Laguna Catemaco is a lake situated 12 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, in east central
Mexico in the southeast of the state of Veracruz.

Volcanic eruptions blocked the valley of Catemaco eons ago and created the lake at 1,115
feet above sea level. Today the lake is fed by mountain streams descending from the  
surrounding foothills of the Sierra Santa Marta and runoff from the northern volcanic fringe.
In colloquial Spanish, the words laguna (lagoon) and lago (lake) are used interchangeably
except in scientific matters.

The lake is shallow, averaging 25 feet, with a maximum depth of 72 feet located in the
channel between Isla Agaltepec and the city of Catemaco. The laguna drains via the Rio
Grande de Catemaco towards Alvarado and the Gulf coast and its water level is controlled
by a sluice gate which replaced a historic waterfall.
Laguna Catemaco is one of the more productive lakes in
Mexico. Large netting is prohibited to assure the livelihood of
more than 1500 registered fishermen and their catch of almost
2000 tons.

A perch like fish introduced from Africa (Mojarra Tilapia), a
sardine like Topote, and the snail Tegogolo are the most
common catches.

Prevailing climate around the Laguna  is hot and humid with
average temperature of 76f. Rainfall varies seasonally with
Prevailing climate around the Laguna is hot and humid with
average temperature of 76f. Rainfall varies seasonally with
averages of 81 inches recorded at Catemaco and more than
double that at Coyame (northeast of the laguna).

March to early June is the dry season and the Laguna water
levels drop three to five feet.
Lake Catemaco has a surface area of 28 square miles, is
almost square with maximum width and axis of a little more than
6.2 miles. The laguna is Mexico´s #18 in size of water bodies,
#7 in size of lakes and lagunas, #3 in size of true lakes.

The shoreline is irregular, with remnants of several volcanic
cones and its perimeter is about 31 miles.

There are several volcanic islands within the lake. Several of
these islands hold Macaque monkeys, originally from Thailand
for an abandoned research project. The presence of the
monkeys has led to more than 100 small boats
rushing across the lake to show tourists these immigrant

The University of Veracruz maintains a current research
project of Mexican Howler monkeys on Isla Agaltepec which
is closed to casual visitors.
Winds from the Gulf of Mexico enter the Catemaco Laguna
watershed to the north of the town of Coyame, and cross the
lake in a NE-SW direction, blowing strongly over the lake
throughout the year.

From February to October, northeast
winds are dominant. Colder and faster northern winds blow
from November to January.

Plans for a sail boat marina are in the talking stage.
another study:
Estudio sistematico de metales pesados en maleza nociva que se desarolla el el Lago de Catemaco,
fishermen and tour boat operators as the basis for the "Laguna is NOT contaminated" articles, is not
accessible on the internet (2009).
Aside from the city of Catemaco with more than 26,000 inhabitants (2005), almost 6,000 more people live along the shores of
Laguna Catemaco in 8 significant population centers. Most are dedicated to fishing. None of the 8 have public sewage
facilities. The economy is mainly focused on fishing and cattle.

For more info about many of these villages, please open
Laguna Catemaco Pueblos. links
the world according to Don Gringo, a 21st century explorer
Type: lake formed by volcanic eruptions closing a valley between the volcanoes Santa Marta and San Martin,
Name: various interpretations, most popular but unlikely: place of the burned houses,
Surface: 73 km²
Depth:  maximum 22m, average 7.6 m, center 11 m,
Size: maximum width 10,250 m, length 12,320 m, app.  120 km2
Shape: elliptical bowl,
Perimeter: 49,754 m,
Volume: 553 millon cubic meters,
Watershed:  app. 323 km²
Water Quality: eutrophic, murky,
Altitude: 340 m,
Access: shores of the city of Catemaco and various surrounding locations.
Important Studies
UNAM 1985- Diversidad y Abundancia del Plancton en la Laguna de Catemaco
UNAM 1991- Geomorfologia y Batrimetia del Lago de Catemaco
BIOLOGIA TROPICAL 1993- Species composition, abundance and distribution of zooplankton in Lake Catemaco
UNAM 1994- Los Sedimentos Recientes del Lago de Catemaco
Abstract 2001- Steady state of phytoplankton assemblage in the tropical Lake Catemaco
SEMARNAT 2002- Calidad del agua del Lago Catemaco conforme a parametros... 1990-2001
COFEMER 2004-  Proyecto de Norma - Pesca responsable en el lago Catemaco
UAM 2009- Estudio sobre la contaminación en el Lago de Catemaco
UAM 2009- Propuesta Preliminar para un plan de manejo participativo del lago de Catemaco
Other studies, not available in the internet
IPN 2003 - Microbiología del lago de Catemaco
IPN 2004 -Estudio sistematico de metales pesados en maleza nociva que se desarolla el el Lago de Catemaco
For visitor information you are better off clicking
tourism above.
The following pages are not particularly interesting for short term tourists.
external links
For all the information about the Laguna attractions, see:
Catemaco - Attractions
Laguna Catemaco
Catemaco, Veracruz