Atitlán is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Reaching a depth of nearly 2000 feet, the crystal clear waters of Atitlan are constantly changing in color from bright emerald green to glittering lapis lazuli to deep ultramarine.

 

 

Along the southern shore tower three immense volcanoes: Toliman, Atitlán, and San Pedro. Cerro de Oro (gold hill), a smaller volcano in formation, located at the foot of Toliman, is where according to legend the Tzutuhil Indians hid a treasure to protect it from Spanish plunder.

 

In the morning the lake is usually calm, and this is the best time to go for a swim. Later in the day wind blowing from the south, called the xocomil, churns up the water and white caps reign, providing excellent sailing and wind-surfing conditions. Lago de Atitlán lies 30 miles northwest of the highland city of Antigua Guatemala, known for its colonial-era Spanish-Baroque architecture and ruins.

 

Lago de Atitlán is the deepest lake in Central America, and fills a two million year-old caldera. Aldous Huxley wrote: "Lake Como, it seems to me, touches on the limit of permissibly picturesque, but Atitlán is Como with additional embellishments of several immense volcanoes. It really is too much of a good thing." Read more about traveling to Lago de Atitlán.

The Kaqchikel, or Kaqchiquel, language (in modern orthography; formerly also spelled Cakchiquel or Cakchiquiel) is an indigenous Mesoamerican language and a member of the Quichean–Mamean branch of the Mayan languages family. It is spoken by the indigenous Kaqchikel people in central Guatemala. It is closely related to the K'iche' (Quiché) and Tz'utujil languages.

"The Tz'utujil (Tzutujil, Tzutuhil, Sutujil) are a Native American people, one of the 21 Maya ethnic groups that dwell in Guatemala. Together with the Xinca, Garífunas (Black Caribs) and the Ladinos, they make up the 24 ethnic groups in this relatively small country. Approximately 100,000 Tz'utujil live in the area around Lake Atitlán. Their pre-Columbian capital, near Santiago Atitlán, was Chuitinamit. In pre-Columbian times, the Tz'utujil nation was a part of the ancient Maya civilization.

 

The Tz'utujil are noted for their continuing adherence to traditional cultural and religious practices. Evangelical Protestantism and Roman Catholicism are also practiced among them. They speak the Tz'utujil language, a member of the Mayan language family.