Cerro Cristalino is also known as the 'Indian Nose' because of the shape of the peak. The peak stands out from the crater rim that forms Lago Atitlán. It's a peak that catches the eye immediately from the Village San Pedro La Laguna, which lies south of Cerro Cristalino at Atitlán lake. It's an easy climb, definitely if you take the track across the rim from the asphalt road from Santa Clara La Laguna to San Pablo La Laguna. Many people climb it. Locals use it as a place to have Maya ceremonies. If you ask nicely you can join the ceremony. (Don't take any pictures because it will take energy away from the ceremony...) A pleasant way of warming up by kneeling next to a fire if you are soaked from previous rain showers. The views across the lake, volcanoes and surrounding scenery are breathtaking.
Lago Atitlán with its main village Panajachel is just of the Interamericana highway and 147 km west from Guatemala City and its international airport. Panajachel is on the northeast side of the lake. San Pedro and San Juan La Laguna can be reached by boat across the lake from Panajachel. The peak can be reached from the village San Juan, just west from San Pedro. Ask for directions when you walk out from San Juan towards the north. You have to climb all the way up the crater rim to the peak.
Cristalino is also accessible from Santa Clara La Laguna, which lies on the cater rim and accessible from the Interamericana highway. From the village you walk south across crop fields directly to the peak. You can also take transport up the crater rim from San Pablo to Santa Clara. Just when you reach the rim and drive out of the forest, you should get off and walk across crop fields and parallel to the rim towards the south/southwest.
No permits, fees, closures, rules. Only be aware of (Mayan) customs.
When To Climb
Dry season for clear views across Lago Atitlán. Out of season it gets wet and muddy easily from May to October.
No camping rules, no huts, no fees.
Check out the local weather while you are near Lago Atitlán and have it a go early in the morning.