayans, it’s not that they disappeared — come to Lake Atitlan and you will be surrounded by them! And each town has its own signature style of clothing. There are more than a dozen different towns along the lake shore. Each place different


We stopped at this Mayan site en route to Atitlan. The complete lack of tourists and the local practicing witchdoctors made the site particularly memorable. Iximiche is a Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican archaeological site in the western highlands of Guatemala. It was the capital of the Late Postclassic Kaqchikel Maya kingdom from 1470 until its abandonment in 1524. The architecture of the site included a number of pyramid-temples, palaces and two Mesoamerican ballcourts. Excavators uncovered the poorly preserved remains of painted murals on some of the buildings and ample evidence of human sacrifice. The ruins of Iximiche were declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960s. The site has a small museum displaying a number of pieces found there, including sculptures and ceramics.



Boat Trip round Lake Atitlan

There is no road that circles the lake. Communities are reached by boat or roads from the mountains that may have brief extensions along the shore. Santa Cruz La Laguna and Jaibalito can only be reached by boat. Santa Catarina Palopó and San Antonio Palopó are linked by road to Panajachel. Main places otherwise are Santa Clara La Laguna and San Pedro La Laguna in the West, Santiago Atitlán in the South, Cerró de Oro on The South East and San Lucas Tolimán in the East.

We had a long stop at San Juan La Laguna, where we went to a weaving shop, and also stopped for an extremely good coffee milk shake on the way back to the boat


Hotel Villas Balam Ya

9.4 On and TripAdvisor. 4 Villas . Set on the shores of Lake Atitlan, Villas B'alam Ya offers a private dock area, free kayaks, a hot tub, and a complimentary light American breakfast. Each villa has a balcony with views of the lake. Villas are surrounded by gardens, and offer free Wi-Fi and cable TV. Each villa has a kitchen with a fridge, microwave, coffee maker and toaster. Fans and safes are also provided. The town of Panajachel is a 10-minute drive from Villas B’alam Ya.

You approach the villa complex via a very steep, but concreted, track. We saw one car having to get assistance to climb back out again. Once you get to the bottom of the track, you find why you are there. Our villa was large (two large bedrooms, living room. dining area and kitchen). And was right on the lake. The grounds run to the lake shore, and they have a small jetty for you to arrive of leave by boat

In my view going out at night would be difficult: thus you need to stock up on dinner ingredients before you arrive. The kitchen is well fitted, so you can cook just about anything

Breakfast is served to you in your villa. Simple, but perfectly sufficient. We left by boat for a lake tour and picked up our transport elsewhere on the lake.. A very pleasant stay, and a nice way to get to know the lake

We then went back for an overnight in Antigua again, before going on to Copan Ruinas in Honduras . The travel company wanted us to leave at 4am, but, after extended negotiations, they settled for 8am start. Their argument that we would hit gridlock round Guatemala City proved unfounded, and we got to Copan in about 6 hours, which was the estimated time had we left at 4am.

Central America 2017