Lake Atitlan has often been called the most beautiful lake on earth. Nestled in the Guatemalan Highlands, of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas mountain range, this scenic location combines the richness of the Mayan culture, the beauty of nature, a relaxed and rustic setting, and near perfect weather.
The lake is surrounded by nine small villages, each with its own distinct cultural flare, that are accessible by small boats called lanchas. The bohemian, tourist-driven town of Panajachel is viewed as the jumping off point for the region. Santiago Atitlán,the largest of the lakeside communities, is home of the shrine of Maximón, a local deity combining Mayan beliefs, Catholic saints and conquistador legends. For a quieter setting, San Marcos Las Laguna is widely known for “less party, more meditation”.
Immersion in the small town lifestyle of these lake communities is the perfect way to experience Mayan culture and get away from the frantic pace of 21st century living. Although it’s farther from the more highly travelled tourist areas, Lake Atitlan is still only a two and a half hour drive from Guatemala City and the international airport where there are a growing number of regularly scheduled flights.
The Lake Atitlan area is perfect for expats and retirees who are looking to immerse themselves in a local culture, free from modern distractions. Investors will also find the area a fertile location to develop projects as more visitors discover the wonders of this special place.
As Guatemala’s political situation has stabilized, tourism and foreign investment is once again on the upswing. In areas like Lake Atitlan, where there has only been limited development, prices are still quite affordable. Property taxes are also pleasantly low.. As the growth of tourism in the region continues, further improvements to roads and other parts of the infrastructure will add to the desirability of Lake Atitlan as an investment destination.