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31 Best Places to Visit in Guatemala (2023 Guide by an Expat)

From interesting Mayan ruins to beautiful lakes and colonial towns, learn all the best places to visit in Guatemala, as well as tips and tricks on how to get around and more.

Guatemala is a small country in Central America that offers a rich diversity of natural and cultural attractions. From ancient Mayan ruins to colonial cities, from volcanic landscapes to tropical rainforests, Guatemala has something for every traveler.

Whether you are looking for adventure, history, art, or relaxation, you will find it in this beautiful country.

In this article, we will explore some of the top places to visit in Guatemala, and what makes them so special.

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Why visit Guatemala?

Guatemala is a destination that will surprise and delight you with its variety and charm.

Here are some of the main reasons why you should visit Guatemala:

  • It has a rich and diverse culture, influenced by the Maya, the Spanish, and other ethnic groups. You can learn about the ancient Maya civilization, admire the colonial architecture, and experience the vibrant traditions and festivals of the local people.

  • It has some of the most impressive and well-preserved Maya ruins in the world, such as Tikal, Yaxhá, and El Mirador. You can explore these archaeological sites and marvel at the pyramids, temples, palaces, and stelae that testify to the greatness of this ancient culture.

  • It has a stunning natural scenery, ranging from volcanoes and lakes to mountains and jungles. You can hike, bike, kayak, zip-line, or raft through these diverse landscapes and enjoy the views and the wildlife.

  • It has a warm and friendly people, who will welcome you with their hospitality and kindness. You can interact with the locals, learn about their customs and crafts, and taste their delicious cuisine.

places to visit in guatemala
Guatemala is a country that has a lot to offer to travelers, who want to discover its natural and cultural wonders.

Best Places to Visit in Guatemala

Guatemala has a variety of places to visit, that suit different tastes and preferences. Whether you are looking for ancient ruins, colonial cities, volcanic landscapes, tropical rainforests, or rural villages, you will find them here.

Semuc Champey

One of the most beautiful and unique places in Guatemala is Semuc Champey, or the Sacred Water. It’s a natural monument, located in the municipality of Lanquín, in the Alta Verapaz department, and it is easily accessible from Guatemala City and Antigua by road.

Semuc Champey consists of a limestone bridge, that covers a section of the Cahabón River, and forms a series of turquoise pools, waterfalls, and caves. A place of stunning beauty, and a sacred site for the Q’eqchi’ Maya, who believe that the river is the source of life.

You can swim, relax, explore, and admire the wonders of nature.


  • Hike to the viewpoint called “el mirador”, a wooden deck on the top of a hill that offers the best views of the waterfalls.
  • Explore the nearby caves of K’an Ba or Kanba
  • You can do rafting at the Cahabon River
  • It’s close to the Lanquin Caves
aerial view of semuc champey in guatemala central from viewpoint

📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out Guatemala Facts: A Guide for Travelers and Curious Minds

Lake Atitlan

The main attraction of Panajachel is the Lago de Atitlán, or Lake Atitlán. The lake is a natural wonder, formed by a volcanic eruption that created a caldera, or a crater, that was filled by water. Lake Atitlan has a surface area of 130 square kilometers, and a depth of 340 meters.

The lake is also a cultural treasure, as it hosts 12 villages that have their own traditions, languages, and customs. You can visit the villages by taking a local boat or a private boat from Panajachel, and learn about their history, art, and spirituality.

Some of the most popular villages are Santiago Atitlán, San Pedro La Laguna, and San Marcos La Laguna.


  • Each village is word checking out, most of them have something different to offer, from museums to workshops and more.
  • The lake is the perfect place to do activities like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and even scuba diving.
  • The lake is surrounded by three volcanoes and you can hike and climb a couple of them.
  • In some villages, you can find retreats, yoga and wellness center.
Woman near a pool taking a photo of Lake Atitlan in Panajachel

Tikal National Park

Tikal National Park is located in Peten Guatemala and its name means place of voices. Nowadays, it is the biggest known and studied Mayan City. This park in Guatemala has an area of 576 and it was declared a Human Heritage Patrimony by UNESCO in 1979.

It consists of a group of temples and plazas scattered around.


  • Major Plaza: It is surrounded by Temples I and II, the North and Central Acropolis, as well as a big range of wakes and altars.
  • Temple I: Known also as Big Jaguar Temple, it was built around year 700. Its crest reaches 45 meters high above the Major Plaza.
  • Temple II: It is also known as Masks Temple. You will find it very close to the Big Plaza by the west, with 38mts. high. The temple was built around 700 A.C.
  • North Acropolis: It is a religious area within the ceremonial complex of Tikal. It is the most complete individual construction to this date in the area.
  • Central Acropolis: It is formed by a small courtyard on different levels with large and low buildings called palaces.
  • Temple IV: With its 70mts. it is the highest structure of Tikal and is called Two-headed Snake Temple. Here the visitors can go up to the crest base and have the most beautiful sight of Tikal.
  • Big Pyramid Plaza or Lost World: It is one of the oldest monumental complexes of Tikal. Its architecture, science, and art are that of the second century before our era and the fourth after our era. It is also a very important astronomical complex.


The colonial city of Antigua lies beautifully between three volcanoes and will have you snapping more pictures than a 2-gigabyte memory stick can hold.

There are delicious restaurants at every corner, clean and well-manicured cobblestoned streets great for a horse ride, and crumbling ruins that have become part of the scenery among colorful houses.

Antigua was once the third capital of this country. It was founded in 1543 and named Ciudad de Santiago de Los Caballeros de Guatemala. After many earthquakes and floods, the telluric movement of 1773 finally destroyed it.

Despite this, it is now one of the major touristic attractions of Guatemala. It is a colonial architectural jewel, which keeps its characteristics as if time had stopped. That is why it was designated by UNESCO  as World Heritage Site in 1979.


  • The Old Cathedral: It was built between 1543 and 1680. It has wooden columns, a body, and a bulrush, that had to be rebuilt after the Santa Marta Earthquake in 1773. The title of Metropolitan was given to it in 1743 by “Papa Benedicto XIV”. Also in the back, visitors can visit its ruins.
  • Capitan-General’s Palace: It is located in front of Central Park. It has a two-level and a two-tiered arched facade. During the centuries XVI to XVII it was home to the representative of the king.
  • Noble City Hall Palace: This construction has kept its original design since 1743. Presently, it hosts the municipal authorities’ offices and the Museum of Antique Books.
  • Church and Convent La Merced: The facade of this church is without a doubt the best example of baroque style. The fountain inside the Convent’s ruins is the largest that remains in La Antigua Guatemala.
  • The church of San Francisco el Grande: It is surrounded by a wall with battlements. Here is where the body of Santo Hermano Pedro de San Jos de Betancourt is kept, as well as a museum where relics, clothes, and objects that he used are on permanent exhibit.
  • Acatenango Volcano: It is a classic visit for those who love to climb. It is the third highest volcano in the country, and yet it has easy access and a camp to spot the explosions of Fuego Volcano.
arc and clock in antigua guatemala
Antigua is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Guatemala. It was the capital of the Spanish colony of Guatemala, today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Arco de Santa Catalina

One of the most iconic landmarks of Antigua is the Arco de Santa Catalina, a yellow arch that spans the 5th Avenue North.

The arch was built in the 17th century to connect the convent of Santa Catalina with a school across the street, allowing the nuns to pass without being seen by the public.

It’s also has a clock tower that was added in the 19th century. The arch is a perfect spot to take photos, especially at sunset, when the sky turns into a beautiful backdrop.

Casa Popenoe

If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Antigua, you should visit Casa Popenoe, a colonial mansion that has been restored and turned into a museum, a cultural center.

The house was built in the 17th century, and belonged to several prominent families until it was bought by the American scholar Wilson Popenoe in 1930. He and his wife restored the house to its original splendor, and filled it with antique furniture, paintings, ceramics, and textiles.

It is open to the public by appointment, and offers guided tours that showcase the lifestyle of the colonial elite.


For chocolate lovers, Antigua has a sweet treat: the ChocoMuseo, a museum dedicated to the history and production of chocolate. Guatemala is one of the places where chocolate originated, as the ancient Maya used cacao beans as a currency and a sacred drink.

The museum explains the origins, cultivation, processing, and consumption of chocolate, and also offers workshops where you can make your own chocolate bars, truffles, or guatemalan drinks. The museum also has a café and a shop where you can buy delicious chocolate products.

old building in antigua guatemala

Guatemala City

Guate (as the locals call it) is the largest Central American city. The city is zonified starting at zone 1 in the center and radiating outward. Some zones are full of lively cafés, top-notch restaurants, and cultural centers. For museum lovers, it’s a don’t-miss-out destination.

Sure, Guatemala City has earned its violent and dangerous reputation for good reason, but you wouldn’t go out flaunting your jewels and valuables in any Central American city.

If you follow a few basic safety guidelines and don’t enter gang territory, you’ll be amazed at how modern and alive this city really is!


  • Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología: One of the most important museums in Guatemala City, it displays a vast collection of artifacts from the pre-Columbian civilizations that inhabited Guatemala, also exhibits objects and costumes from the different ethnic groups.
  • Palacio Nacional de la Cultura: Another impressive attraction in Guatemala City, it was built in the 1930s, and served as the seat of the government until 1986. Today, the palace is a museum and a cultural center.
  • Zoológico La Aurora: If you are traveling with kids, or if you love animals, you should visit this place, the zoo has more than 200 species of animals, both native and exotic.
  • Visit Cuatro Grados Norte: Zone Four is the trendiest spot to visit in the city. You’ll find all these outside restaurants, pubs, and even some areas where you can hear live music. It’s a great area to go in the evenings and late at night.
  • Ciudad Cayala: Another great place to visit is Cayala, it’s located in zone 16 and it’s beautiful and contemporary area. It’s like a mall, but with large open areas, restaurants, and retailers all around. It reminds me of Europe, a great place to spend an afternoon strolling around, sightseeing, and shopping.
Palacion Nacional de Guatemala in Guatemala City

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The biggest issue is theft.

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Quetzaltenango, or Xela, as it is commonly called by the locals, is the second-largest city in Guatemala, and the capital of the Quetzaltenango department. It is located in the western highlands.

It is a city with a strong cultural identity, as it is home to many indigenous communities, such as the Quiché, the Mam, and the K’iche’.

A city with a lot of history, as it was the center of the resistance against the Spanish colonization, and the birthplace of many national heroes.


  • You can find a vast range of different restaurants in Xela, from vegan to international and local food.
  • Xela is a popular place to do rock climbing
  • Climb a Volcano: Xela like many places in the country is packed with volcanoes, Santa MAria and Cerro Quemado are open for visitors to hike and climb.
  • Parque Central: The heart of city is the Parque Central, or the Central Park, a square that is surrounded by some of the most important buildings of the city, such as the Cathedral, the Municipal Theater, and the City Hall.
  • Iglesia del Espíritu Santo: One of the most impressive buildings in Quetzaltenango is the Iglesia del Espíritu Santo, or the Church of the Holy Spirit. It was built in the 16th century by the Spanish conquistadors, and is one of the oldest churches in the country.
  • Chicabal Lake: It is located on the volcano summit with the same name. To get there, all you need to do is a short, easy walk.
  • Municipal Theatre: This Neoclassical building is an architectural jewel. It has a capacity of 1,050 seats. The stage was built in 1916.
woman in front of a building in xela guatemala
Xela is the second-largest city in Guatemala, a cultural and educational center, and a base for exploring the natural and cultural attractions of the western highlands.


Chichicastenango, or Chichi, is a small town in the highlands of Guatemala, that is famous for its colorful and lively market.

It is one of the largest and oldest markets in Central America, and it attracts thousands of visitors and vendors every Thursday and Sunday. You can find a variety of products, from textiles and woodcarving to masks, flowers and more.

You can also witness the fusion of Maya and Catholic traditions, as the market takes place around the church of Santo Tomás, where people pray and burn incense.


  • Shop for souvenirs and handicrafts at the market, you can buy some of the typical items, such as huipiles, and morrales. You can also buy some of the unique items, such as ceremonial masks, carved wooden animals, and painted wooden boxes.
  • Visit the church of Santo Tomás, and observe the rituals and ceremonies that take place inside and outside the church. You can see the Maya priests, or ajq’ijab, who perform offerings and prayers to the ancient gods, using candles, flowers, and incense.
  • Learn about the history and culture of Chichicastenango and the Maya people at the museum, you can see a collection of masks, costumes, and instruments that are used in the traditional dances and festivals of Chichicastenango.
  • Explore the surroundings of Chichicastenango, and visit some of the nearby attractions, like Pascual Abaj, a sacred stone that is worshipped by the Maya people, and the Chichi Cemetery.


Monterrico is a beach town on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, and a popular destination for sun, sand, and sea lovers. It is also a natural reserve, where you can see and protect the endangered sea turtles, and a mangrove forest, where you can see and explore the diverse flora and fauna.

It’s a popular place to go and enjoy the beach, which has black volcanic sand, strong waves, and a laid-back atmosphere.

You can swim, surf, sunbathe, or play on the shore, and watch the sunset over the ocean.


  • Visit the Tortugario Monterrico, a turtle hatchery and conservation center, where you can learn about the different species of sea turtles that nest on the beach, and participate in the release of baby turtles into the sea.
  • Take a boat tour through the mangrove forest, which is part of the Biotopo Monterrico-Hawaii, a protected area that covers 20 kilometers of coastline. You can see and admire the different types of mangroves, and the wildlife that lives in them.
  • Try some of the local cuisine and drinks, which are based on seafood, taste some of the typical dishes, like ceviche, tapado, and pescado frito. You can also try some of the local beverages, such as michelada, coco loco, and horchata.
to kids playing at the shore of monterrico beach guatemala

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Panajachel is a town in the Sololá department, in the southwest of Guatemala. It is located on the shore of the Lake Atitlán, it is the main tourist hub of the lake, and offers a variety of activities, such as boat tours, kayaking, hiking, biking, and shopping.

Its complete name is San Francisco Panajachel and hosts most of the hotels, restaurants, disco clubs, recreational areas, and commercial stores.


  • Panajachel is great for doing some handicraft shopping.
  • Visit the local market and find fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, and other things there.
  • Visit the Museo Lacustre Atitlan, which has relics and exhibits from the ancient Mayan civilization that once lived there.
  • Casa Cakchiquel is another great place to visit in here, it is a historic building that hosts many different events, exhibitions, and concerts. but I highly recommend you the cultural events.
boats docked on a port in panajachel lake atitlan guatemala
Panajachel is the best place to visit in Guatemala if it’s your first visit to Lake Atitlan, it has all the things you need for a comfy stay.


What you will find here is a beautiful town with a population of Afro-Caribbean origins called Garifuna. It is located in the Rio Dulce or Dulce River outlet to the Caribbean Sea. It can only be accessed by sea from Puerto Barrios, on private boats.

Holy Week, the feast day in honor of San Isidro Labrador (November 26), and the feast day in honor of Guadalupe Virgin (December 12) are magnificent opportunities to appreciate the folklore of the Gari­funa population of this place. The combination of beautiful beaches and warm people makes this place a great getaway.

woman walking with a kid down the street in livingston guatemala

Lanquin Caves

Lanquin Caves is a stunning natural wonder that will take your breath away, it’s a complex of limestone caverns that stretch for more than 10 kilometers, with some chambers reaching up to 60 meters high.

The caves are home to thousands of bats, which fly out every evening in a spectacular show. You can explore the caves with a guide, who will show you the different interesting rock formations,

You will also see some ancient Mayan altars, where rituals are still performed today.

The Lanquin Caves are located near the town of Lanquin, in the Alta Verapaz department and near the iconic Semuc Champey. You can easily combine a visit to both attractions in a day trip from Antigua, or stay overnight in one of the nearby lodges or hostels.

a woman and kid inside the lanquin caves guatemala

Rio Dulce

Rio Dulce is a natural wonder that connects the Lake Izabal and the Amatique Bay, and serves as a gateway to the Caribbean Sea. It is also a national park that protects the rich biodiversity and the cultural heritage.

The river runs for about 43 kilometers, and is surrounded by lush vegetation and towering limestone cliffs. Along the river, you can see different kinds of birds, monkeys, and crocodiles.

You can also admire the Castillo de San Felipe, a colonial fortress that was built to defend the region from pirates.

The river offers a scenic and relaxing boat ride, where you can enjoy the views, the sounds and the smells of nature.

a kid and a man on a kayak in front of some boats in rio dulce guatemal
Rio Dulce is the most overlooked place in the country, but it has a lot to offer when it comes to adventure and wildlife.

El Paredon

El Paredon is a small beach town on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, known for its surfing, fishing, and relaxing vibe. If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea, El Paredon might be the perfect place for you.

It is located about two hours from Antigua and three and a half hours from Guatemala City by car.

The small laidback town has been gained a lot of attention in recent years, becoming more and more a hot spot for tourist and locals a like that want to enjoy a beach holiday.

el paredon sign guatemala

Fuentes Georginas

If you are looking for a relaxing and natural experience, you should visit Fuentes Georginas, or the Georginas Hot Springs.

This Guatemelan hot spring is located about 15 kilometers from Quetzaltenango, in the slopes of the Zunil volcano, and fed by the volcanic activity, it have mineral-rich waters that are said to have healing properties.

The hot springs have four pools of different temperatures, surrounded by lush vegetation and misty mountains. It also have a restaurant, a bar, and cabins, where you can enjoy a day or a night of tranquility and wellness.

fuentes gregorianas hot spring guatemala
There are many hot springs in Guatemala for you to enjoy, but Fuentes Gregorianas is the most touristic one, welcoming a ton of visitors!


Flores is a small island town in the Petén department, in the north of Guatemala. It is located in the middle of the Lake Petén Itzá, and is connected to the mainland by a causeway.

A charming and colorful town, with colonial houses, cobblestone streets, and a friendly atmosphere. Flores is also the base for exploring the nearby Mayan ruins, such as Tikal, Yaxha, and Uaxactún.

view of the lake, arc and buildings in Flores Island Guatemala


Another Mayan site that you can visit is Yaxha, it is located about 30 kilometers from Tikal, and is the third-largest Mayan site in Guatemala. Yaxha was a major city that flourished from the Preclassic to the Postclassic period, and had a close relationship with Tikal.

Yaxha has more than 500 structures, such as pyramids, acropolises, stelae, and altars, that are distributed around two lagoons: the Yaxha lagoon and the Sacnab lagoon.

It is a less crowded and more peaceful site than Tikal, and offers a unique experience of exploring the Mayan culture and nature.

Yaxha mayan ruins peten guatemala

Reserva Natural Atitlán

If you are a nature lover, you should visit the Reserva Natural Atitlán, or the Atitlán Nature Reserve. The reserve is located about 2 kilometers from Panajachel, and covers an area of 100 hectares of cloud forest.

It has a variety of attractions, such as trails, waterfalls, bridges, and a butterfly farm. The reserve also has a zip-line, a hanging bridge, and a canopy tour, that allow you to enjoy the views of the lake and the forest from above.

A great place to see the flora and fauna of the region, such as orchids, bromeliads, monkeys, coatis, and hummingbirds.

mountains, trees and lake atitlan
Lake Atitlan is not only about the lake and the villages, there’s a lot more to explore around the lake and the Reserva Natural Atitlan is the perfect example.


Huehuetenango is a department and town in the northwest of Guatemala, bordering Mexico. It is one of the most diverse and remote regions of the country, with a variety of landscapes, climates, and cultures.

It is packed with mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, and caves, that offer many opportunities for adventure and exploration. A place with a rich history, as it was the last stronghold of the Maya against the Spanish conquest, and the birthplace of many revolutionary leaders.

view of an old church and trees in Huehuetenango guatemala

Laguna Lachua

One of the most beautiful places in the country is the Laguna Lachua, or the Lachua Lake. The lake is located in the municipality of Cobán, in the Alta Verapaz department, but it is accessible from Huehuetenango by road.

The lake is part of the Laguna Lachua National Park, a protected area that covers 14,500 hectares of tropical rainforest.

It has a circular shape, and a turquoise color, that contrast with the greenery of the forest. The lake is also a habitat for many species of animals.

The perfect place to enjoy the nature and the tranquility of the region.

viewe of the reflects of the sky on the Lachuá Lake in Guatemala
Laguna Lachua is another of the top tourist attractions in Guatemala that you can’t miss, its crystal clear waters reflect the sky perfectly almost like a mirror.

Todos Santos Cuchumatán

Another place that you should visit near Huehuetenango is Todos Santos Cuchumatán, or All Saints Cuchumatán. It is a town in the mountains, at an altitude of 2,500 meters above sea level, and one of the most traditional and authentic towns in Guatemala.

It preserves its indigenous identity, language, and customs, and is famous for its colorful and unique clothing, that is worn by both men and women.

The town is also famous for its annual festival, that takes place on November 1st, and that involves a horse race, dances, and a ritual. The festival is a celebration of the syncretism between the Catholic and the Maya beliefs, and a tribute to the ancestors and the dead.

People on horses and traditional clothes in Todos Santos Cuchumatan guatemala

Mirador Juan Diéguez Olaverri

If you want to have a panoramic view of Huehuetenango, you should go to the Mirador Juan Diéguez Olaverri, this lookout is located in the municipality of La Democracia, at an altitude of 3,000 meters above sea level.

It’s named after a Guatemalan poet, who wrote a poem about the beauty of Huehuetenango. The lookout has a monument, and a park, where you can admire the scenery of the mountains, and the valleys.

A good place to see the sunrise and the sunset, and to take amazing photos.

Mirador Juan Diéguez Olaverri

San Marcos

San Marcos is a department in the southwest of Guatemala, bordering Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. It is a region with a diverse geography, ranging from mountains and volcanoes, to plains and beaches.

It is also a region with a rich culture, as it has a large indigenous population, mainly of the Mam and the Sipakapense groups. San Marcos is a destination for travelers who seek adventure, nature, and authenticity.

Palacio Maya de San Marcos Guatemala

Volcán Tajumulco

One of the most challenging and rewarding attractions in San Marcos is the Volcán Tajumulco, or the Tajumulco Volcano. The volcano is the highest point in Central America, with an elevation of 4,220 meters above sea level.

The volcano is also a stratovolcano, that has two peaks. It can be climbed from the town of San Marcos, or from the village of Tuichán.

The climb takes about 6 hours, and requires a good physical condition and a guide. It offers spectacular views of the landscape, and the opportunity to see the sunrise from the top of the volcano.

a cross on top of volcán Tajumulco
Often called the Rooftop of Central America, Volcan Tajumulco is the highest point in the country and the region, you can actually embark on a challenging journey to the top!

📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out Volcanoes in Guatemala: 10 Most Stunning Volcanoes in the Country

Parque Ecológico Chuiraxamoló

Another natural attraction in Guatemala is the Parque Ecológico Chuiraxamoló, it is located in the Solola Department and is actually close to Lake Atitlan, the park covers an area of 1,200 hectares of forest.

It’s home to several trails, viewpoints, camping areas, and picnic areas, where you can enjoy the nature and the fresh air.

You can also enjoy a zip-line, a canopy tour, and a rappel, that allow you to have some adrenaline and fun.

The park is a great place to escape from the city and to connect with the environment.


Zacapa is a department in the east of Guatemala, bordering Honduras. It is a region with a hot and dry climate, and a low altitude, compared to the rest of the country.

Its is well known for its agricultural production, especially of sugar cane, coffee, and tobacco, as well as its gastronomy, especially cheese, honey, and rum.

The most popular rum in Guatemala is Zacapa!

Zacapa is a destination for travelers who want to discover the rural and authentic side of the country.

building and trees of the Central Park in Zacapa Guatemala

Museo Regional de Zacapa

An attraction in Zacapa you cant miss is the Museo Regional de Zacapa, it is located in the city, and is housed in a former railway station, that was built in 1908.

The museum displays a collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents, that tell the history and culture of Zacapa and its surroundings.

It also exhibits objects and costumes from the different ethnic groups that live in Zacapa.

Cuevas de B’omb’il Pek

One of the most interesting and adventurous attractions in the Alta Verapaz Department, the caves are located in the municipality of Chisec and are part of a huge system, on the area you can find several caves to explore, like Candelaria Caves, Jul Iq’, and Mucbilhá Raxruha.

These caves have a high archaeological and cultural value, as they were used by the Maya as a ceremonial and burial site.

The caves have several chambers, passages, formations, and paintings, that reveal the secrets and mysteries of the ancient civilization. The caves can be explored by foot, by boat, or by raft, and require a guide.

inside a cave in guatemala
There are many interesting caves in Guatemala that were used by the Mayan in different ways, on the same fashion as Lanquin Caves, you can explore Candelaria and B’omb’il Pek Caves.

Río Hondo

One of the most relaxing and enjoyable places in Zacapa is the Río Hondo. The river is located in the municipality of Río Hondo, a small and cozy town.

The river is well known for its crystal clear water, it has several pools, spas, and hotels, where you can soak, swim, and relax.

It is also a place where you can practice fishing, kayaking, and rafting, making it the perfect place to enjoy the nature and the warmth of Zacapa.

When to visit Guatemala?

Guatemala has a tropical climate, with two main seasons: the dry season (November to April) and the rainy season (May to October).

The dry season is generally the best time to visit Guatemala, as the weather is more explorer friendly (sunny and pleasant), and the roads are in good condition. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so you can expect higher prices and more crowds.

The rainy season is less popular, but it has its advantages. The rain usually falls in the afternoon, leaving the mornings and evenings clear and fresh. The landscapes are greener and more lush, and the waterfalls and rivers are more impressive.

The tourist attractions are less crowded and cheaper, and you can enjoy some festivals and events, such as the Day of the Dead (November 1) and Independence Day (September 15).

The best time to visit Guatemala also depends on what you want to see and do. Here are some examples,

  • if you want to visit the Maya ruins, you can go any time of the year, but you might want to avoid the hottest months (March and April) and the wettest months (September and October).
  • If you want to hike the volcanoes, you should go in the dry season, when the trails are safer and the views are clearer.
  • If you want to enjoy the beaches, you can go in the rainy season, when the sea is warmer and the sand is softer.

How to get to Guatemala?

The main gateway to Guatemala is the La Aurora International Airport (GUA), located in Guatemala City, the capital and largest city of the country. The airport receives flights from several destinations in North America and Europe.

You can also fly to the Mundo Maya International Airport (FRS), which is located in Flores, and makes the perfect gateway to Tikal and other Maya sites in the Petén region.

Another option to get to Guatemala is by land, from the neighboring countries of Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. You can cross the border by bus, car, or shuttle, but you will need to have your passport and visa (if required) ready.

You can also take a boat from Belize or Honduras to the Caribbean coast of Guatemala, where you can visit the port town of Livingston and the Rio Dulce.

Best way to travel around Guatemala

The best way to travel around Guatemala depends on your budget, preference, and sometimes the destination. I highly recommend you traveling around by shuttles, you can book them pretty much anywhere in the country or online and they will take you to the most tourist places in the country.

On the other hand you can rent a car and go at your own peace, I recommend this option too but keep in mind that some roads in Guatemala are in bad shape.

There’s public transportation, like buses, minibuses, or taxis, which are cheap and frequent, but can be crowded, uncomfortable, and unsafe.

You can also use private transportation, such as shuttles, cars, and even planes, which are more comfortable, convenient, and safe, but can be more expensive.

There are alternative transportation too, such as tuk-tks, boats, bikes, or horses, which are more fun, adventurous, and eco-friendly, but can be more limited and challenging.

Need to Rent a Car?

Rent a car here, it’s one of the best options to go for if your car stops working or is stuck at the mechanic getting services.


What are the main attractions of Guatemala?

Some of the main attractions of Guatemala are Antigua Guatemala, a colonial city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Tikal, a Mayan site and also a UNESCO Site; Lake Atitlán, a scenic lake surrounded by volcanoes and mayan villages; and Semuc Champey, a natural monument with turquoise pools and waterfalls.

The main attractions of Guatemala are its natural and cultural diversity, that offer a range of experiences and activities for travelers.

What are the main tips and precautions for traveling in Guatemala?

Guatemala is a safe place to travel to, a beautiful and fascinating country, but it also has some challenges and risks for travelers. The main issues is theft, and that’s present across the country.

Use your common sense and avoid traveling at night, walking alone, or showing off your valuables.

Make sure you register your trip with your embassy, and get a copy of your passport and visa.

  • Be respectful of the culture and the people, and ask for permission before taking photos, entering sacred places, or participating in ceremonies. You can also dress modestly, tip generously, and learn some of the local customs and etiquette.
  • Be prepared for the climate and the altitude, and pack accordingly. You can also drink plenty of water, use sunscreen and insect repellent, and avoid tap water and street food. You can also have some medication and vaccination, and consult a doctor before and after your trip.

Looking for More Inspiration?

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


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

Things to Do

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


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

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5 of The Top Places to Visit in Guatemala

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