Guatemala is a fantastic destination for adventurous and outdoor-oriented travellers. During your journey, you will discover the ancient Mayan culture, charming cities, and breathtakingly beautiful nature. As a biodiversity hotspot, Guatemala has an incredible natural ecosystem. This country is a nature lover's paradise, as there is an abundance of mountainous landscapes, beautiful beaches and coastlines, tropical forests, cool highlands to explore. Guatemala also has astounding 37 volcanoes, including the highest one in all of Central America. Volcano Tajumulco peaks at a whopping 4,220 meters!
Mayan culture of Guatemala
Mystical ruins of the ancient Maya civilization are a must-see during your expedition. Thankfully, Guatemala offers countless sites through-out the country. Travel deep into the jungle to reach Tikal, the ancient centre of this powerful and mysterious civilization and one of the largest Mayan ruin excavation sites. Climb to the top of the pyramids to see an unparalleled view of the jungle, sprinkled with pyramids peeking through the treetops.
Cities and villages in Guatemala
There are many small, charming villages throughout Guatemala. After you finish exploring Tikal, head to the nearby Mayan town of Flores placed it takes up a whole small island in the lake Petén Itzá. Chichicastenango, another Mayan town, has one of the best market places in all of Central America. If you want to experience the lively and fun Afro-Caribbean Garifuna culture instead go to the coastal town of Livingston. The atmosphere in Livingston is very different from that of Flores, since the residents are not Mayan, but Afro-Caribbean descendants.
You should also visit the old capital of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Antigua is a colourful colonial city with many fun bars and nice restaurants. If you want to experience a memorable and very colourful cultural experience, it is best to go to Antigua during the Semana Santa festival in April!
We also recommend that you book a minibus from Antigua to a small village called Panajachel. During this journey, you will drive along a high mountain road with breath-taking views. Panajachel is located on the shore of Lake Atitlán, which is surrounded by three stunning volcanoes. From here, you’ll find small boats that can take you to different tiny villages on the lake.
Things to do in Guatamala
Guatemala is a wonderland for those who enjoy the outdoors. You can do trekking or canoeing deep in the jungle, check out the sun-kissed Caribbean beaches, or party in Antigua. The good news is that Guatemala is fairly cheap for budget traveller and backpackers.
With its nearby caves and waterfalls, Semuc Champey is said to be one of the most beautiful places in Guatemala. This natural wonder offers mountain stream water pools where you can swim and relax. The easiest and safest way to get to know this magnificent place, located in the town of Lanquin, is to book an organized trip.
Want to stretch your mind and body? Head to the laid-back village of San Marcos located by the shores of Lago Atitlán. There, you’ll meet a peace-loving, healthy-living, and slow-paced lifestyle, and very few tourists. There is very good vegetarian food in San Marcos, as well as cosy hostels, yoga classes, and all kinds of health courses. Enjoy the fresh eucalyptus sauna, some afternoon yoga, a good massage, or some live music. This is the place to replenish your energy and balance your mind, body, and soul.