IRTRA Petapa: Best Amusement Park In Guatemala

Who would ever think that amusement parks are the best places for a private guide to assist you? To be honest I certainly didn’t think so. But in this post, you will find out how pleasantly surprised I was to find the perfect private guide for me and my two boys while traveling as a single parent to visit the IRTRA Mundo Petapa amusement park in Guatemala City. 

Parks in Guatemala are abundant and the country is home to many reserves too, but this amusement park will surprise you just as much as it surprised me!

woman sitting next to a kid in an amusement park ride in IRTRA Petapa Guatemala
Irtra Petapa is not only for kids but adults can have a lot of fun too, if you have kits make sure to hit all the attractions, and you’ll have a blast.

And that was all thanks to the helpful and valuable private guide that INGUAT, Instituto Guatemalteco de Turismo (Guatemala’s Tourism Board and Institute), helped me set up. His name is Norman from Turismo Chapin (an organization dedicated to promoting and assisting with domestic tourism in Guatemala) and he was a superb private guide that my kids took a liking to instantly.

To be honest when traveling with two boys, one ten years old and the other four (even though they get along great for the most part) the age difference comes alive when at an amusement park. Especially when it comes to their interests and preferences for rides and amusement facilities at IRTRA Petapa.

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And just having Norman around during our two-day trip as a private guide was incredibly helpful.

So, while my ten-year-old wanted to hit all the largest, scariest rides my four-year-old was content in riding the horsey around the carousel or doing little kiddie rides.

My ten-year-old wanted to hit all the largest, scariest rides. While my four-year-old was content in riding the horsey around the carousel or doing little kiddie rides.

So what to do with an older boy who is roller coaster happy? Norman to the rescue, that’s what.

First of all, Norman was just one of those guys that you immediately click with. And this was truly evident when my four-year-old started to hold his hand when we were at different attractions during the two-day trip. He never does this.

kid and a tour guide in a ride in irtra petapa guatemala
Norman from Turismo Chapin was the private guide that INGUAT, Instituto Guatemalteco de Turismo (Guatemala’s Tourism Board and Institute), helped me arrange and he was incredibly helpful to me and my two boys.

And my oldest son immediately took a liking to him too, because Norman was like a big kid, he was enjoying all the stuff we were doing as much as the kids. Participating in all the games and everything.

So when it came time to go on roller coasters, there wasn’t any better choice than Norman for my oldest.

And they had a blast!

Information about IRTRA Petapa Guatemala

IRTRA Petapa is a popular amusement park and recreational complex that opened in 1976. Its strategic location in Guatemala City makes it easily accessible for residents and tourists visiting the capital city of Guatemala.

The park offers a wide range of attractions and entertainment options, including amusement rides, a water park, dining facilities, and green spaces. Visitors can enjoy thrilling rides, relax by the pools, or explore the park’s landscaped gardens.

With a capacity of 12,000 people, IRTRA Petapa is designed to accommodate a large number of visitors. And while it’s certainly not as big as Disneyland or Six Flags, it has a wide variety of attractions for families to enjoy.

IRTRA Petapa Park is divided into six areas:

  • Plaza Estrellas – With a theater, lockers, carriage rental, and a souvenir shop.
  • Plaza Arcoiris – With Food stalls, arcade games, and 14 rides for small kids.
  • Plaza Divertia – With arcade games, rides for older kids and adults, a souvenir show, and two restaurants.
  • Valle de los Dinos – This is a playground with the representation of large dinosaurs.
  • Social Area – Here you will find an Olympic pool and a smaller one for kids, a coffee shop, and a space where events like birthdays can be held.
  • Zoologico la Jungla – This is a small zoo with 24 species of mammals and 11 species of reptiles. There is also an aviary that you can walk into and hang out with up to 400 birds.

Interestingly enough, IRTRA was originally formed out of good intentions to allow lower-class income levels to visit and enjoy the park at huge discounts. Every single day there are free days for different regions of the country. 

And if you go to the big park which requires two days, the hotel/resort is hugely discounted for people who are in certain economic brackets.

two kids in a ride in irtra mundo petapa guatemala
Some of the main attractions at IRTRA Petapa include thrilling roller coasters, water slides, wave pools, and children’s play areas. 

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What is IRTRA Guatemala?

IRTRA stands for “Instituto de Recreación de los Trabajadores” (Workers’ Recreation Institute), and is a network of recreational facilities and theme parks in Guatemala, aimed mainly at providing leisure and entertainment options for workers and their families from private companies.

IRTRA is known to run and operate the best amusement parks in all of Central America. They have several properties, but the biggest one (considered to be the Disney of Central America) is located about two hours outside of Guatemala City in Retalhuleu where you will find the Xocomil water park and the Xetulul theme park right next door to each other.

But if you are in and around Guatemala City you don’t have to drive two hours to enjoy a fun-filled day at an amusement park.

IRTRA Petapa is located right in the heart of Guatemala City, located in the municipality of Petapa which is part of the Guatemala City metropolitan area.

colorful entrance to mundo petapa guatemala
If you are in and around Guatemala City you don’t have to drive two hours to enjoy a fun-filled day at an amusement park. IRTRA Petapa is located right in the heart of Guatemala City.

Story Behind IRTRA 

The main objective of IRTRA is to promote the well-being and quality of life of workers from the private sector and their families by providing them with affordable and accessible leisure and recreation spaces and facilities. 

The idea of creating such a place was born in 1960, it was a proposition made by the owners of the largest companies in Guatemala at the time. IRTRA was created through a decree from the Guatemalan Congress that became effective in 1962.

The secret to its success lies in the fact that it is an autonomous institution, so the central government can’t take part in its administration.

Since IRTRA was born, all workers in Guatemala started to get a small part of their salaries taken from them to be used in the creation maintenance, and improvement of the IRTRA parks. They became affiliates, affiliates get free entrance to the parks, discounts in the hotels, and other advantages over visitors.

The first IRTRA park opened its doors in 1967. It is a water park called “Agua Caliente” (hot water). It is located near Pacaya Volcano.

Its name comes from the naturally heated hot spring pools that you can find in that area. To the present day, there are five parks spread all over the country, four hotels, and one spa.

Information for IRTRA Petapa

  • Address: Avenida Petapa 42-36 zona 12 Guatemala
  • Phone: 2245-1100
  • Hours: Thursday to Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, Sundays from 9 am to 6 pm
  • Prices:
  • Affiliates: Free entrance (for up to 5 people)
  • Visitors: Kids: Q50, Adults Q100; Elderly Q50
  • Passports for rides: 12 for Q50
  • Each ride: Q5

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Last Updated on June 15, 2024

3 thoughts on “IRTRA Petapa: Best Amusement Park In Guatemala

  1. Looks like everyone had a blast! Neat history behind it all making it more than just a park! Thanks for sharing!

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