Laguna Lachuá / Lake Lachuá National Park: Off the beaten track in Guatemala
Laguna Lachuá / Lake Lachuá is located in Lake Lachuá National Park (LLNP), in the tropical rainforest of the municipality of Cobán, in Guatemala. The park is covered in tropical rain forest and is rich in flora and fauna. It is a wonderful place to go and relax and is Guatemala’s most magnificent sights of natural beauty.
At the park’s entrance, you will find a super friendly and helpful park ranger. He will explain you everything about the park, the rules, and here you also pay your entry. From the entrance, your adventure is about to start; a 4.2 kms walk through the tropical rainforest!
The park is well managed and you can walk on a little path through the jungle to the first pier. Along the way you will hear the sounds of tropical birds and howler monkey, see lizards and a variety of butterflies, and when lucky you can even spot some toucans, hummingbirds, macaws, and monkeys. Along the way are several informative sign boards (in Spanish and English).
After a 2.4 kms walk, you will reach the first pier and viewpoint of lake Lachuá. The view is breath-taking! All you see is crystal clear water with fishes surrounded by a tropical rainforest. After taking a break and some photos, the way continues for another 1.8 kms to the swimming and camping spot. The little path is well managed. An older person could do this easily as long as they are relatively fit.
At the swimming spot where you also can camp, you will be welcomed by another park ranger who explains you about the swimming and camping rules. There are a number of crocodiles living in the 220m deep lake, so where you see a no-swimming sign, you are definitely advised to abide by the rules. Furthermore, you cannot use soaps or insecticides when swimming in lake Lachuá. You are limited to bringing only a towel and camera to the lakeside. No alcohol or smoking is allowed once in the park. Thanks to all these rules, the park is really well maintained and litter free! It is great!
Getting to Laguna Lachuá / lake Lachuá
Lake Lachuá is located 2 hours from Cobán and only accessible by public transportation. I was lucky and hired with some friends a minivan, so I didn’t need to use public transportation.
To get to Lake Lachuá, you take a bus to the Chisec crosspoint (halfway on the route from Flores to Semuc Champey) and from there hop on a bus in the direction of Playa Grande. From Playa Grande, the park will only be a 15 to 30 minutes ride away. From Coban, it will take you about 2.5 hours. When you travel all the way from Guatemala City to lake Lachuá, it will take you about 8 hours. When you travel from Guatemala City, it is best if you travel during the night, so you have more time to enjoy during the day.
The last part of the road to the park is a bit rough. There are plenty of stones and you might need to cross some parts of the road that is covered in water. With a car or minivan, it is a big challenge. Unfortunately, when we got back from lake Lachuá to the parking area, we noticed our flat tire, that was probably caused by the rough road.
It might be a little bit difficult to get to lake Lachuá, but it is definitely worth the effort. When you arrive at the park, make sure to ask the ticket office when the last bus passes by. This usually is between 4 and 5 pm.
Overnight at Laguna Lachuá / lake Lachuá
As said before, you can camp at lake Lachuá and I totally recommend doing this! It is a great experience! At the campsite is a meeting lodge available where you can camp dry in case of bad weather, changing rooms, toilets, showers, cooking places, and I believe they are even building a little restaurant nowadays (this was not ready at the time I was there). When camping, remember to bring everything with you. Even drinking water, coals to barbecue or cook and a torch as there is no electricity. And don’t forget that you have to carry all your luggage on the 4.2 kms trek through the jungle to get there. There are also some well-built cabins near the lake available that you can rent for a night. There is a small equipped kitchen with the cabins, so no need to bring cutlery and plates. Make sure to give the park a call in advance when you like to overnight in a cabin, since they are fully booked sometimes!
At the entrance of the park, you will find a little tienda (supermarket). Here you can buy some drinks, snacks, and food for dinner like pasta or beans. Since this is the only supermarket close to the park, I recommend you buy everything you need (including food and camping stuff) from where you come from.
What to bring to Laguna Lachuá / lake Lachuá?
Here is a little list with all the necessary things you need to bring to lake Lachuá when camping.
- Warm clothes for during the night
- Sandals or flip flops
- Hiking shoes
- Bottled water
- Coals or firewood
- Plates, cups, and cutlery
- Mosquito repellent
- Camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, pillow, blankets)
Remember to only take the necessary, because you have to carry everything with you along the hike!
So, if you want to travel to Guatemala’s most magnificent sights of natural beauty, escape away from the noisy and busy towns, internet, and only enjoy flora and fauna…. Lake Lachuá / Lachuá Laguna is the place to travel to! This place is not overcrowded yet and still worth to go! You can swim, sunbath, barbecue, enjoy the clean nature and the sounds of the wild and spend quality time with friends or family.
One last tip for visiting Laguna Lachuá / lake Lachuá: try to go during the week as it is a popular spot for Guatemalans on weekends.