Guatemala City is not in most travelers’ minds when they think of traveling to Guatemala. But it can be a fun place for families, there are many family-oriented places to visit. I was not a fan of this city, but I gave it a chance and found that it was a City with tons of fun options for things to do and a crazy amount of restaurants. That’s why I decided to list the best things to do in Guatemala City for families.
And I’m not even going to mention the many museums that are available on the historic site of the city.
Like any other city, the big turnoff is definitely traffic, but if you are willing to look over that and try to circulate during non-rush hours, you will definitely have a good time.
So what’s a staycation? To me, it means either doing a small vacation-like trip (either a day trip or a multi-day trip) that is super close to home.
And that is exactly what we did! Our chosen location is the least thought of for people who live in Antigua, Guatemala, and Guatemala City.
With my husband working a lot lately and the kids being on break from school, I wanted to do something special with just the three of us. I’ve heard of INGUAT, Instituto Guatemalteco de Turismo (Guatemala’s Tourism Board and Institue), and decided to do something we did before as a family – hire a private guide for the whole trip. Normally, if we ever did private guides it would be for one particular tour, so this was something new and exciting for us by far.
INGUAT provides many amazing services from helping people plan their trip by working with accredited tour guides, to having police escorts if necessary, to working hard with different locations in Guatemala to provide the best and safest tourism services possible.
During our back-and-forth, INGUAT sent over many itineraries until we decided on the one that would work best for us. And they connected me with Norman, from Turismo Chapin, our bilingual guide.
Traveling as a single parent with two kids can be daunting, especially in a city I don’t know very well. Norman was a blessing on so many levels.
Fun Things to Do In Guatemala City With Kids
Here is what we came up with for our two day stayaction:
Kids museum – Museo de los Ninos
This is a museum created 10 years ago by the Guatemalan Government to give kids tools to learn and have fun at the same time. It is located in Guatemala City’s zone 13, really close to the international airport. My 7-year-old son loved this museum, he got the chance to play and learn at the same time without knowing it.
You should know that there is a TON of museums in Guatemala City and I have listed here the best ones for you to visit.
We’ve been to a ton of kids’ museums all over the world, so what I’m about to say is full of impact – this is the best kids museum ever. Plus, it’s not only for super young kids, my ten-year-old had as much fun as my four-year-old.
1. Service – every single exhibit has someone working it. They give you their full attention walking you through the process and explaining everything.
2. Exhibits – there are all sorts of hands-on and interactive exhibits for kids of all ages. Everything from earthquakes, to electricity, to dentistry, to supermarket shopping, to a huge ball fun park.
3. Size – the museum isn’t large, but you can easily spend over three hours there without realizing the time.
4. Storytime – Check the daily schedule for theater times. The stories are fun and keep the kids really entertained.
This is such a new concept to me and apparently to Guatemala City as well. The chain was started in Bogota, Colombia and there are three other locations in South America, with the first one coming to Guatemala City.
This is definitely a full-on city for kids. Basically, the idea behind Divercity is for kids to act like adults. They get to choose over 50 different careers, earn money and also get to spend money on things like attractions, sports, and learning to drive.
When inside you will find buses, an airplane, a fire station, a vet clinic, banks, and so much more.
Your kids will feel like grown-ups and can easily spend 5-6 hours here.
In the meantime, parents get to stay in the Parent’s daycare. Here you will find free internet, TV area and a cafe.
Mundo Petapa is part of IRTRA. It is a project that has 7 parks and 4 hotels all over Guatemala that was created by a group of private companies for their worker’s recreation. This amusement park was recently remodeled and got lots of new fun games added. I can’t start to tell you how much I love that place, the rides, and the service. It’s a great place for a family day out.
IRTRA is considered to be the best amusement park system in all of Central America. The main one which is an amusement park and water park is about two hours outside of the city. However, inside Guatemala City you can find one that is a perfect day trip with the kids.
The park has everything you can imagine for kids of all ages. There are kiddie rides that were perfect for my four-year-old. And plenty of roller-coaster action.
This is where the private guide was the most helpful of all. Since my four-year-old couldn’t do the big boy rides, Norman accompanied my ten-year-old and had a blast going on the roller coasters and other crazy rides, that even if I was alone wouldn’t do with him.
La Aurora Zoo
This is Guatemala’s national zoo. I must say I that truly impressed by it. It has many different species of animals but the main thing is that they are not miserable in a tiny cage. My boy and I had a blast in this place. In it, you will find all the characters from the Lion King and Madagascar.
This is an adventure park located on the Hincapie Avenue in Guatemala City. It is a park designed for adventurous souls where you will find a climbing wall and obstacle course, bungee jumping, gotcha, and trampolins for all ages. My husband and son love climbing everything they find so you can imagine how much fun it is to go here.
San Agustin Bike Park
This is a large park on the outskirts of Guatemala City with an amazing view of local mountains and Guatemalan volcanoes. It was made as a mountain bike park, but its trails can be explored on foot, and you can also enjoy some time at their delicious restaurant while the rest of your family is out biking
Fun Restaurants for the Family in Guatemala City
Guatemala City has tons of great places to eat. However, only one that is truly a different type of experience. Nais restaurants are the main staple in Guatemala City, but the best one to visit is the Nais Aquarium Restaurant.
As the name promises, the entire restaurant is decorated with huge saltwater fish tanks. And the main one you can stick your head inside (in glass) and find anything from moray eels to sharks.
The kids truly got a kick out of this and the food is great. You can find everything for every taste.
Imagine having a fish tank like an aquarium in your own house?
Where to Stay With the Family in Guatemala City
INGUAT chose the hotel for us – Grand Tikal Futura.
I’ve heard of this hotel before since it is part of the Tikal Futura Commercial Center which has a lot of stores, restaurants, and even fun (smaller) activities for kids. However, I never thought of it as anything luxurious or remotely as beautiful as it was.
Needless to say, it was a great surprise. Since we got dropped off around 5 pm, we had time to fully enjoy the hotel.
First, my kids hit the pool area. It looked like an indoor tropical island, and we were the only ones there.
The hotel has several restaurants where you can taste international and Guatemalan food and for dinner time we headed to Asia Grill & Wok and were in for an even bigger surprise. You get to make your own dishes. You chose the ingredients and watch them cook them for you. This in itself was a super fun attraction for both me and the kids.
The room was spacious, free internet and I have to say it was one of the best hotels we’ve stayed in throughout our Guatemala travels.
I would really recommend taking some time to enjoy Guatemala City’s kid activities. And for people staying longer in Guatemala, this is a must-visit location especially if you want to do a family fun time.
Dare to try some of these fun activities in Guatemala City, or find new exciting ones! You won’t be disappointed.