5 Lakes to Visit in Central America this Summer

With its tropical climate, lush forests, and striking volcanic landscapes, it should come as no surprise that Central America has some of the world’s most beautiful lakes. Whether you’re a lover of nature hoping to spot some wildlife or a thrill-seeking adventurer looking to experience the best watersports in Central America, exploring these stunning bodies of water is a must. But what are the best lakes to visit in Central America this summer? Here are our top picks.

wake board is a top watersport when living the lake life, women wake boarding on a lake

Photo by Benjamin Klaver via UnSplash

  1. Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

At 33 square miles, Lake Arenal is Costa Rica’s largest body of water. This striking lake, with its strong gusts of winds, is known as the windsurfing capital of Central America. Sailing and kite surfing are also attractive pursuits for thrill-seekers, as is Wakeboard Costa Rica, which has really taken off at the lake in recent years. With spectacular views in the shadow of the awe-inspiring Arenal Volcano, it’s hard to believe that Lake Arenal is manmade. Exploring the lake via a boat trip or kayak is definitely worth it. It is the true Pura Vida of Costa Rica.

  1. Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Lake Atitlan was formed following a massive volcanic eruption around 85,000 years ago. Considered to be the most beautiful body of water in Guatemala, Lake Atitlan is overlooked by steep cliffs and dormant volcanoes. The shelter provided by these mountains on even the windiest of days makes this lake a popular spot for paddleboarders of all abilities. Stand up paddleboarding is particularly popular at Lake Atitlan, sometimes as part of a wider guided tour of the area. The crystal blue waters of this volcanic lake also make it ideal for a high-altitude scuba dive, where you can look out for tropical freshwater fish or explore underwater Mayan ruins. All before you enjoy the sunset view of Lake Atitlan to end your day of adventures.

through the trees

through the trees on Lake Atitlan

  1. Lake Yojoa, Honduras

Formed inside a depression caused by the formation of the surrounding volcanic landscape, Yojoa is the largest lake in Honduras. This area of gorgeous natural beauty is rich in biodiversity and, with more than 400 species of bird, is very popular with wildlife enthusiasts. However, Yojoa also attracts sporty types every year keen to try out the numerous water activities that the lake has to offer. Kayaking and jet skiing are both popular activities, as are boat rides and fishing.

  1. Lake Nicaragua, Nicaragua

Central America’s largest lake, Lago de Nicaragua, is rich in history and legends of Caribbean pirates. But this body of water is also a haven for ecotourism and water sporting activities. Nature lovers will enjoy taking a boat trip out towards the volcanic Ometepe Island, whilst sport enthusiasts are spoiled for choice in fun activities. A summer spent at Lake Nicaragua will offer a host of fun pastimes, such as kayaking, sailing, snorkelling, swimming, and surfing.

  1. Gatun Lake, Panama

This large artificial lake, created in 1913, lies around 26m above sea level and forms a prominent part of the famous Panama Canal. Cruising and yachting are relaxing ways to enjoy the sights of Gatun Lake, but the area offers a wide variety of more daring water sports, especially in the summer months. Many visitors enjoy sporting activities such as paddleboarding, kayaking, and jet skiing. Following the introduction of peacock bass in the late 1960s, angling and sport fishing have also become major recreational activities on the lake. Even those taking a Cruise ship through the Panama Canal will have excursion options on Gatun Lake.


Central America has some of the world’s most stunning lakes with a variety of activities available. Visiting our top five Central American lakes is definitely a must this summer.

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