Gallery: the serenity of dawn on Lake Atitlàn
Early morning by Lake Atitlàn.
A lone fisherman drifts past, checking his lines. Volcanoes dot the horizon.
In the distance a small motorboat passes; it’s empty now but likely to be full of passengers soon.
The jetties too are quiet, waiting for the lakeside villages to wake up. During the day they will be busy, the base for the small boats that ferry locals and tourists to those villages.
This lake was said by Aldous Huxley to be the most beautiful lake in the world. I doubt that he had seen all of them, any more than I have, but it certainly has to be in anyone’s top ten. Lying a mile above sea level and ringed by mountains and three perfect volcanoes (Atitlàn , San Pedro and Toliman), its silvery blue waters are a photographer’s dream, especially in the early morning when they are at their most reflective.
The lake was formed in an immense volcanic explosion 85,000 years ago. As with Pompeii and Mount St. Helen, volcanic pressure built up and was released with devastating results. However the explosion here was much more destructive. The explosion at Mt. St. Helen released 2 cubic kilometres of rock and ash, Pompeii blew out 6 cubic kilometres. Atitlàn discharged over 180 cubic kilometres of hot ash and rock. An immense hole was left in the earth’s crust, and everything died for thousands of kilometres around. One of the more interesting effects of the explosion is that large fissures were formed in the depths of the crater, out of which the water flows. Atitlàn is unusual in that it is a fresh water lake with no river outlet.
Out of such devastation came beauty: the word ‘Atitlàn’ is a Mayan word that translates as ‘the place where the rainbow gets its colours.
Today the lake shore villages are home to a largely Mayan population (over 90%): some Cachikel such as San Antonio Palopó, some Tz’utujil like Santiago Atitlàn.
We visited both of those villages but stayed in the larger and more touristy Panajachel, where these photos were taken. I’m sharing them for Patti’s Lens Artists challenge this week as for me these scenes epitomise her chosen theme of Serene.
I visited Panajachel in 2010
One of my favorite places of beauty. I do agree it’s one of the world’s most beautiful lakes. The mist in the morning, the quiet trip across the lake surrounded by volcanoes. I lived in Guatemala for three years and visited Lake Atitlan many times, including some of the villages. Thanks for this one.
Thank you Ruth 🙂 I remember reading some of your fascinating accounts of living in Guatemala – in fact, I think they were my first introduction to your blog!
I’m so glad they interested you!
Serene indeed Sarah! It’s always those early morning shots that brings out the beauty in a place … your description of activities (or the lack thereof), complete the serenity!
Thank you, I’m glad I managed to convey something of that serenity to you 🙂
Great photos. The first is my fave by far. WordPress has me perplexed as to why I have to sign in on my iPad, thus my fakery.
Thank you 🙂 Using WordPress on different devices can be a pain sometimes! The result is that I’m not sure who you are?!
Well done Sarah! I very much like your photos with fog and mist.
Thank you very much 😊
Beautiful photos of this special lake. I love the third image. Beautifully captured, Sarah!
Thank you Amy 😊 I think that shot is my favourite too, or one of them at least!
I’m finding your photos on an early Monday morning (my time). What a wonderful way to begin the week. Serene.
Thanks so much Rose, I’m happy to have given you a serene start to your week 😀
Your shots never disappoint, Sarah …such serene shots really
Thank you Teresa, that’s a lovely thing to say 😍
Beautiful Sarah! Enjoyed the serenity of these pictures. You seem to have a great collection of pictures. How can I participate in these weekly challenges? Is it open to all or you have some group who are allowed to participate?
Thank you Leela 🙂 Anyone can join in these challenges. Just go to the post of the person setting them follow that person so you hear about each week’s theme. In the case of this particular challenge, Lens Artists, there are four hosts – you can find them all listed on Amy’s page about the challenge: https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/lens-artists-photo-challenge/. That page also explains how it works. You write your post to fit the theme, include a link to that week’s challenge post and tag it with the name of the challenge, e.g. Lens Artists Challenge. Also, leave a comment on the challenge post with a link to your own, in case the pingback (link from your post to theirs) doesn’t work. It’s polite to also make a point of checking and commenting on some of the other contributions each week.
You can see a list of all the challenges I participate in (some more often than others) in the dropdown ‘Challenges’ menu above. In addition to Lens Artists you might like Sunday Stills and also Friendly Friday which I co-host (see https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/the-friendly-friday-challenge-how-to-join-in/) It would be lovely to see your contributions!
Thanks Sarah…will try to get into this …. would be nice to connect to more people too… thankyou for guiding me
Yes, it’s a great way to connect to other bloggers 🙂
It reminds me of the lake where we used to camp in northern Maine. All it needs is the sounds loons calling.
That’s interesting Marilyn, as the climate and landscape of Guatemala would be very different to Maine! I guess beautiful lakes have plenty in common, wherever they are situated 😀
Oh, the Places We See
I love these photos. Talk about serenity, this placid lake and patient fisherman just speak to relaxation and appreciation of natural beauty. Thanks for sharing them along with your peacefully written copy.
Thank you so much 😀 I’m glad you found it all so peaceful – although I’m conscious that the fisherman, while he adds to the atmosphere of the shots, would tell us that he was working hard and not at all serene!
Wow that certainly does look a candidate for Top 10 lakes…these photos are the definition of the word serenity.
Thank you so much – and I know you’d love this area if you’ve not already been?!
Beautiful captures Sarah, and truly serene. It reminded me of the lake at Glacier National Park, and also of Crater Lake. I suppose there is no such thing as “the most beautiful lake” but we can enjoy and admire all of them every chance we get! Happy Holidays to you and yours.
Thank you Tina 🙂 As I mentioned to Anne below, we have visited Crater Lake, but the Glacier National Park is still on my wish-list. Hopefully we’ll get there some day!
100 Country Trek
Such a fabulous site to see and so serene.
Thank you 😊 Yes, this was the first place I thought of when I saw Patti’s ‘serene’ theme!
A beautiful and serene post Sarah. It’s amazing the beauty that is created from something so violent. Oregon has Crater Lake also formed by a volcanic eruption.
Thank you Anne – yes, out of destruction came beauty 🙂 We’ve visited Crater Lake and loved it. We spent the night at the lodge perched near the rim and drove all the way around. There was snow in some places even in early July!
You were lucky you could drive all the way around. We went three times in July and only once could we drive around the lake.
Agree with the above, a great scenic tour. Any of these pictures could qualify for Silent Sunday, or Serenity, or just “Come fly with Sarah”. It must have been magical to have been there at that time, and what a long way away that world seems today.
Thank you Mari 😊 Yes, a magical time and place, great memories! Hopefully one day there will be more like this … I do like the idea of ‘Come fly with Sarah’ 😆
I am enjoying your gorgeous scenic tour! What a stunning lake and an intriguing history. I am trying to imagine a lake that large created by a volcanic eruption. Just astounding and so very beautiful. Thanks for sharing these moments of serenity, Sarah!
Thank you Patti 🙂 Yes, that lake is huge – it’s really hard to comprehend the size of that eruption! I enjoyed this trip down memory lane, so thanks too for the interesting prompt.