Lake Amatitlan

Lake Amatitlan
Lake Amatitlan used to be an important source of fresh water for Guatemala City during colonial times. Later it became an important tourist destination and the lake shores were bought out by the elites to build luxurious vacationing houses.

The lake was also used as a sewage reservoir, 90% of the untreated sewage waters that arrived at the lake came from Guatemala City and the suburbs. This caused the lake fish population to almost die out.

During the 80s, the shores of the lake were home to dozens of improvised restaurants, which were known for their fish dishes, fish from the lake.
Due to contamination and poor infrastructure, tourism had a very steep decline, at the point that most business had to shut down.

For the last two decades, there have been several efforts to clean up the lake, filters were installed close to the shores, treatment plants were commissioned and programs to educate people about the importance of having a clean lake have been put in place.

Tourism is making a come back; restaurateurs still serving great fish, they don’t use lake’s fish any more and have opted for getting fish from fish farms inland, tourists are showing up for shopping local handicrafts and or sweets or simple seep on some beer by the lake shores, young couples find this as a convenient romantic destination and the lake appears to be cleaner.

© 2015, Eli Orozco. All rights reserved.

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