Lake Guija El Salvador is a magnificent binational lake, of volcanic origin, shared between the countries of El Salvador and Guatemala. The iconic lake has an area of about 45 square kilometers, 32 of which belong to El Salvador, and the rest to Guatemala.
According to historians, the lake was created by the San Diego volcano eruption. This eruption built a large balsamic lava flow that blocked the lake’s original drainage.
The following rivers are responsible for feeding freshwater to the lake, Ostua, Angue, and Cusmapa. Now, the lake drains at the southeastern side by the Desague river.
If you visit this lake on the Salvadoran side, you will find several small isles such as Teotipa, Cerro de Tule, and Igualtepec.
Lake Guija and the Mayan Culture.
The lake is of great significance to the country’s history; before the Pre-Classic Period, lake Guija was one of the primary Maya centers in the region.
The small island of Teotipa was a village with clear signs that it was a base for early Mayan agriculture.
According to experts, there is evidence that Teotipa was underwater for a long time; the great flood that occurred at Lago Guija covered the island for years.
When a dam was built on one of the rivers that feed the lake, Teotipa came into view. Experts believe that Teotipa is relatively well-preserved because some years, the island is submerged, and because of the time, the island was underwater.
Igualtepec is an island that sometimes is a peninsula; it all depends on the water level at the lake. It is located on the southeast part of the lake.
The island of Igualtepec is an ancient Mayan archeological site known for the old carved stones on its western shore.
Local residents around the lake believe that there is a hidden city beneath the lake, something that has not been proved.
Lake Guija tourism.
Lake Guija El Salvador is a beautiful wetland ideal for fishing and birdwatching. The lake gets many local and foreign tourists, some of them visit for the archaeological history and others for the ecotourism.
If you want to see the rock carvings along the shore, it is best to visit during the dry season, as the water level is low.
Additionally, swimming is subject to the extent of the blue-green algae of the lake; nonetheless, you can arrange a boat trip with a local operator at any time of the year.
Location of Lake Guija El Salvador.
Lake Guija is located in the department of Santa Ana, about 15 kilometers from the city of Metapan; click here to see the location on google maps.
The largest city near the lake is Santa Ana, which is about 38 kilometers away. From Santa Ana, you can reach the lake by taking CA12 towards Metapan and follow the directions.
Indeed, if you don’t know much about the area, I highly advise for you to plan this trip with a Salvadoran tour company; let them worry about the driving and planning.
Lake Guija El Salvador.
Summing up, this fantastic lake shared with beautiful Guatemala is not your typical tourist destination.
Two things that make this area around Lake Guija, not your typical tourist destination is the underdevelopment of the area and also the fact that you can’t go swimming all the time
Unquestionably, visit this lake if you want to see fantastic wetlands along with great ecotourism, and archeological artifacts.