Guatemala Holidays: an Overview

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' holiday 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, Guatemala makes a great holiday destination for those fond of eco-tourism, adventure and culture as their traditional dress and culture are very much still evident.

The best time for a Guatemala holiday is in the dry season, between November and April. Located at the heart of Central America, it 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 of a Guatemala holiday 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.

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If You Do Three Things
Visit Antigua Guatemala

The beautiful 16th century city of Antigua Guatemala is home to an impressive display of traditional, brightly coloured Spanish colonial buildings and architecture. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has retained its authentic architecture which can be explored while walking the cobblestone streets through colourful squares. There is plenty to discover including local art galleries, jade workshops, fascinating museums and many traditional markets packed with bright, locally made textiles and craftwork.

Pacaya volcano
If You Do Three Things
Pacaya Volcano Hike

Head out on a privately guided hike up the active Pacaya Volcano, starting in the surrounding pine forest before heading up the trickier molten rock area, where hot steam seeps through crevices in the base of the volcano. Learn about Pacaya's formation and evolution as you traverse its ever-changing face and take in views of neighbouring volcanoes, pacific lowlands and even El Savador.

Chichicastenango market
If You Do Three Things
Visit Chichicastenango

Visit the market town of Chichicastenango, three hours from Antigua Guatemala, where you can purchase some local artisan crafts. En route you will pass through the beautiful central highland region, watching local Mayan people going about their daily lives. Visits are best on Thursday and Sundays when indigenous Mayans from surrounding villages come to trade at the market.

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When to go

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Antigua Guatemala
Lake Atitlan
Tikal National Park
Antigua Guatemala
Lake Atitlan
Tikal National Park
Best time
Low season
Off season

Map of Guatemala

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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, but in Atitlan and Tikal, we’d recommend you go all out and stay in the best hotels, which means that a 10-day luxury holiday to Guatemala could cost from £3,000 per person including flights. Many travellers opt to combine Guatemala with Belize to explore its interior and enjoy some time on its Caribbean Coast. A two week holiday to Guatemala & Belize starts at approximately £4,000 per person including international flights.

Itinerary Suggestions

Adventure in Guatemala

9 Days

From £2,925pp

On the Mayan Trail in Guatemala and Belize

13 Days

From £7,400pp