Laguna Lachua

Parque Nacional Laguna Lachuá

Useful Information

Location: From the Cobán-Playa Grande crossroad 5km east (road to the right) to the entrance to Laguna Lachua Natinal Park. 4km hike to the Laguna.
Fee: Adults Q40, boat rental Q7 per hour, guide Q30.
Classification: KarstCenote
Guided tours:  
Address: Laguna Lachua Natinal Park, Tel: +502-704-1509.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



Laguna Lachua is a small extremely circular lake in lush rain forest, which is the center of an important Nature Reserve. The lake, obviously a cenote or doline, is described to be a meteor crater or the remains of a former salt diapir. The reason for this strange stories is the circular shape and the fact that it is 173m above sea level and 222m deep. Thus the floor is 49m below sea level. However, this is typical for the flooded karst systems of the Yucatan Peninsula.

The water of the lake contains an enormous amount of limestone. At the northern rim, where the water leaves the lake, typical tufa deposits are formed. Trees falling into the water are quickly covered by calcite and look like calcite skeletons. The water also has a high level of sulphur, which is where the name Lachua comes from. In Q'eqchi' Li chu ha means the fetid water. The sulphur is interpreted as a result of petroleum beneath the lake.

The shore of the lake often looks like white beach, but it is white limestone or calcite mire, not sand. It is rather dangerous as you may sink in.

Lachua is a National Park with a total area of 14,500 hectares, Laguna Lachua has 400 hectares. The Peyan river disembogues into the lake, and the Lachua, Tzetoc and Del Altar rivers drain it. The abundance of mahogany trees make the park a remunerating goal for illicit loggers, who can earn up to ten times the going wages of a laborer by cutting down mahogany trees. So it is protected very intensive. The park has only a capacity of 84 day visitors and 21 overnight visitors, so it is not a good idea to visit during the Easter or Christmas holidays when it quickly becomes crowded.

In the National Park is the Río Ikbolay, a green river that runs underground through the hill. When it emerges from the otherside it is blue. The river has changed course over the years leaving some dry caves, making it possible to walk through them. Bring a good torch.

Text by Tony Oldham (2004). With kind permission.