Laguna Lachua: The Sky’s Mirror

By Diana Pastor

Are you tired of climbing volcanoes and dodging microbuses? Ready for a new adventure? To kick off 2016, we’re recommending a place that’s well off the beaten path. It’s far enough afield from Xela that it doesn’t catch as many tourists. The name, Lago Lachuá, which means “Mirror of the Sky.” You can find it in a national park in Cobán, Alta Verapaz. It’s a full day’s travel from Xela, so we recommended  bundling a visit to Semuc Champey or the caves of Lanquin to get the most out of your fare.

We recommend Monja Blanca buses for this trip — you can find them in Guatemala City via details that can be found in our handy bus section. Tickets are Q60 and will deliver you to  Cobán after five or six hours of driving through forest, jungle, and desert. If you’re fancy or something, you can charter a shuttle in Antigua. Micros leave from Cobán’s northern terminal about once every half hour. Take the one headed towards Playa Grande Ixcán and let the driver know you’re going to the Lago Lachuá. The trip takes about three hours and costs 50q each way.

You can do this trip cheap, if you want.

Entrance to the park is Q50, as is a night in a cabana on the lake. It’s hot and humid there, and you get the full jungle experience — no electricity, internet, or cell phone reception. Just a lot of huge spiders and strange jungle noises. Bring your own water and food as the national park is well-preserved enough to include no restaurants or stores to make the jungle more convenient. A short 4km hike will take you along a beautiful path with colorful birds and adorable Disney forest animals. There’s even places to camp.

There’s no telling what, exactly, is in the lake. It’s a lot cleaner than most of the lakes in Guatemala, however, as the national park has no textile factories or heavily fertilized drainage basins to enrich the water. You can actually see below the surface, and there’s little slimy things covered in scales and wriggling about in the water. Minnows? You can dare your friends to swallow them whole but they’re difficult to catch.

So if you’re done just climbing Santa Maria every goddam weekend and want to try something new, check out Laguna Lachuá. Orale!

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