Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
281.00 m (921.92 ft)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
5.10 km (3.17 mi)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The hike to Las Cascadas Perdidas takes you up the Rio Pashputin Valley, the mouth of which opens to Lake Atitlan into a waterfall oasis.

To begin, head west from the main boat docks. The popular backpacking hostel La Iguana Perdida is a good landmark. Not long after you begin walking, the path cuts from the shore itself onto some rickety docks that looks like they might collapse under the weight of a stray dog. Keep walking on these precarious, somewhat swaying docks for about 0.3 kilometer until you reach a wave break, which is really just a block of bricked plastic. The villages on Lake Atitlan all try to reduce Guatemala’s rapidly growing trash accumulation problem by turning plastic waste into bricks, used to construct buildings, walls, and fences.

The trail looks like it ends at the plastic brick barricade, but if you head off to the right, you’ll see where the trail picks up. From there, the path crosses a bridge and leads to the Isla Verde Eco Hotel, a fancy and upscale luxury hotel. You’ll need to pass through the hotel’s property to continue, but staff are super friendly and helpful. They’ll cheerfully point you in the right direction. Follow the main path through the hotel’s garden and pass under a large bamboo archway until you come to a double swinging gate, where the path splits three ways. The straight path is private property, the left goes toward the next village, and the right path will lead to the Rio Pashputin Valley.

Keep walking straight a short distance until you come to a what is most often a dry river wash, unless visiting in the heart of the rainy season (June through September). In either the dry or rainy season, the river is navigable, though in the rainy season, you will do significantly more rock hopping or wading, whatever your preference. In the dry season, you’ll spend most of the hike scrambling up loose talus.

As you progress farther into the valley, however, about another kilometer inward, the bottom of the bed will become more and more wet, and eventually develop into a small stream. Before you know it, you’ll reach Las Cascadas Perdidas, a 12-meter waterfall that ripples over a slabby rock face into some shallow pools at the bottom (which are perfect for taking a dip and cooling off after a hot hike). The amount of water coming down the falls varies drastically depending on season. If going in heart of dry season (January through April), be aware there may not actually be any waterfall to see.

During the dry season or fringes of the rainy season, it’s easy enough the scramble up the dry rock to the left of the falls to the top and continue exploring further up the canyon. In the height of the rainy season, this swatch of dry rock will be overflowing with water.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Fall
Summer

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Low traffic. Cool pool soaking. Flora and fauna. Lush foliage.

Cons

Insects. Precarious rock hopping. Difficult navigation.

Trailhead Elevation

5,134.51 ft (1,565.00 m)

Highest point

6,056.43 ft (1,846.00 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Waterfalls
Wildflowers
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.

You May Also Enjoy