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Parque Nacional Laguna Lachuá

Named after the almost perfectly circular lake in its mist, the Parque Nacional Laguna Lachuá is a 14,500-hectare park of subtropical rainforest, and is worth an overnight stay if you like to combine quiet wildlife watching with relaxing swims. The larger eco-region of Lachuá is a RAMSAR site (wetlands of international importance), home to 40 species of amphibians, 170 species of birds, as well as 130 species of mammals including tapirs, ocelots and pumas. Among those denizens, the easiest to spot are the hundreds of butterflies, the shy agoutis and squirrels, or maybe a boa constrictor.

The highlight of the park is the lake, whose crystalline waters turn a turquoise green under the sun. You can take a refreshing dip, or simply enjoy the silence on the deck by the visitor's center, watching tarpons leap dolphin-like in the distance. While the original name Lachuá comes from the Qeqchi for “smelly water”, because of the high sulfur content of the lake, only a few swampy areas actually emit smell; furthermore, the park is maintained strictly clean of any form of pollution or agricultural exploitation. Come in the summer, between February and May, to face fewer mosquitoes; choose a weekday to avoid local weekend crowds.

At the visitor center by the lake, there are BBQ areas and picnic tables, as well as a rustic hostel with small but clean single, double and family rooms, which cost $6 per person. The toilets are impeccably maintained latrines, and there are real showers as well as a generator providing electricity. There is neither shop nor restaurant but you can cook your own food in the communal kitchen, shared with the friendly park rangers. The area is an hour's walk (4.2km) from the ranger station at the park entrance, on a well-maintained path. Open daily 7 am – 4pm.

Tel: (502) 4883-3821, E-mail:, URL:

Admission: foreign adults $4.80, children $1.40, nationals $0.60, camping $3, tent rental $1.80.


Other places nearby Parque Nacional Laguna Lachuá: Parque Nacional Cuevas de Candelaria, Chisec, Biotopo De Quetzal, Playa Grande, Río Ikbolay, Cancuén, Cobán, Rabinal, San Jerónimo and Salamá.

By Andrea Davoust
After more than two years of working and living out of a suitcase in Eastern Europe and in various improbable African countries that no-one has ever...
08 Dec 2009

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