Guatemala is one of the smaller Central America countries but the local indigenous population is the largest of any Latin nation, making for a particularly ‘authentic’ experience. The country offers the best of Central America under one roof – volcanoes, protected tropical jungle, mountainous highlands, impressive Mayan ruins, vivid colonial towns (including the wonderful Antigua) and beaches on the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. Altogether, it makes a great destination for those fond of eco-tourism, adventure and culture as their traditional dress and culture are very much still evident.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • With an abundance of colourful local towns, indigenous markets, Mayan ruins and colonial cities, and a fascinating religion that's a hybrid of Catholicism and ancient Mayan beliefs, Guatemala is the ultimate Central American experience
  • It's an outdoor adventure playground: you can hike volcanoes, kayak on lakes, trek through jungles and fly through the canopy on a zip line
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Original Highlight

Tikal is great, but everyone knows that. For something completely unique, head to the lesser known site of Uaxactun, where you can 'glamp' in the shadows of a Mayan temple.

Stephanie, Original Traveller

A note on price

Like much of Central America, Guatemala represents good value in comparison to its South American counterparts. Antigua Guatemala is full of reasonably priced boutique hotels (costing around £100 a night), but in Atitlan and Tikal, we’d recommend you go all out and stay in the best hotels, which means that a 10-day trip to Guatemala could cost from £2,000 per person including flights. Learn more about our pricing

Where to go in Guatemala

Antigua Guatemala

Antigua Guatemala

A highlight of any Guatemalan trip; Antigua competes with Cusco and Cartagena as Latin America's most beautiful colonial city.

Antigua Guatemala
Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan

A huge body of deep blue water that stretches into the distance and takes at least half an hour to cross by motorised boat, the lake has an amazing setting, ringed by imposing volcanoes.

Lake Atitlan
Tikal National Park

Tikal National Park

A 45-minute flight from Guatemala City to Flores in the steamy Petén region of northern Guatemala, Tikal’s 3,000 temples, shrines, ceremonial platforms, ball courts and plazas lie in the heart of the jungle.

Tikal National Park

What to do in Guatemala

Chichicastenango

Chichicastenango

The mountain village of Chichicastenango, three hours from Antigua, is especially worth visiting on Thursdays and Sundays when indigenous Mayans from the surrounding villages come to trade at the market.

Chichicastenango
Iximche

Iximche

Perched on top of a fortified hilltop, and surrounded by a deep moat, sits the pre-Colombian archaeological site of Iximche.

Iximche

Lake Atitlan Villages

Lake Atitlan is surrounded by a dozen or so small villages, each with its own distinctive feel. Although most remain fairly quiet, tourism is becoming more of a significant presence in almost all of them.

Lake Atitlan Villages
Solola Market

Solola Market

Set on a natural balcony overlooking Lake Atitlan, Solola’s Tuesday and Friday market is one of Central America’s finest, drawing crowds of traditionally dressed Mayans from all over the highlands.

Solola Market
Flores

Flores

The slow paced island village of Flores is often overlooked as a mere start off point for trips around the Peten region, but it is worth spending a few hours exploring its pretty cobblestone streets flanked by handicraft shops and charming pastel coloured houses.

Flores
El Mirador

El Mirador

Tucked away near the Mexican border and still largely covered in thick vegetation, the ancient Mayan ruins of El Mirador are believed by many to be the original cradle of Mayan civilisation.

El Mirador
Yaxha

Yaxha

45 miles to the west of Flores, the gateway to the north, lie the archaeological site of Yaxha.

Yaxha

Where to stay in Guatemala

Palacio de Dona Leonor

Palacio de Dona Leonor

Palacio de Dona Leonor is an authentic mansion steeped in 500 years of history, evident the minute one steps through its heavy oak doors.

Palacio de Dona Leonor
Casa Encantada

Casa Encantada

One of the most hospitable places to stay in one of Latin America's must-see cities.

Casa Encantada
El Convento

El Convento

Hidden away down one of Antigua’s cobbled streets, El Convento is located opposite the 18th Century Capuchin convent, and is at once quiet and central.

El Convento
Panza Verde

Panza Verde

Panza Verde is a gorgeous boutique property with plenty of character and warmth.

Panza Verde
Posada del Angel

Posada del Angel

This pretty little inn is built in the Spanish colonial style but has a strong Guatemalan feel, from the friendly staff to the brightly woven textiles in each room.

Posada del Angel
Hotel Atitlan

Hotel Atitlan

The welcoming rooms in this converted family coffee farm are individually decorated with traditional Guatemalan textiles and furniture.

Hotel Atitlan
Casa Palopó

Casa Palopó

90 miles from Guatemala City, Casa Palopó is a beautiful villa built on the hills surrounding Santa Catarina Palopó village, on the shores of Lake Atitlan.

Casa Palopó
La Lancha

La Lancha

The Mayan ruins at Tikal and Yaxha require long days of exploring, so a relaxing hotel is in order afterwards, and the best in the region is La Lancha,

La Lancha

Details for Guatemala

A little more info

The best time to visit Guatemala is in the dry season, between November and April. Located at the heart of Central America, Guatemala is one of the most culturally and geographically diverse countries in the world. Guatemala is an interesting and exciting country to travel in. One can marvel at ancient temples, spectacular lakes, smoke - ringed volcanoes and bustling indigenous markets. Formerly visited by the intrepid traveller, it now has a number of excellent boutique hotels and posadas which make it a fantastic country to visit without sacrificing basic creature comforts.

The hotels are mainly family run and are often converted haciendas maintaining their original charm and style. One of the highlights is to immerse oneself in the charming colonial town of Antigua, with its labyrinth of cobbled streets, museums and stunning architecture followed by a visit to the crystalline waters of Lake Atitlan or head North East, slightly off the beaten track, into the depths of the jungle to discover one of the impressive Mayan archaeological sights and admire the spectacle of exotic wildlife and birds.

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 17°C / 62°F
  • Rainfall — 0cm / 0.1 inches
Flight from London

10:45 hrs

Time Difference

GMT -6 hrs

Saskia and Stephanie are our Guatemala experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

Call us on +44 (0)20 7978 7333

Or enquire online

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