travelexperta.com
×

Best Museums in Guatemala City That You Need to Check Out

After living more than 25 years in Guatemala I learned that most people completely skip the capital and move to Antigua as soon as they arrive at the airport, but the truth is there’s so much to see here, especially museums, that’s why if you have the chance make sure to visit some of the many museums in Guatemala City.

The city is home to a handful of interesting museums and is perfect for exploring if you are interested in learning a bit more about Guatemala’s history and culture. Make sure to take at least one day to explore the museums of Guatemala City, it can be the perfect day trip from Antigua.

Best Museums in Guatemala City

Guatemala is popular for the presence of the interesting Maya people that live up to today, and there’s no better way to learn more about their history and the country history than a museum. My family and I visited most of the museums in the city, and I can confidently say that these are the most interesting ones:

National Museum of Archeology and Ethnology

Museo de Arqueología y Etnología Guatemala City
I remember the first time I saw a Mayan stelae and carvings, I was so amazed, it was more than just an experience.

This is one of the most impressive archeological museums in Guatemala, it’s the place to go if you’re interested in archeological findings, the museum houses beautifully carved stelae from different Mayan sites throughout the country as well as decorated ceramics, carved jade, shells, and several stone figures.

And my favorite part of the museum is the amount of authentic jade masks it has, plus, the ethnology section is known for the traditional costumes and lifestyles of the ancient Maya and other indigenous cultures.

Useful information:

  • Where is it? 6a Calle y 7a Avenida Zone 13
  • Contact: +502 2475 4010
  • Schedule: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tues. – Fri., 9 a.m. –noon and 1:30 – 4 p.m. Sat – Sun.
  • Admission: $4

National Culture Palace (Palacio Nacional de la Cultura)

Palacion Nacional de Guatemala in Guatemala City
Palacio Nacional de la Cultura is more than just a museum, it often holds top-notch cultural events that are worth checking out.

The palace was built as the presidential palace from 1936 to 1943 by prisoners who were forced to do it. Nowadays the building serves as a museum that offers guided tours to discover its fascinating architecture, art, and artifacts.

With all the brutality attached to its history, it is one of Guatemala’s most interestingly architecturally composed buildings.

Useful information:

  • Where is it? Parque Central, Zone 1
  • Contact: +502 2239 5000
  • Schedule: 9 – 11:45 a.m., 2 – 4:45 p.m. Mon-Fri, 9 – 10:45 a.m., 2 – 3:45 p.m. Sat and Sun
  • Admission: free

Popul Vuh Museum (Museo Popol Vuh)

popol vuh museum guatemala city
Hands down the most popular museum in the country and my personal favorite, it has a lot of interesting Mayan artifacts that you won’t see even in Tikal.

If I could choose a museum as the most popular it would definitely be Popul Vuh Museum, the museum is well known for its impressive collection of Mayan art and artifacts that dates back from Preclassic, Classic, Postclassic to Colonial times.

However, it’s best known to house one of only three Mayan books to survive the burning during the post-conquest by the Spanish.

Useful Information:

  • Where is it? 6a Calle Final, Zone 10
  • Contact: +502 2338 7896
  • Schedule: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mon. – Fri., 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sat.
  • Admission: $3.50 adults, $2 students

Ixchel Museum (Museo Ixchel)

Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Textiles and Clothing guatemala city
My kids and I agree that the Mayan textiles are so unique and interesting, the museum is perfect for learning more about it but if you want a buy one authentic head to Chichicastenango Market.

Here you will be able to explore the rich textile heritage of Guatemala, even the building itself is built to resemble a Mayan Huipil, a hand-woven, embroidered blouse.

It houses all you can imagine about traditional weaving and costumes, from fabrics and weaving tools to folk paintings by native people and dioramas.

The exhibits are fascinating and do a good job showcasing Indigenous attire.

Useful Information:

  • Where is it? 6a Calle Final Zone 10
  • Contact: 2331-3739
  • Schedule: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Sat.
  • Admission: $3.50 adults, $2 students

Miraflores Museum (Museo Miraflores)

Museo Miraflores Guatemala City

This impressive museum was built in dedication to the history and importance of the Mayan site of Kaminaljuyú, which is located right there in the middle of the city.

Here you’ll find replicas of their irrigation canal systems, what the city looked like in its heyday, and its comprehensive history as well as pottery, jade jewelry, sculptures, and photographs of its excavations.

Don’t miss the underground reproduction of a Precolumbian burial beneath the pyramid, a unique experience!

Useful Information:

  • Where is it? 7a Calle 21-55 Zone 11, Paseo Miraflores
  • Contact: 2470-3415/16/17/18
  • Schedule: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tues. – Sun.
  • Admission: $2 adults, $1 children/students

Children’s Museum (Museo de Los Niños)

children museum guatemala city
More than just a museum, the Childream Museum is a whole adventure for kids, my boys love visiting it and we did it several times.

The Children’s Museum is full of fun facts, hands-on exhibits, and activity rooms for kids to learn all about Guatemala, nature, science, and much more.

The Children’s Museum offers a unique experience for families, I visited it several times with my kids and they had a blast each time!

They explored the interactive exhibits, it’s a delightful space to learn about various topics in a fun and engaging way.

Useful Information:

  • Where is it? 5a Calle 10-00 Zone 13
  • Contact: 2475-5076
  • Schedule: 8 a.m. – noon and 1 – 5 p.m. Tues. –Thurs., 8 a.m. – noon and 2 – 6 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2:30 –6 p.m. Sat – Sun
  • Admission: $5

National History Museum (Museo Nacional de Historia)

This museum focuses mainly on historical documents, lifestyles, and paintings of the 19th century with an emphasis on photography. Here you will find all you need to know about the country’s civil war.

Useful Information:

  • Where is it? 9a Calle 9-70 Zone 1
  • Contact: 2253-6149
  • Schedule: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Mon. – Fri.
  • Admission: $4

Essential Travel Resources

❗Don’t forget travel insurance


This company is the one I trust, it’s one of the most essential things for any trip. It has your back in case you get sick abroad, or have an accident.

🎒Pack smarter, not bulky


Check out this vacation packing list, including all the essentials you need to pack when traveling, from travel clothing to backpacks and more.

🏡Where to Stay – Here are Suggestions


This is my favorite place to look for accommodations, it offers different types, a ton of locations, and good price options.

🗺️Get Around Hassle-Free


This one is the perfect option to look for different transportation options between cities, from flights, buses, and taxis to minivans and more.

🛫Find Cheap Flights


Whenever I need to fly, I head to this website for low-cost flights.

Carlos Mérida National Modern Art Museum

Although it’s a modern museum, it houses few pieces other than the most famous Modern artist of Guatemala: Carlos Merida.

Useful Information:

  • Where is it? Hall No. 6, Finca Nacional “La Aurora”, zona 13.
  • Contact: +502 2472 0467
  • Schedule: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tues. – Fri., 9 a.m. – noon and 1:30 – 4 p.m. Sat – Sun
  • Admission: $1.50

Train Museum (Museo del Ferrocarril)

This is a fun museum showing you Guatemala’s train history. You’ll see steam engines, train cars, photographs, and other train-related exhibits.

Useful Information:

  • Where is it? 9a Avenida and 20 Calle Zone 1
  • Contact: +502 2208 4747
  • Schedule: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tues. – Fri., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sat – Sun
  • Admission: free

Jorge Ibarra National Natural History Museum

This is a small museum with taxidermy of native creatures and exhibits of Guatemala’s ecosystems.

Useful Information:

  • Where is it? Zone 13 next to La Aurora Zoo
  • Contact: +502 2472 0468
  • Schedule: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tues. – Fri., 9 a.m. – noon and 2 – 4 p.m. Sat – Sun.
  • Admission: $1.50

How to Get Around

Getting around in Guatemala City, and navigating its bustling streets can be both exciting and challenging, even more so if you’re using the local transport system, which I highly recommend you avoid. Sadly it’s not as secure as you could imagine and is crowded and uncomfortable.

The best way to get around is by driving, yes, rent a car and drive yourself. Get a driving app and you are all set to explore the different museums. My husband and I have been driving around Guatemala City and Antigua for several years now without issues.

On the other hand, you can use a taxi, Cabify, or UBER but the costs can add up quickly.

staycation in guatemala woman walking a dog in guatemala city

Where to Stay?

While you can easily visit Guatemala City and its museum from Antigua, people always ask me for places to stay in the city, and there are plenty of options.

Finding the right place to stay is crucial, but rather than a particular hotel or hostel, I would focus on the zone. My favorite zone to stay at is Zone 4, which is often called “Cuatro Grados Norte”, it’s an artsy and trendy area. On the other hand, you have Zone 15, which is more upscale and expensive.

Here are some options in good zones:

  1. Casa Cacao Boutique Hotel (Zone 4): Artistic décor, personalized service, and a rooftop terrace.
  2. Hotel InterContinental Guatemala (Zone 10): A luxurious option with spacious rooms, a rooftop pool, and excellent dining.
  3. Hyatt Centric Guatemala City (Zone 15): Modern design, rooftop bar, and personalized service.

FAQs

What’s the best time to visit Guatemala City?

The dry season (November to April) offers pleasant weather for exploring, but prices are usually higher and places are crowded.

Is photography allowed inside the museums?

Yes, photography is generally permitted, but it’s best to check with each museum for specific guidelines. Some of them have sections of the museum banned from pics or videos.

Are there any special events or temporary exhibitions?

Museums often host special events, workshops, and rotating exhibitions. Keep an eye on their websites for updates.

Can I purchase souvenirs at these museums?

Some museums have gift shops where you can find unique souvenirs related to their collections.

Are the museums accessible to people with disabilities?

Most museums tend to be accessible, but I highly recommend asking about any specific requirements of the museum in advance.

Enjoyed this post? Pin it! 

List of the Best Museums in Guatemala City

Looking for More Inspiration?

I have been traveling and living in Guatemala for over 25 years
Check out these Hand-Tested GUIDES

Tips

If you want to travel without the hassle and confusion – check out a complete guide for traveling to Guatemala.

Places

For more travel ideas to add to your bucket list, check out a complete guide to all the best places to visit in Guatemala.

Food

Guatemala has a huge variety of food, check out the guide to the top 15 Guatemalan Food and Dishes.

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission for any purchases made through the links. Your trust is important to us, and we ensure that all products or services we recommend meet or exceed our editorial standards.

Last Updated on June 27, 2024

4 thoughts on “Best Museums in Guatemala City That You Need to Check Out

  1. Hi i am doing some research on Guatemala Backstrap weaving as an art and I can’t remember the name of the organization that does research in Guate. I can’t remember if it was a school or independant research organization. I’m not thinking of the Ixchel museum or Popol Vuh museum. It is another organization that does research both on culture and in other fields. Any suggestions?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.