Ecotourism in Guatemala is really kicking off as travelers come to explore the diversity of its natural environment. In promoting ecotourism, Guatemalans hope to not only educate tourists but also to share and show respect for their beautiful, yet fragile environment, and while encouraging others to be involved in conserving natural wildlife.
From Guatemala City, more locals and tourists are heading out towards the highlands surrounding Lake Atitlan. The natural setting of such a beautiful, high altitude lake makes it a perfect location to unwind and enjoy some outdoor activities.
Eco- Lodging Along The Shores Of Lake Atitlan
The accomodation facilities around the lake are just perfect for a relaxing getaway, of which there are several options. Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort and Nature Reserve is conveniently located along the shores of Lake Atitlan. The suites have been crafted by locals using volcanic rock and palm materials inspired by their natural surroundings within the nature reserve. Hotel Isla Verde offers eco-friendly cabins nearby the lake and hosts many eco-travelers who come to explore Guatemala. The gardens are perfect for a relaxing afternoon on a hammock listening to the sounds of nature.
ARCAS Eco Tours are involved in providing many eco activities for a great outdoor adventures. One can take a hike and enjoy a dip under the waterfalls, or even a swim in the lake. The thermal activity from the volcano makes the water much warmer and all the more pleasant. Kayaking has also become quite popular and many travelers have taken to zip lining and paragliding which are the most enjoyable ways to experience the rainforest and nature in the area.
Guatemala is teeming with birdlife and the trips led by ARCAS Eco Tours will allow you to encounter the species living in the ecosystems along the excursion routes including Atitlan Grebe, Green-Throated Mountain Gem, Sparkling-Tailed Hummingbird, and the Inca Dove.
Visit The Smoking Volcanoes – Trail Options
Climbing Pacaya Volcano should be on your to-do-list. ARCAS Eco Tours are familiar with several trails, but the most popular is the short, hour-long ascent which will take you to the top of the active volcano as you pass by gushing fountains before reaching the summit at 2,560 meters. Depending on the volcanic activity the routes may vary from time to time. If you’re fortunate enough, you may just be able to climb to the edge of the crater to view streams of hot lava. The volcano is so accessible that it is even possible to go up on horseback.
If you would rather view the volcanoes from a distance, Quetzaltenango Tours have a three-day trek between Lake Atitlan and Xela, which includes two nights with a local family in the community. The experience will cover steep mountain trails, three volcanoes, and awesome sights in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. Hikers witness the most stunning sunrises over Lake Atitlan and smoking volcanoes.
Villages, Coffee Plantations, And Jungles
There are also many small villages surrounding the lake where travelers can visit organizations who are working to conserve the natural wildlife in the region. Here you can be involved in their projects and learn about the environment.
A visit to one of the local coffee plantations within the vicinity of the lake will enrich your trip as you catch a whiff of freshly roasted coffee beans and learn all about the cultivating of coffee trees, the harvesting of the coffee beans, and how the villagers create their amazing Guatemalan brews.
The Tikal National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its flourishing jungles and Mayan temples is an indescribable experience. Tikal Temple V, one of the tallest temples has a lookout point which one can reach by braving the ladders all the way up to the top for a spectacular sighting of the park!
Paying a visit to Lake Atitlan and surrounds has so many options for eco-travelers, and whether you stop for a short break or an adventurous getaway, the beauty and wildlife along shores of the lake will leave you wishing you could only stay longer.