School girl in Panajachel, Guatemala, selling fabrics. She says "Why don't you buy my stuff?" I gave her a little Australian flag.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lago Atitlan, the jewel of the Western Highlands of Guatemala

All roads lead to Panajachel, main town on the shore of Lago Atitlan. Well, there is only one road to the lake which is sheltered within the Western Highlands of Guatemala, with mountains and volcanoes surrounding it. Population is about 14,000 and elevation above sea level is 1560 meters, or 5115 feet. The lake measures roughly 8 km across and 18 kms lengthwise. It originated some 85,000 years ago with the massive Los Chocoyos volcanic eruption which left a gaping crater that filled up with water. Further volcanic activity left numerous volcanic cones around the circumference adding to the present scenic landscape.

Panajachel, or Pana for short, is a great place to rest up awhile, or chill out. It caters for backpackers and well-heeled tourists alike, with accommodation ranging from $10 to $100 or more per night, with many cheap hospedajes and luxury tourist hotels, so take your pick. Along the lake front are many restaurants offering meals and entertainment with superb views of the lake.
Besides enjoying the Guatemalan cuisine there are ample opportunities to buy Indian handicrafts, such as fabrics, weavings, wall hangings etc, you name it and they've got it.

You can do an all day boat tour of the lake, stopping for food and drinks and buying handicrafts at the lakeside villages of San Pedro, Santiago, San Antonio and many more. San Pedro is more favourite and is worth staying there a few days or longer. You won't want to come home. Next week I shall post some fotos of San Pedro. Cheers, Allano
PS; Click on fotos to enlarge somewhat.

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