All the news and events around Lake Atitlan are covered with individual pages for the major tourism towns and villages at the lake. The news from San Pedro, San Marcos and Panajachel are already online, with Santa Cruz on the way.
Besides news and weather, this site also provides travel tips about each area, such as the best hotels and hostels, restaurants and bars at Lake Atitlan.
No Zika cases have been reported at Lake Atitlan or in any other place in Guatemala. The lake, Antigua, Guatemala City and Xela are at high altitudes too cold for most mosquitoes. But use bug spray at the beach and around Tikal and Coban. For more details, see No Zika in Guatemala.
24: The annual San Juan feria, or city festival, starts today and lasts through the weekend.
14: The Flavor of Pana Restaurant Cook Off takes place this Sunday, the 18th. Proceeds go to buying pneumonia vaccine for the local kids. 8 PM at the Porta del Lago Hotel in Panajachel. Tickets available at Sandra's and other Pana businesses.
Most of the docks around the lake are in great shape for high season. Water level is down.
As everyone here gets ready for high season, new businesses are opening around the lake. Snowbirds are beginning to return, with the tourists not far behind.
Rain has led to landslide causing travel delays on the road to the lake. Roadwork on 148, the road from the Inter-American Highway to San Pedro and San Marcos continues, with delays up to a half hour.
It's Ladies Night at El Dragon Hotel every Friday this month. El Dragon's bar is right on the lake, with a view from the Jacuzzi too.
20: Most parts of the lake are safe, but caution is advised when you visit an isolated area such as Indian Nose. Do not take tablets, jewelrey or anything of value, as occasional acts of random robbery occur from time to time.
7: Today's early morning earthquake hit Lake Atitlan at 6.7 on the Richter scale, knocking dishes and other things off shelves in San Marcos la Laguna. No reports yet from the rest of the lake, but San Pedro la Laguna also esaped serious damage. Three deaths have been reported so far in Guatemala. For the latest updates, see Lake Atitlan Blog
4: The water level at the lake dropped a few inches in May, but tropical depression Boris sent it back to previous levels. If El Nino arrives this month as forecast, this should reverse again through July.
25: San Marcos la Laguna's annual festival kicks off today.
24: The week after Semana Santa, when all the crowds have gone, is a great time to visit the lake. Bars and restaurants are not packed, there's no loud music blasting in the streets, and the weather is still exceptional. Hotels and hostels have plenty of rooms, so there's no need for a reservation.
16: The newest place to stay at the lake is Maya Moon Lodge in Tzununa, midway between Santa Cruz and San Marcos and also convenient to San Pedro. See Maya Moon Lodge for details on the private cabanas and shared accommodations.
4: A new -- and free -- Health Clinic in Panajachel celebates its opening with a fiesta at the Hotel Porta del Lago on March 6 from 4 PM-10 PM.
Dr. Louis Dr Pena Rosenwinkel says that every ticket sold for the event will cover medicine for 10 kids or older people. Be there!
11: The water level finally started dropping in the past week, long past the time it did last year. Until now, a boat was floating outside the entrance of The Deep End Bar and Pool in San Pedro, and today the boat is 20 feet away. Lake Atitlan's water level has not dropped 20 feet, but the water has receded significatnly.
4: Want to retire to Guatemala? See Retiring in Guatemala
3: The Hotel of the Month for the lake is Hotel la Paz in San Marcos la Laguna. Still chilly at night, but getting warmer.
13: The water level at Lake Atitlan has been dropping since rainy season ended, but not as quickly as it has in previous years.
4: On the Santigao side of the lake, the federal government has prohibited scuba diving at the underwater archaeological site of Samabaj. They're planning a museum and park for the area, but did not include the Santiago muni in the ptogram. Some of the Maya are upset about this, and are saying the real name of the site is Pa'Jaibal'.
Meanwhile, the weather has turned cold, but at least the winds have died down.
1: The lake is alive again, with more travelers arriving from around the world as well as Guatemala. Many bars and restaurants are planning New Year's Eve parties, so check the news pages for each town to discover the latest party announcements.
13: The snowbirds are back, and the tourists are not far behind. If you have not made hotel reservations for the lake, now's the time to do it. We recommend Tropicl Travel in Panajanchel. Rainy season is over, but it's still cool at night, so bring a sweater or light jacket.
Hotel of the Month for November is Casa Atitlan in San Pedro
28: Panajachel's second Annual Marathon will be held in November. For info, see Panajachel News.
13: We spoke too soon. Daniel at The Deep End Bar and Pool reported a six-inch rise in the water level there (beside the San Pedro dock for boats to Santiago). Not a lot of rain last night, but it just kept pouring.
12: With less rain than last year, the lake level has gone down, not up, so far this year. A clear sign of this is the back area are The Deep End Bar and Pool in San Pedro. Last September it was completely flooded. Today is it high and dry. We will have six weeks of rainy season to go, but without a major hurricane or tropical depression, it appears that the waters Lake Atitlan will continue to lower, not rise.
In Santiago, work on the street up from the dock is complete. It is not the best-looking example of cobblestone at the lake or even Antigua. Next local project is a new dock.
18: Posada de Santiago has a Mayan fire ceremony to celebrate 13 Baktun at 8 PM.
For a list of Christmas Dinners, Events and End of the World Parties, see December 2012 Parties
16: The 5.2 earthquake early this morning was centered only fifteen kilometers (ten miles) from Lake Atitlan in a town called Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán. Shook up people around the lake, but no injuries or damage have been reported.
21: Water level in the lake has dropped considerably since the big quake on the 7th. It is hard to say how much, but San Marcos has already recovered at least 15 feet of shoreline at the dock.
In San Pedro news, the back area at La Piscina, fully underwater last week, has regained one-third of the land, and about 15-20 feet of coast has returned near the Santiago dock. (The amount of shoreline lost or gained depends on the slope of the land as much as on the actual rise or fall in the depth of the lake's water level.)
12: Yesterday's 6.2 earthquake is not getting much local media in Guatemala, where Prensa Libre refers to it as only one of more than 100 aftershocks of the 7.5 earthquake four days earlier. Many people in San Marcos haven taken to the streets in fear of more damage.
National Palace Damaged by Earthquake
More than 9,000 homes have reported major damage, mainly in the San Marcos area and in Xela, from the big one. 20,000 people are homeless. Cracks appeared in the National Palace in the capital. Other buildings are being examined for damage.
7: The 7.4 earthquake that struck off Guatemala's Pacific Coast at 10:35 AM today prompted evacuations of homes, office buildings and malls in Guatemala City and even as far away as Mexico City.
Today's Earthquake in Guatemala Felt at Lake Atitlan
At Lake Atitlan, it shook buildings and rattle a few nerves, but no significant damage occurred. But elsewhere, 39 deaths and 155 injuries had been reported by 7 PM MST in the border town of San Marcos (NOT San Marcos la Laguna). Eighteen buildings collapsed in Xela. A few landslides blocked the Inter-American Highway for a few hours, but the roads are now open.
It happened 35 miles offshore of Playa Champerico, near Retalulheu. This is a four-hour bus ride from Santiago, Lake Atitlan, on the road to the Mexican border and Tapachula.
25: They're planning a huge End of the World Party Guatemala at Lake Atitlan at Lake Atitlan for around December 21, 2012, probably in San Pedro.
23: Two big events scheduled for December 1. The 2nd Annual Blues and Jazz Cruise and Festival in Santiago, and a Gastronomic Fair in Santa Cruz. Tough choice, but a great time whichever party you attend.
8: The water level is still rising around the lake. Few tourists anywhere but San Pedro. Good time to bargain for souvenirs, especially in Panajachel.
9: This is a great time to visit the lake. Due to the rain, there are few tourists, so bars and restaurants are less crowded.
27: There's a new travel blog in town, and it's walking tall. See Lake Atitlan Travel Blog for the latest posts about the lake from locals and tourists alike.
21: It's been raining at night the past week, and evenings have been cool. Lots of people around, many of them Guatemalans from Antigua and the capital.
10: The water level went up six weeks ago, but with little rain since then, it has actually dropped.
Rainy Season Early, Lake Level Rising Again
May 2, 2012 - People living on the shoreline of Lake Atitlan report the water level has risen four inches in the past month. Rainy season usually starts in May, but this year we got light rain in February and lots of hard downpours from March through mid-April. It rained off and on most of last night.
The water level at Lake Atitlan has risen fourteen feet in the past two years. Most docks at the lake are in good condition. The San Pedro dock's floor is still submerged, and passengers have to cross to shore on wide planks, but the dock itself remains in good condition.
After the Flood
December 7, 2010 - Most of the new docks remain underwater, and smaller ones have been substituted since the water level rose ten feet. It is now subsiding, but very slowly, and not expected to return to previous levels anytime soon.
Water Level Rises Dramatically
Since August, 2010, the water level at the lake has risen at least seven feet, due to incessant rain. It stopped (at least for now) the first week of October, but many of the new docks are underwater. This includes San Pedro, Panajachel, San Marcos, Santiago and Santa Cruz, which now rely on smaller docks. The photo below shows what was once Cafe la Puerta in San Pedro.
Many people with lakeshore property have lost significant amounts of land, and several businesses have been forced to move or close. We will report more on this in the coming weeks and put up some before and after photos to show the dramatic changes.
Lake Atitlan after Agatha
June 15, 2010: It will take time to recover from the storm, but tourism facilities around most of the lake were relatively unaffected. Hotels and restaurants are open and have water and electricity, most of the debris in the lake has been removed, and the shuttles are running again from San Pedro and San Marcos to Antigua and Xela.
Some agencies are advising tourists to avoid the lake, but apparently they have not visited the top tourism towns and seen that the lake has bounced back and still one of the best vacation destinations in Guatemala.
Lake Atitlan Devastated by Agatha
June, 2010: The tropical storm that crushed Guatemala in June, 2010, resulted in loss of life and severe damage to many homes around Lake Atitlan. More than 70,000 people were left homeless, and thousands of survivors have no food and only the clothes they were wearing at the time.
It will take years to recover from Agatha, and your donations will help. See Donations for Lake Atitlan for links to groups that are collecting contributions for the Maya and other victims of the storm.
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