Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Santiago Atitlan Travel Blog› entry 11 of 21 › view all entries
The next morning we visited Lake Atitlan. We crossed it by boat, visiting to village of Santiago Atitlan. Lake Atitlán is a large 'endorheic lake' (one that does not flow to the sea) in the Guatemalan Highlands. While Atitlan is recognized to be the deepest lake in Central America, its bottom has not been completely sounded. Estimates of its maximum depth range up to 340 meters. The lake is shaped by deep escarpments which surround it and by three volcanoes on its southern flank. Lake Atitlan is further characterized by towns and villages of the Maya people. The lake is volcanic in origin, formed in an eruption 84,000 years ago. It is renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, which you can see in the pictures.
We visited the village of Santiago Atitlán. Santiago is the largest of the lakeside communities, and is noted for its worship of Maximón, an idol formed by the fusion of traditional Mayan deities, Catholic saints and conquistador legends. The institutionalized effigy of Maximón is under the control of a local religious brotherhood and resides in various houses of its membership during the course of a year, being most ceremonially moved in a grand procession during Semana Santa. Several towns in Guatemala have similar cults, most notably the cult of San Simen in Zunil.
After visiting the Lake and village in the morning, we went in the afternoon for the famous market in Chichicastenango.