What to do in Guatemala

Day Tours Archeological Sites Highlands Beaches Natural Wonders Lowlands Excursions

What to Do in Guatemala

Guatemala remains as a hidden gem in Central America. Most people have heard about the Mayan ruins, however, there is so much more to discover. You will be amazed at the many things such a small country can offer!

Among the thrilling activities, you can explore the distinctive archaeological sites, treks across the rainforest, go zip lining in the jungle, river rafting, swimming in natural pools, kayaking along Lake Atitlan or live the exhilarating experience of hiking a volcano. You will also broaden your knowledge about the vivid culture of Guatemala. Visit the indigenous local markets, colorful Mayan villages and the appealing colonial towns around the country. To relax as you deserve, you can enjoy a couple of days at a first-class hotel with natural hot springs and Spa facilities.

There is a long list of Guatemala attractions that will entertain you during your vacation. Additionally, you can include many other leisure activities like bird watching, spelunking expeditions or local workshops to learn about Guatemala’s heritage. Nevertheless, our country is more than adventure and culture. Guatemala City and the main touristic towns offer world-class dining, nightlife scene and cultural entertainment. The perfect elements for an unforgettable vacation!

To save you time and hassle, we recommend private transfers to move around the country. Sit back and relax while one of our professional drivers takes you from one place to the other.

If you want to learn more about the highlights of Guatemala, here is a list of destinations and activities you might want to keep in mind for your upcoming vacation:

Metropolis of Guatemala
Guatemala City is the main hub of the country. The Capital offers a glance at the history and the modern scene the locals live in. If you plan to visit Guatemala City, we certainly recommend doing it with a certified guide and a local driver. Among the highlights of our Capital you will see the Historical Center, the stunning Relief Map, the Popol Vuh Museum which treasures an impressive collection of pre-hispanic artifacts and the Ixchel Museums of indigenous textiles.

Colonial Towns
An important part of Guatemala’s history is the Spanish Colonization back in 1524. This significant event left, not only a cultural, but also a peculiar architectural trace that can be seen in several colonial cities and villages around the country. Antigua Guatemala was the capital of the Federal Republic of Central American back in the days. Today, it is one of the best-preserved colonial cities of the continent. Cobblestone streets, baroque architecture, parks and churches decorate this historical place.

Natural Lakes and Pools
Guatemala is well known for its natural treasures. The amount of waterbodies throughout the country attracts many visitors and photographers all year round. One of the most visited destinations of Guatemala due to its stunning beauty is Lake Atitlan. Located in the Western Highland region, this lake is guarded by three majestic volcanoes. Another marvel of nature is Semuc Champey- a great destination for nature lovers and adventurous people! A spring of water and different minerals created unique geological formations. The natural monument of Champey consists in a series of water holes cascading down through the tropical jungle of Coban. These are just a few of the many bodies of water you can explore in Guatemala.

Indigenous Culture
Known as the Heart of the Mayan World, Guatemala’s heritage makes our country a special place. Almost 60% of today’s population is indigenous and descendant from the Maya. The pre-hispanic traditions are well-preserved and the culture keeps flourishing. Guatemala is a multi-cultural country full of surprises!

Archaeological Sites
Around 2000 BCE the territory of Guatemala was vastly inhabited by the Maya civilization. The majority of big pre-hispanic cities were located within the Maya Biosphere Reserve in the Lowland region of the country. Thanks to the magnificent architecture style used by the Maya and the fast regeneration of the jungle, we can still appreciate some of the majestic structures built thousands of years ago. Among the most important archaeological sites in Guatemala are Tikal, Yaxha, Piedras Negras, Aguateca and Quiriguá. The Mayan history is ongoing mystery waiting to be discovered.

Beach Destinations
Pacific and Atlantic – both oceans share coasts with Guatemala! You will find volcanic sand beaches, beautiful natural reserves and even an African descendant ethnic group. The Pacific Coast has ideal conditions for recreational fishing, cetacean sighting and, in very specific areas, surfing is also possible. On the other side, the Caribbean Coast is a destination for you to relax and unwind. Both beach regions of Guatemala are rich in biodiversity and unique in its own way!

Volcano Hiking
Part of the Ring of Fire, Guatemala possesses 37 volcanoes from which only three of them are active. Pacaya Volcano (2,552m / 8,370ft) is well known among visitors due to its constant lava activity and intermittent level of hiking. Acatenango Volcano (3,880m / 12,730ft) on the other hand, requires an advance hiking level – however the vistas on the top are breathtaking! Regardless of your level of fitness, hiking up a volcano in Guatemala is a trilling adventure that MUST be included in every vacation.

Last but not least, Guatemalan cuisine! Influenced by foreign recipes and ingredients, our gastronomy is an exotic fusion of subtle tastes. Local ingredients like maize, beans and chilies are to be found everywhere. Some traditional dishes are strictly regional, which means you can only find them in specific departments of Guatemala. Special spices and herbs give local cuisine unique notes of flavor that you need to try during your Guatemala vacation.

Now that you have a better idea about what to do in Guatemala, you can start planning your vacation. Fell free to contact us anytime! We will be happy to assist you.

Contact our Guatemala Vacation experts today by visiting our Trip Planner!

Guatemala Highlights in a Week, 7-day package.
Volunteering Abroad, Antigua's 6-day package.