Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
826.00 m (2,709.97 ft)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
8.00 km (4.97 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.

High above the bright blue waters of Lake Atitlan, in sharp peaks that jut seemingly out of nowhere, are nestled pair of spectacular viewpoints. The locals of Santa Cruz, one of Lake Atitlan’s many shore villages, refer to the two viewpoints Los Dos Miradores, which translates to “the two viewpoints."

You can easily reach Santa Cruz via a water taxi or regularly scheduled ferry. From Panajachel, the ferry ride costs 10 quetzals (be careful about scamming boat driers that try to charge you more).

Begin your hike in the main town square, where you’ll find a basketball court and a church. More notably, however, is El Cafe Sabor Cruceno, an extension of a Guatemalan culinary academy that makes incredible local dishes, perfect for fueling the hike or refueling at the end of it. If you’re coming from the shores of Lake Atitlan itself, just follow the cobblestone road all the way up the steep hill (it should take about 15 to 20 minutes) and it will take you right to the doorstep of the Sabor Cruceno, a bright yellow building bearing the name Centro de Capacitacion.

From the road leading into the main square, turn immediately right and follow the stone road out of the far side of the square all the way until it turns to dirt and begins winding through local houses. This area can be a little confusing and the trail unclear, as it really just follows a small eroding ravine so close to houses that you might feel like someone will come out and yell at you for trespassing. They won’t; in fact, if you’re unsure about your way, feel free to ask locals if you going the right way, and they’re happy to help. You’ll know you’re going the right way if you come across a large rusted pipe crossing the stream after a few minutes of walking.

Just after crossing the stream, be on the lookout for a steep trail splintering off to the right and heading up the mountain. The fork is fairly obvious, but be sure to at least pay attention up to this point; afterward, the navigation gets easy.

Follow the steep, loose dirt trail up the switchbacks. It’s a good idea to bring bug repellant for this muggy and sun-baked slope to combat small biting insects. Once you pass through a cornfield, perhaps meeting the old toothless farmer who owns it, who may tell you to take a picture of him for the low, low price of 1 quetzal, you’ll hit the first of two ridgelines, this one insignificant and rocky.

For some blissful relief from the bugs and sun, ascend farther up into a rainforest gully overgrown with plants and an expansive tree canopy. The trail is slick here, though, so be mindful of your footing, especially coming down.

Once you ascend out of this rainforest, you’ll come to a second ridge, where there is a tree, and the trail forks. If you take the trail to the right, you climb through a dense scrub forest up a short hill to the first (and more spectacular) mirador (coordinates: 14.757495, -91.209923). Being located on a bulbous knoll, you can get incredible 360-degree views all around. Looking down, you can witness nearly the whole spectacular wonder that is Lake Atitlan, including the colorful villages dotting the shoreline and the striking Volcán Atitlan and Volcán San Pedro.

Back at the fork, now go the opposite way (left as it would seem when rising from the rainforest gully). Again, you’ll quickly find yourself at another fork and again go left, climbing up some more hills until you reach the second mirador, not quite as spectacular as the last, but still a worthy sight. If you’re feeling a little hot at this point in the hike, continue straight at the last fork and hike for about 1 kilometer to what is sometimes a waterfall during the rainy season (May through October). Even if the waterfall is not gushing as it would be during the rainy season, it still sputters enough water to wash the sweat and heat from your skin before starting the steep trek down.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall
Winter

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Stunning vistas. Low traffic. Varied terrain. Lake and volcano views.

Cons

Difficult navigation. Sketchy local characters. Biting insects.

Trailhead Elevation

5,442.91 ft (1,659.00 m)

Highest point

8,152.89 ft (2,485.00 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Waterfalls
Wildflowers
Big vistas
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

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