Lachuá Lake

Lachuá Lake
Location Cobán, Guatemala
Coordinates 15°55′N 90°40′W / 15.917°N 90.667°W / 15.917; -90.667Coordinates: 15°55′N 90°40′W / 15.917°N 90.667°W / 15.917; -90.667
Type Karstic lake (cenote)
Primary inflows Peyán River
Primary outflows Lachuá River
Basin countries Guatemala
Surface area 4 km²
Max. depth 222 m
Surface elevation 173 m
Official name Eco-región Luchuá
Designated 24 May 2006

Lachuá Lake is a Karstic lake in Guatemala. It is located in the middle of a national park covered with tropical rain forest, northwest of Cobán, near the border between the departments of Alta Verapaz and El Quiché. The lake is near circular in shape and is probably a cenote or doline. The lake water has a slightly sulphurous smell, which may explain the origin of its name: "Lachuá" is derived from the Q'eqchi' words "la chu há" which means "the fetid water". The water contains a relatively high degree of calcite and tree branches fallen into the lake are quickly covered with a white calcite layer.[1][2]

The Peyan river forms the principal water inflow and the Lachua river its main outflow.[1][3][4]

According to officials responsible for the protection of the park border, there have been incidents of intrusion by individuals and families as well as severe cases of illegal wood chopping since 2005. Those who have dared to protest this were often intimidated and threatened. The whole area around the park has been subject to heavy deforestation for the last decades.

National Park

Laguna Lachuá National Park
Parque Nacional Laguna Lachuá
Country Guatemala
Region Alta Verapaz
Municipality Cobán
Landmark karstic lake
Elevation 173 m (568 ft)
Area 145 km2 (56 sq mi)
Biome - Tropical wet forest
- Wetland
Geology Karst
Plant 220 species
Animal over 210 species of
mammals and birds
Date 1976
Management CONAP,
Ecoregión Lachuá
For public max. 84 visitors per day
Visitation allowed
IUCN category II - National Park
Website: Ecoregión Lachuá

In 1976 an area of 145 km² around the lake (15°55′09″N 90°40′23″W / 15.919074°N 90.673084°W / 15.919074; -90.673084 (Laguna Lachuá)) was designated a national park.[5] Lachuá Lake and its buffer zone were also declared a Ramsar site in 2006.[6]

The park and adjacent buffer zone (known as "Eco-región Lachuá") is noted for its high biodiversity. With 120 species of mammals (50% of mammal species found in Guatemala), 30-40 species of reptiles, 177 bird species (40% of bird species in Guatemala), and 36 fish species[4] it is a sanctuary for a varied fauna population. These include fish like the diadromous tarpon (Megalops atlanticus), an ample variety of biogegraphically endemic Cichlid species,[4] reptiles like Morelet's Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii), Orangebelly Swamp Snake (Tretanorhinus nigroluteus); and mammals, like the Jaguar (Panthera onca), Cougar (Puma concolor), Baird's tapir (Tapirus bairdii), the White-lipped Peccary (Tayassu pecari), Spotted Paca (Agouti paca), Red Brocket (Mazama americana), and Spix's Disk-winged Bat (Thyroptera tricolor), and various monkeys species including the endangered Guatemalan Black Howler (Alouatta pigra).[1][7][8]

Waterbirds found in the park include the Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata), Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), Bare-throated Tiger-heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum), Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea), Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor), Green Heron (Butorides virescens), Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica), Limpkin (Aramus guarauna), and Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus), [1][6]


  1. 1 2 3 4 CONAP (2003). Plan Maestro Parque Nacional Laguna Lachuá, Cobán, Alta Verapaz (pdf). Guatemala: Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  2. "Show Caves of Guatemala - Laguna Lachua". Retrieved 2008. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. Granados Dieseldorff, Pablo (2001). Ictiofauna de la Laguna Lachua, Parque Nacional Laguna Lachua, Coban, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Guatemala Ciudad, Guatemala: Tesis de Licenciatura, Escuela de Biologia, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala.
  4. 1 2 3 Granados-Dieseldorff, Pablo; Christensen, M. F.; Kihn, P. H. (2012). "Fishes from Lachuá Lake, Upper Usumacinta Basin, Guatemala". Check List. 8: 95–101.
  5. CONAP. "Listado de Áreas Protegidas (enero, 2011)" (xls) (in Spanish). Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  6. 1 2 Eisermann, Knut (2006). Evaluation of waterbird populations and their conservation in Guatemala (pdf). Guatemala: Sociedad Guatemalteca de Ornitología. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  7. Baumgarten, Amrei (2000). Características poblacionales y uso de habitat del mono aullador negro (Alouatta pigra) en la zona de influencia del Parque Nacional Laguna Lachua, Alta Verapaz. Guatemala Ciudad, Guatemala: Tesis de Licenciatura, Escuela de Biologia, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala.
  8. Dix, Margareth & Juan F. Fernández (eds). Inventario Nacional de los Humedales de Guatemala (PDF) (in Spanish). Guatemala: UICN-ORMA, CONAP, USAC, CBMA. ISBN 9968-743-58-5.
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