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San Pedro Volcano - from Panajachel

Directions about Lake Atitlán

The most beautiful lake in the world
The people that gets to know the Atitlan Lake can only repeat what everybody says: The Most Beautiful Lake in the World. It’s not only because its natural beauty, its majesty, or the magic that irradiates from this place. It’s also its people, its history and its traditions, making of this place one of the most touristic places in Guatemala. The clear waters, the sun, the wind that more than a wind is a whisper of ancient legends, the native women and men in their daily activities makes a wonderful picture that you will never forget.

The origin of this lake is believed in three different theories, but the most knew is the one of a huge volcanic eruption, maybe the biggest in America in the last million of years. 150 km3 of magma were expelled upwards, knowing this event as “Los Chocoyos”, and this way was made a depression almost circular of 18 kilometers of diameter, 250 km2 of area and 900 meters of deep. The rivers of that époque started to fill that huge hole and was formed the beautiful lake. Today the lake is situated 1,560 meters above sea level, occupies 130 km2 of the surface of that hole, and of the same 900 meters of deep, 300 are of lacustrine sediments (proper of lakes) and eruptive material of the volcanoes. The other 300 meters are of water. And the last 300 are made by the visible high of the hole, between the land and the surface of water. But the beauty of this lake is not only its size, the picture is completed by the three volcanoes and the many mountains that surrounds the lake making an amazing memory in your mind and heart.

In 1955 was declared the Lake Atitlan a National Park and a Protection Area. This is not too much in Guatemala, but surely made to grow the senses of the population to take care of the nature. Also you could have the experience of watching the very last samples of the Pato Poc, unique in the world. Unfortunately, in danger of disappearing, such as the mountain cat, lizards, some different plants, butterflies, and the poisoning scorpions, that cause a temporary paralysis, but aren’t deadly.

Long years ago, when the lake and lands were habited by the grandfathers of our country and the most spectacular civilization in the history of the humanity, the Mayan people, is told that two of the kingdoms that lived in Tecpanatitlan (today Solola) were always in war, the k’iches-Kaqchickeles and the Tz’utujiles. These two kingdoms had their own dynasties with kings, queens, prince and princess. One day, because things of life, two young princes of the different kingdoms met each other and fell in love. Because of the problems between their villages, the two kings condemned that love and prohibited to see their lovers. But the young lovers didn’t accept this punishment and one day went to their habitual point of meeting, the lake, and got drowned. Since that day their souls lives in the water and every day they come out to dance and love each other in the lake, and because of that every day, at the same hour (afternoon) there are make some twists of wind and waves in the lake that makes its water very brave and a little difficult of sail.


The department of Solola is in the south-occidental part of the country, in the region named Indian Highland Alive. Has an extension of 1,061 km2. This territory was occupied in the prehispanic period until our days by three Mayan groups: k’iche, kaqchikel and tz’utujil.

The department of Solola was named not too long time ago, “Tecpanatitlan” which means “Palace of the Atitlan’s Lord”, and covered the area of what today are Tecpan, Suchitepequez and El Quiche until 1872, when were separated and was created the department of Solola. It is divided in 19 villages, but only eleven are in the shores of the beautiful Lake Atitlan, and those are:

(with no shore)

1. Nahuala
2. Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan
3. San Andres Sementabaj
4. Concepcion
5. San Jose Chacaya
6. Santa Lucia Utatlan
7. Santa Maria Visitacion
8. Santa Clara la Laguna


(with shore)

9. San Juan la Laguna
10. San Pedro la Laguna
11. Santiago Atitlan
12. San Lucas Toliman
13. San Antonio Palopo
14. Santa Catarina Palopo
15. Panajachel
16. Solola
17. Santa Cruz la Laguna
18. San Marcos la Laguna
19. San Pablo la Laguna

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