THE PLATEU REGION
Vivid Mayan Culture
Lake Atitlán, is considered as the most beautiful volcanic lake of Guatemala that is naturally surrounded by 3 magnificent active volcanoes, San Pedro, Atitlán and Tolimán. Located within the highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range, it is also recorded as the deepest lake in Central American reaching a maximum depth of 340 meters. Because of its geographical position and advantage, the region supports the plantation of coffee beans, avocado, corn, tomato, and other assorted vegetables. Recently, the lake has slowly suffered continuous degradation due to contamination and lack of infrastructure to manage waste in the area. Despite these events, the destination is still one of the most visited places for local travelers and tourists. However, it’s worth mentioning that this mythical lake not only offers an extraordinary panoramic view but also distinctive cultural experiences in each town located in each section of the lake.
Panajachel, San Pedro la Laguna, San Marcos, Santa Cruz, Santa Catarina Palopó and Santiago Atitlán are the 6 different towns in proximity that delivers options to experience local food and handicraft markets, friendly hostels, ecological parks, sightseeing spots and mountain hikes like La Nariz del Indio.
Quetzaltenango, also widely known as Xelaju is both the capital and the municipal seat of the department’s municipality, it is located 206 km away from the city capital and forms part of the southeast plateau región of the country. The name “Xelaju” derives from the local indigenous language meaning “under the mountain” due to its geographical location. Xela has long been a prosperous yet intriguing destination for local and international tourists mainly because it's considered the most cultural city in the country. Lately, the city’s economy and educational system have shifted towards a more sustainable way due to foreign investment on infrastructure, school reconstructions, hospitals, educational institutions and also mainly by volunteer programs led by entrepreneurs.
The natural reserve of Cerro del Baul, Cerro Siete Orejas, El Cerro Quemado, the natural hotsprings of Almolonga Cirilo Flores, Las Delicisa, Las Fuentes Georginas and La Laguna de Chicabal are few of the many significant destinations that Quetzaltenango has to offer.