A quick Google search of ‘things to do in Guatemala’ brings up a whole host of posts littered with words like ‘bucket-list’, ‘unforgettable’, ‘unique’ and ‘epic’, highlighting what a stunning country and dreamy holiday destination it is.
Nestled in the heart of Central America, sharing land borders with Mexico, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras, Guatemala has a rich and diverse culture, drawing influences from its neighbours to intermingle with its own traditions and heritage. All of which makes for fascinating holidays in Guatemala.
Antigua’s plazas show off the Spanish colonial influence on the country, among cobbled streets and eye-catchingly colourful buildings. There are also ancient ruins to explore in the former capital, the Santa Catalina Arch and stunning views from Cerro de La Cruz, from which you can see the nearby Agua Volcano.
But the cities and towns are in the minority amongst the vast and spectacular natural landscapes. Guatemala is enveloped in jungle, volcanoes and National Parks, making Guatemala holidays an absolute haven for outdoor adventurers. And that’s without taking into account the chance to dip your toes in both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean.
Top of any bucket-list must be the emerald pools of Semuc Champey, the ultimate postcard spot – or Instagram spot for those under the age of 40! Hashtag ‘no filter needed’ has never been more appropriate. But the pools are not just there to snap from a distance, so be prepared to grab the swimsuit and jump in! Daredevils can even take part in extreme tubing on the Rio Cahabon, or caving by candlelight.
Fancy trekking up Guatemala’s active volcanoes? Of course you do! There are 37 volcanoes dotted across the country, three of which remain active – Pacaya, Fuego, and Santiaguito – and all are possible to hike up. For the true adventurers, Fuego erupts roughly once an hour, but if scaling a lava-spewing volcano doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, there’s the option to climb neighbouring volcano Acatenago, which gives spectacular views of Fuego.
Nearby is also Lake Atitlan and its charming surrounding towns, well worth a visit for couples or family holidays in Guatemala. You can kayak on the water, swim or simply chill out and enjoy the view.
To experience local history and heritage, the ruins at Tikal, situated deep in the jungle, celebrate Mayan culture which is still very much alive today, despite being centuries old in existence. The Mayan villages in the highlands are very much evidence of this thriving heritage, where traditional dress is still worn. The nearby town of Flores is also great for chilling out at Lake Peten Itza, where you can unwind with some fun on Jorge’s Rope Swing, an iconic local spot.
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