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Laguna Chicabal

Situated a two hour walk from the village of San Martín Sacatepequez is beautiful Laguna Chicabal. The lake sits within a volcanic crater at an altitude of about 8,900ft and is surrounded by a lush cloud forest. There is something tranquil about a visit to the lake and the cloudy mist that lies close to the water’s surface only adds to its calm atmosphere. There usually aren’t very many tourists there on the same day and often you might be the only visitor. As you approach the lake area you will come across the ranger’s station where you pay roughly $2 for park entry. If you arrive by car, parking is an additional $1.30. There is some cabin accommodation close to the lake but you will need to bring your own sleeping bag if you want to stay, and there is no hot water in the shared bathroom. People with their own camping gear often camp near the tourist centre or down at the lagoon for another $1.30.

There is a lookout point about 45 minutes uphill from the centre but there is often too much cloud around the lake for a decent view. Once you get down to the shore the scenery is just as picturesque. Bathing in the lake is strictly forbidden at all times. Laguna Chicabal is considered sacred by the local community and many traditional ceremonies are held there. Usually, access to the lake is restricted when ceremonies are taking place, but if you do happen to stumble upon one on a visit it is important to respect the local culture. Do not interrupt the ceremony and refrain from taking photographs of the people without their permission. They locals are generally extremely friendly so once you are considerate and don’t impose you’ll get a warm welcome.

Other neighborhoods in Quetzaltenango : San Francisco El Alto, Los Vahos, El Palmar Viejo, Las Cumbres, Xela, Almolonga, Totonicapán, Zona 3 Quetzaltenango, Fuentes Georginas and San Andrés Xecul.

05 Aug 2010

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