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San Buenaventura Valley in Atitlán

In the San Buenaventura valley, located on the banks of Lake Atitlán, is an ecological reserve of more than 100 hectares of forests that shelter countless wild species.  

When you reach this green spot, the first thing that pops out is an orchard of aromatic species that confuse the smell due to its profound effluvium. If you follow the path turn right to enter directly into a splendid forest with more than 180 thousand trees that allow conjugating the cooing of the wind with the chant of birds, in a wonderful natural concert. When entering the Natural Reserve, the visitor finds informative material about the formation of the Atitlán Lake, of natural phenomenon as the xocomil, of different species in danger of extinction, as well as others that disappeared already.
 
The interpretative trails lead to rustic hanging bridges that allow visualizing the river flow, in Summer times it seems to consume with the sunrays and in winter it throws its waters to the onion and garlic plantations.  

The trees along the road seem to greet the visitor, while the signs at the base of the trunk give information in Spanish, English, and French about the scientific and common names to give an idea of the biodiversity of the area.  

It is not strange to watch on the way to the waterfall a raccoon coming out from its hideout or a goldfinch or parrot too. Among the diversity of this reserve there are also snakes and lizards of an emerald green color.  

In the 23 meter high waterfall, rocks present deformations caused by the water, like scars that surpass the time limits. Besides that, they captivate the tourist who can appreciate them even better from a hanging bridge more than ten meters long.   

On the way back, it is important to go through the butterfly reserve of more than 5,625 cubic meters of space to fly, a laboratory for the cocoons and pupas, which provides information about the life cycle of these animals.  

In this area there are more than two thousand plants and 500 butterflies, of which nearly 25 species are native of Guatemala.  
Another important attraction is the orchid nursery located inside the butterfly reserve which actually has around 50 of the 500 existing species in the
country.

Traveling each path is to get a little closer to a natural life cycle that shows that 'the lion is not as it is painted', since from an incipient worm comes the most beautiful expression of color and shape.

To finish the hike, it is advisable to approach to the small beach of the Reserve, which offers an impressive view of the lake and its volcanoes. From there, it is worth renting a kayak and touring around while the waters of Lake Atitlán whisper the mystery of its beauty. 


More to discover


Other activities to engage on after the visit to the reserve could be a hike to the nearby towns of San Jorge, San Marcos, or Santa Cruz. On the last one there is a diving school that offers interesting packages to explore the enigmatic lake, or if you prefer, climb the Zope hill and from there view a magnificent sunset. 

Traveling editorial staff