At an altitude of 2712 meters, a lake sacred to the Maya hides in the crater of a volcano.
And this lake – Laguna Chicabal – is at the center of the Mam Maya cosmos; a place sacred to the Maya of Guatemala’s highlands.
Legend has it that once some men fished there and were sucked under the waters to disappear forever. (Sounds like a Stephen King horror.)
When Mayan people go into the water to make shrines ( pic below ) they go only when tied / roped to someone else on the lakeshore … for safety.
Numerous altars – different places for blessings like better health, fertility or to forgive sins – circle the lake.
At these places, the Maya perform ceremonies, lighting fires and burning copal – pine gum incense – and offer alcohol, candies and cookies to the spirits.
The hike up Chicabal Volcano to the lake takes about 2 hours from the nearest village.
The hike travels thru dense cloud-forest.
Mist usually blankets the lake and volcano by mid-morning – so, set off early if you want decent views!
A lucky clear morning view reveals 3 other volcanoes – including Santa Maria & the small, but active and regularly-erupting, Santiaguito Volcano.
Travels in Guatemala – 2009
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