Hola viajeros! Welcome to my article on Lake Atitlan – the most gorgeous place in Guatemala. My name is Melanie Ba from @melly_ba. I’m a 25 year old French girl who grew up in the suburbs of Paris. My daily life until about six months ago was the famous French expression: “subway-work-sleep”!
Three years ago, my boyfriend and I decided to take an eight month break to travel the world. That is when we started to take pictures and fell in love with photography. After visiting 13 countries, we realized that we couldn’t go back to a Parisian life for long. I’m lucky to have a digital job – so I started freelancing. Last October, we left to travel for an indefinite period.
Two Amazing Months in Guatemala
I have always wanted to visit Guatemala. I had heard about the “country of volcanoes” and the Mayan culture and couldn’t wait to go! As it opened during the pandemic, I decided not to hesitate at the chance of going. I stayed in Guatemala for two months and it was one of my best trips.
To give you an idea of our itinerary: we started our trip in Antigua Guatemala – the beautiful colonial city which is home to many digital nomads. Then we went to Lake Atitlan for two weeks. Following that, we joined up with the sea at El Paredon to learn how to surf. Lastly, we headed back inland to Semuc Champey and the unmissable Mayan city of Tikal.
My Experience at Lake Atitlan
I had heard about a lake surrounded by volcanoes before I looked into Guatemala, but it was really while I was there that I discovered photos and blog posts that made me want to spend time there. I had also read that the lake was a great place to take Spanish classes and that is what we did.
Several influencers on social media also made me want to visit this place: @brunomaltor and @alyssaya. An American lady now lives by the lake and she works with locals to make accessories with traditional fabrics. These pictures really made me want to visit the villages along Lake Atitlan.
As I mentioned, I took Spanish lessons with a woman who lives in San Marcos La Laguna. She was sweet and I learned a lot about the culture and life by the lake. I also went hiking to see the sunrise on a mountain. The colors were unbelievable. I felt so small surrounded by nature.
Kayaking was another experience that I loved. The lake is a paradise to navigate on a kayak or boat. With the volcanoes in the background, you get an incredible view. Another highlight was staying in a luxurious hotel for two days called La Fortuna at Atitlan. It was a small Balinese style hotel located between two villages and only accessible by boat.
Our villa at La Fortuna at Atitlan had a private pool and breathtaking views of the volcano. It was here, at La Fortuna at Atitlan, where I took my favorite photos and videos of the lake. I felt so privileged to be there. It feels like you are all alone on the lake. This is also where I went kayaking. Lake Atitlan truly is one of the most gorgeous places in Central America!
Where to Stay in Lake Atitlan
For lodging I recommend La Fortuna at Atitlan. It’s a haven of peace and a little piece of paradise. I have heard of some other beautiful hotels beside the lake. Do your research and you will find the best ones. Otherwise, we also stayed in an Airbnb with a beautiful view in San Marcos La Laguna. Try booking accommodation at heights for super views of the lake!
Lake Atitlan – A Must-Visit in Guatemala
I think Lake Atitlan is really a must-visit for any trip to Guatemala. The villages allow you to live at the same rhythm as the locals. In a beautiful setting, you can learn more about the culture – for example, you will see that the locals don’t speak Spanish but instead speak a Mayan dialect.
Visiting Lake Atitlan and its villages will provide you with lovely encounters. It seems that each village is different and deserves to be visited in its own way. For hikers, you can also hike the volcanoes for epic views.
I would like to leave you with my favorite memory of Lake Atitlan. It was when I meeted a family that sold tacos on the side of the road. We spent a lot of time with them – playing basketball with the kids and chatting away. It was a lovely experience and one that I won’t be forgetting in a hurry 🙂