Lago de Atitlán – Guatemala - Atlas Obscura
Join us on an Atlas Obscura Trip in 2019 »

Guatemala

Lago de Atitlán

Central America's deepest lake is actually a volcanic caldera, surrounded by three volcanoes. 

Although it is recognized as Central America’s deepest lake (estimated at over 340 meters), Atitlán is so deep it has yet to be properly sounded. It is the result of a massive volcanic explosion 84000 years ago, known as the Los Chocoyos eruption.

It is surrounded by three volcanoes, Volcan Atitlán, Volcán San Pedro and Volcán Tolimán. In addition, a forth volcano, Fuego can often be seen smoking on the horizon.

The towns surrounding the lake are home to vibrant Mayan communities as well as a thriving tourist industry centred in Panajachel.

Aldous Huxley famously wrote of it: “Lake Como, it seems to me, touches on the limit of permissibly picturesque, but Atitlán is Como with additional embellishments of several immense volcanoes. It really is too much of a good thing.”

In recent years, cyanobacteria infestation has become an increasing environmental concern with implications for the local ecosystem and economy. 

Know Before You Go

About a 3 hour drive from Guatemala City or Antigua.