Best Places to Travel in Guatemala

Guatemala is one of my favourite countries! Home to 33 volcanos, some of them active -you can even roast marshmallows on Pacaya! Lake Atitlán has bee called the most beautiful lake in the world by German explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humbolt! It’s a country that you can keep going back to. I’ve been three times and still have so much to explore!

Best Places to Travel in Guatemala

Tikal National Park

This is one of the largest and most spectacular Mayan cities You will find ruins of palaces, temples, houses and even tunnels hidden right in the middle of the jungle. You may also see spider monkeys while walking through the jungle to reach the ruins!

La Antigua Guatemala

It’s the former capital city of Guatemala and is one of the last colonial cities in Central America. It’s a small and colorful city surrounded by volcanoes with a relaxed feel, with plenty of cafes for enjoying the volcano views and for people watching.

Atitlan Lake

This lake is the most beautiful one in the entire country, surrounded by volcanoes and indigenous villages waiting to be explored. Panajachel is the most popular one with travelers and has plenty of hotels and bars. For a more relaxed experience, visit one of the other villages, like San Marcos and San Pedro.

Best Adventures to Experience in Guatemala

Hiking Pacaya Volcano

If you want to hike up an active volcano, see lava flowing on tunnels under your feet and go for a short, easy walk this volcano is a must for you. On a good day when the volcano is tranquil you might even be able to walk up to the very top and take a look inside the crater! Bring marshmallows and a stick -they’re especially tasted when roasted over lava!

Volcano Trilogy

In this tour you get to go for a hike of the three iconic volcanoes that surround Antigua Guatemala – Agua, Fuego and Acatenango Volcanoes – all in 36 hours or less! It might sound insane but it is also an unforgettable adventure that will challenge you while offering incredible views!

Kayaking in Lake Atitlan

Take out a kayak and enjoy paddling along the most beautiful lake in Guatemala and be amazed by the surrounding volcanoes.

Surfing on the Pacific Coast

The waves of the Pacific Coast of Guatemala is one of the best kept secrets of Central America. You’ll find an amazing surf break that is not crowded with tons of tourists.

Rafting in the Cahabon River

This is one of the main rivers of the country. On its way to the sea it forms the popular Semuc Champey and offers type II to IV rafting.

You’ll want to check this out for even more adventures in Guatemala!

Mountains to Climb in Guatemala

Acatenango Volcano

This is one of the volcanoes surrounding La Antigua and is one of the favorite volcanoes among locals. It’s a bit of a challenge to get up to the crater but your efforts will be rewarded on a clear day with views of Pacaya Volcano, Atitlan Lake and the borders of El Salvador and Mexico.

Tajumulco Volcano

Tajumulco is the highest peak in Central America but that highest doesn’t mean it’s more difficult than the other peaks. The walk up to the summit is actually shorter and easier than the one to Acatenango. The sunrise views from it are stunning.

The Cuchumatanes Mountain Range

If you go for a hike to the highest points of the Cuchumatanes you will find views similar to what you might expect to find in Ireland. similar views. It is gorgeous and chances are that you won’t be tons of visitors, it is one of those hidden corners of the world.

Want to climb one of these mountains? Contact us and we’ll organize a guided tour with our exclusive partner, one of the top guiding companies in Guatemala!

UNESCO Sites in Guatemala

La Antigua Guatemala

The city is so well preserved that if it weren’t for the cars you would truly feel as if you traveled back to the time of the conquest.

Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua

This is a lesser known Mayan achaeological site but is extremely beautiful and among the most important ones for scientists. Its preserved artwork has been extremely helpful in helping scientists learn about the history of Mayans.

Tikal National Park

If you want to have an even better experience of the park ask about their sunrise tour. You will enter the park when it is still dark (the perfect chance to see local wildlife, such as howler monkeys, wild turkeys, and jaguars). Then you’ll climb to the top of the highest temple of the whole complex and wait for the sun to come out from behind the trees for an epic sunrise.

What to Eat in Guatemala

Pepian

This spicy stew that can be prepared with chicken, pork or beef and served with a side of white rice and avocado. Pepian is Guatemala’s national dish. You can get Pepian along with tortillas and a natural beverage at small local eateries for Q35 ($3 to $4 USD).

Tamales

If you have been to any other Central American country you might have already tried tamales. While all of them are made of corn dough, the recipe for the sauce and the fillings are different in each country. You can buy a tamal for Q10 ($1.5 USD).

Tapado

You’ll only find this dish in Izabal, on the Caribbean coast. This is one of the most representative dishes of the Garifuna culture in this region. It’s a sort of seafood soup with coconut milk and other ingredients. You can buy a plate for Q75 ($10 USD).

How to Travel in Guatemala

Car Rental

This is your best option if you plan to explore all of the areas mentioned above. It gives you a lot of independence and might be one of the safest ways to travel in the country. Car rentals are found all over the country, but it’s best to book in advance to assure availability.

Private Shuttles

If you don’t feel like driving but still want flexibility and comfort I would recommend this option. There are companies that will take you all over the country.

Taxi

These are readily available.. Most are good, especially the ones that work with large hotels. You should be safe as long as you make sure they have been approved by the local government. Check for a large sticker that should be on the windshield or on one of the doors.

Tuk Tuks

These are the dingy version of taxis. They might look colorful and fun but I wouldn’t recommend them. Not because you might be robbed but because some of the drivers like to go fast. Every day you hear stories about them flipping over.

Chicken Buses

These are by far the cheapest option but if you happen to hop on one during rush hour, it will be extremely crowded, noisy and smelly. Plus these tend to get robbed often so I wouldn’t recommend them, unless you’re on a strict budget. If you do take one, watch your valuables carefully.

Unique Places to Stay in Guatemala

La Casa del Mundo Hotel

This is a hotel located on Atitlan Lake. There are tons of hotels in the area but what makes this one stand out is the fact that the rooms are decorated using all sorts of traditional textiles made by the local community. It also runs partially on solar energy (something extremely rare to find in Guatemala).

Casa Santo Domingo

At first it might look like another hotel in Antigua with a colonial decoration but it’s much more than that. There are tons of different room options, you won’t find two that look the same. There are also sumptuous pools, an elegant restaurant in the middle of church ruins. You’ll even find two museums. One in the main hotel and another in their extension which is located at the top of a nearby hill. On that hill you also find a restaurant, a glass church with awesome views of the canopy and sunset.

Hotel Finca Tatin

While this isn’t a luxurious hotel, it’s still amazing. You’ll find wooden structures that form the reception, restaurant and their bungalows which are literally hidden in the jungle. Plus, it runs on solar energy and is located about 10 minutes away from the nearest town. A 10 minute boat ride takes you to naturally heated hot springs.

La Reunion Golf Resort

Aside from being a five star hotel this is the only gld resort of Guatemala. As if that wasn’t enough it is located 20 minutes away from Antigua Guatemala, right on the foothills of the active fuego volcano. This allows some of the most spectacular views of the eruptions that you will find.

Jaguar Inn

If you are interested the Tikal National park, especially if you are interested in the sunrise tour, this hotel might be your best option. It is located inside of it and surrounded by the forest. In it you will find anything from luxury bungalows to a camping area.

Travel information and travel tips for Guatemala

The 5 Best Day Hikes in Guatemala

The 5 best day hikes in Guatemala from climbing Pacaya, an active volcano, to hiking an extinct volcano where you can swim in a lagoon in the crater!

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