Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Mon June 06 2016

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  • Nick and Dariece | June 6, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Lake Atitlan for Adventure Seekers

    Lake Atitlan for Adventure Seekers

    Photos by Goats on the Road

    Lake Atitlan has long been on the hippie backpacker trail, and as of late, more travelers and digital nomads are choosing this high altitude lake as their go-to spot in Guatemala. Not only is the scenery beautiful (the lake is flanked by towering volcanoes!), but there are many activities that you can partake in as well. If you're an adventure lover, don't miss these top excursions on Lake Atitlan.

    Scuba Diving 

    Did you know that you can actually scuba dive in the lake? There two main dive shops, one is located in Panajachel, and one is in Santa Cruz. ATI divers operates out of the La Iguana Perdida hostel in Santa Cruz, making this a hotspot for travelers, and divers.

    READ MORE: 15 Photos of Lake Atitlan That Will Have You Packing Your Bags

    san juan lake atitlan guatemala

    Throughout the lake's history, the water levels have risen and fallen drastically. Surrounding the village of San Juan, you can see buildings with just their roofs poking out of the water, while in other areas of the lake, hotels and homes are completely submerged. You can dive among abandoned buildings, sunken trees and along active volcano fault lines — the lake can be a bit chilly, so diving around the base of the volcano, while plunging your hands and feet into the warm, soft silt is a welcome relief from the cold water.


    Kayaking on Lake Atitlan is a great way to see the villages from the shoreline and to get some exercise. The local boats (lanchas) that act as the taxis around the lake can be quite noisy, so it's nice to rent a kayak and paddle to the calmer, quieter spots. If you're staying in the village of San Pedro, many of the hotels/hostels there will have kayaks available to rent. Our vacation rental in Santa Cruz had a kayak available for our use, free of charge. If you don't have a kayak included in your hotel, or you can't find somewhere to rent one, you can contact Kayak Guatemala.

    kayaking on lake atitlan guatemala

    Indian Nose Hike

    The hike is named Indian Nose due to the shape of the mountain — it looks like a person lying down with his nose up in the air. This is the most popular hike on the lake, and for good reason. Starting in the village of San Pedro at 3:30 a.m., you will arrive at the top of the mountain after about an hour climb. The purpose of leaving so early is so that you can see the incredible sunrise from the top! For those of you who are interested in a longer hike, you can start in the village of San Juan, which will take you about three hours to reach the summit of the peak. This hike can be done with a guide, or independently. Always seek the advice of locals before setting off on your own.

    Volcano Hiking

    Since the lake is surrounded by three towering volcanoes, you may as well hike up one, or all of them. San Pedro Volcano is a trek that can be completed in a day. It takes about three hours to the top, and two hours to get back down. Or, you can spent the night at the top in a hut, have a bonfire and enjoy the sunrise the following morning. Atitlan and Toliman Volcanoes can also be conquered and are more off the beaten track than the San Pedro Volcano, but they will take about a day and a half to hike. Camping out under the stars at the highest point on the lake is an incredible experience. These treks should be undertaken with a guide.

    san pedro volcano on lake atitlan

    Water Skiing and Wakeboarding

    If you're lucky enough to befriend a local or an ex-pat with a motorboat, you'll be able to go water skiing or wakeboarding. The lake is glass calm in the mornings and in the early evening. During the afternoon, the water can be a bit choppy, which isn't great for these watersports. Being out on the boat means you'll be able to see the middle part of the lake, which is where the water is the cleanest. Jump in for a swim, have some fun and get some exercise while you're at it. We have heard of one company called Get Wet Atitlan, so if you don't make friends with someone who can take you out in their boat, perhaps try that company.

    READ MORE: The Beauty of Lake Atitlan, the Natural Fun of San Pedro

    wake boarding on lake atitlan

    The next time you visit Lake Atitlan, make sure to peel yourself away from your hammock or lounge chair and explore the activities on offer. There are many things to see and do around the lake, don’t miss out!

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Nick and Dariece Notes from the Goats

Nick and Dariece Nick and Dariece are the couple behind Goats On The Road, a website designed to inspire others to live a financially sustainable, location independent lifestyle. Masters at making money abroad and turning their travels into a way of life, they've been on the road since 2008 and have explored some of the least visited places on earth, finding adventure wherever they go. They are also full time contributors at Credit Walk where they share their expertise of making money and travelling forever. Check them out at Goats On The and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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