LivingTravelThe best lakes in Central America

The best lakes in Central America

Due to its tropical climate, rugged terrain, and large forests, Central America is rich in canals, lakes, and lagoons. Places with water offer some of the most incredible views in nature. You can feast on the view and take lots of photos or get in on the action and go kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, fishing, or boating. Take a look at this list of the best lakes to visit in Central America.


Five Blues Lake National Park (Belize)

Five Blues Lake National Park is centered around the beautiful, intensely blue lake of its name. The name refers to different colors of blue in the water that are the result of light filtered through the rainforest. As well as offering regular activities on the lake, such as swimming and boating, you can also explore its surroundings, which include hills and limestone caves. The park is also home to more than 200 species of birds and about 20 species of mammals. What you are least likely to see is a bunch of other humans; This park is relatively new and is still under the radar, relatively speaking.

Lake Atitlán (Guatemala)

Lake Atitlán, known as the most beautiful lake in Guatemala, is a large body of water that was formed centuries ago when a huge volcano collapsed. It is now surrounded by three newer but dormant volcanoes and 12 villages. Popular activities here include boating, jet skis, diving, and swimming. Its location also offers many things to do, such as climbing a volcano, partying in Panajachel, and visiting Mayan museums filled with artifacts found in its surroundings and even underwater.

Lake Petén Itzá (Guatemala)

You will find Lake Petén Itzá in the northern region of the country in the Department of Petén. This is the second largest lake in Guatemala, and travelers visit the region to explore archaeological sites such as Tikal and El Mirador; There are at least 27 sites around the lake. The main city of the department is on a small island at the southern end of the lake, and its hotels offer stunning views of the lake, especially at sunset. Petén Itzá is the main source of water or home to some 100 indigenous species that include crocodiles, jaguars, pumas, deer, parrots, toucans and macaws.

Lake Izabal (Guatemala)

Lake Izabal is the largest lake in Guatemala, and the largest river in the country drains into it. The main attraction here is taking a boat tour around the lake and on Rio Dulce, which runs from the lake to the Caribbean. The place is known for its mangroves and rich wildlife and is home to several species, including the manatee, jaguar, spider monkey, and howler monkey, along with many birds.

The well-preserved colonial castle of San Felipe de Lara can be reached by boat from the lake. Río Dulce was one of the main ports in Central America during the colonial period, and the fort was built to protect this lake against pirate attacks. There are also sunken ships nearby.

Lake Arenal (Costa Rica)

Lake Arenal is the largest lake in Costa Rica, created by man. It is right at the foot of the active Arenal volcano. Here you can fish rainbow bass (guapote) and find world-class windsurfing; The best time for this is March. You can also go canopy tours and climb the volcano for incredible views and great wildlife viewing opportunities.

Caño Negro (Costa Rica)

Cano Negro is a shallow lake that only exists during the rainy months. In December, when it stops raining, it begins to shrink and in February it is gone. You will find it in the northern region of Costa Rica. It is an amazing place for bird watchers during the second half of the year, when flocks of ducks, herons and other water birds gather. It is so important to local and global wildlife that it has been designated a wetland of international importance under the RAMSAR convention. The best way to get to Caño Negro is by boat on the Frio River.

Lake Yojoa (Honduras)

Yojoa is the largest lake in Honduras. It formed within a depression that resulted from the formation of surrounding volcanoes, and the entire area is a volcanic field with craters. You can drive along one of its sides on a trip from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula. The lake is a rest area where you can find restaurants that offer fresh fish and beautiful views of the water and the nearby mountains. Travelers who want to spend more time here can go fishing, look for one of the 400 species of birds that live in the area, or visit local plantations.

Guaimoreto Lagoon (Honduras)

The Guaimoreto lagoon in Honduras is a small freshwater reservoir that houses the biodiverse flora and fauna of the area that is separated from the Caribbean Sea by a thin strip of land. Visitors can take a boat ride through its mangroves and wetlands while looking for local flora and fauna. You can also use a canoe or kayak to explore the waterways or join the locals for a fishing adventure using traditional methods.

Lake Coatepeque (El Salvador)

Lake Coatepeque is called crater lake, formed in a volcanic caldera. You will find natural hot springs and an island with a Mayan site. You can take boating or water skiing, swimming, or kayaking on the lake. Restaurants offering stuffed tortillas and seafood are nearby if you need to refuel.

Lake Ilopango (El Salvador)

Lake Ilopango is also a crater lake; It is part of a volcanic complex and the second largest in the country. Among the attributes that make it unique are its islands, full of birds of different species, which can be reached by boat. There are also what the locals call sunken mountains. These are bumps of land that never reached the surface during eruptions, and are quite popular with divers.

Lake Guija (El Salvador)

Lake Guija straddles Guatemala and El Salvador, and also has a volcanic origin and is surrounded by three volcanoes. The Salvadoran side has several small islands where archaeologists have found pre-Columbian artifacts and ceramics. This site was added to UNESCO’s Tentative World Heritage List in September 1992. Lake Guija is relatively empty, but hotels and restaurants are being built around it.

Lake Nicaragua (Nicaragua)

Lake Nicaragua, also known as Lake Nicaragua, is the largest lake in Central America. The lake’s history includes pirates from the Caribbean who used it to raid the lakeside city of Grenada. It is also home to the island of Ometepe, which includes two volcanoes. Near Granada, you will also find a group of islets, where many different species of birds live. Taking a boat trip to this area is a fun option.

Gatun Lake (Panama)

Gatún Lake is a large artificial lake that was the result of the construction of the Panama Canal and the creation of the Gatún Dam. When the dam was built in 1913, this was the largest man-made lake in the world. The best way to explore is by taking a Panama Canal cruise. You can also take boat tours that get you up close to the wildlife and allow you to see parts of the lake that you can’t see on a larger cruise ship.

Bayano Lake (Panama)

Lake Bayano, in eastern Panama, is the second largest in the country. It is also man-made and was created in 1976 in conjunction with the construction of a dam. What makes it unique is that on its shores you can find a complex of three caves. During the rainy season, visitors can take boat tours of the caves. Don’t be surprised if you come across some of the bats that call the caves home on your boat tour. Bird watching, kayaking, and fishing are typical activities in the area.

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