The aquamarine lake is dotted with fishermen in rustic boats, watched over by the majestic volcanoes and charming towns surrounding it.

Possibly the most beautiful destination in Guatemala, Atitlán encapsulates everything that is so special about this country. This blue mirrored lake is ringed by volcanoes and its shores are studded with villages such as Santiago Atitlán, with its thriving indigenous culture, and San Marcos, a haven for seekers who plug into the lake’s ‘cosmic energy’. The towns are quite rightly most visitors first port of call and you can spend a perfect day wandering the markets, visiting local cooperatives and watching a demonstration of weaving and other traditional crafts. There are enough activities – from paragliding and kayaking to hiking the glorious lakeshore trails – to fill a couple of extra days here.

The bustling market town of Chichicastenango, a 2 hour drive from Lake Atitlán is home to one of the largest outdoor markets in Latin America. This delightful town has been an important trading post for centuries and is the perfect place to experience indigenous Guatemalan culture and rituals and a typical market. Here you can experience a bustling food market as well as shopping for handicrafts and textiles.

15km from the lake, the site of Iximché contains the remnants of the Kaqchiquels’ 15th-century capital and is now a collection of palaces and temples set in a peaceful park. It is an important ceremonial site for the indigenous communities of modern-day Guatemala and it is not uncommon to see some rituals and ceremonies being performed or even a family celebration during a visit to Iximche. Just another example of why Guatemala is such a captivating country.


Our favourite luxury hotels

Casa Palopo, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Casa Palopó

A stunning hotel in the hills above the village of Santa Catarina Palopó. Part of the Relais & Chateaux group, it offers magnificent views of Lake Atitlan and the three spectacular volcanoes. The design here is beautiful and each of the 15 rooms is uniquely decorated to reflect the culture and style of Guatemala. 12 rooms are in the main building and a luxurious villa holds the other 3 which is available for exclusive hire as well. Guests can dine on excellent food, a blend of local and international dishes or take a dip in the pool, all while enjoying the amazing views.

Anzan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala


A stunning design hotel sitting directly on the banks of Lake Atitlan. This small hotel boasts just four rooms, one being a loft room with separate living area. All offer incredible views across the lake. The design is sleep and polished with clean lines, bright and airy rooms and large windows to make the most of the incredible surroundings. The cuisine here is particularly excellent and gusts can enjoy bespoke meals prepared by the talented chef. Anzan is a spot for total relaxation. Explore the lake, visit local villages or simply relax and enjoy an indulgent massage.  This is a fabulous hotel.