Guatemala is full of cultural and natural diversity. It is full of active volcanoes, big cities, jungles, black sanded beaches, a Mayan culture with over 20 languages and the remains of the Ancient Maya Civilization.
Basics About Guatemala
Currency: The Guatemalan currency is called Quetzal, just like the bird. It stays around Q7.60 for one USD.
Weather: Guatemala stays warm all year long. The rainy season goes from May to late October.
Travel Guide to Guatemala By Region
Antigua, Guatemala is the last True colonial city of Central America. It is also a place where you will find tons of restaurants, hotels and shops in a tiny, yet beautiful setup with 3 volcanoes in the background.
Things to do in Antigua
1. Antigua is one of the best places for people that want to learn how to dance salsa. It is cheap and a fun adventure for the family. You can choose between a regular class and a private class.
2. There are tons of churches, convents and monastery ruins all around Antigua. Antigua’s authorities work hard to keep them maintained and to transform the remaining ones into beautiful gardens where you can go for an afternoon picnic.
3. The thing that makes Antigua even more special are the celebrations that take place during Holy Week – Semana Santa. Even if you are not a catholic, you will be amazed by the beauty of the carpets made out of sawdust and flowers. The unique decorations of the processions and the traditional food of the season make it all better.
Where to Stay in Antigua
1. There are tons of hotels in Antigua of all sorts. Casa Santo Domingo is a luxurious, five star hotel. It is built over the ruins of an old monastery.
2. If, on the other hand, you prefer small but beautiful boutique hotels make sure to take a look al D’leyenda Hotel it is a beautiful, tiny hotel with a Jacuzzi on the terrace.
3. Then there is the super family-friendly Porta Antigua Hotel. It is a beautiful colonial-style hotel with a great spa and a kid’s club.
Moving up north from Antigua you will find the stunning ruins of the ancient Mayan civilization hidden in the middle of a jungle filled with all sorts of animals.
1. To see what a Mayan City looks like you should visit the Tikal National Park. Here you will find huge pyramids and structures that were once used for Mayan rituals and games as you walk in the middle of the jungle. If you look closely you might even see some monkey playing in the branches above you and colorful birds.
2. Close to the national park is the tiny town/island of Flores, located in the middle of a lake. It is a colorful place where you will find local eateries, hotels, shops and all services you might need.
3. To learn about the local wildlife and to support the efforts to preserve it visiting ARCAS is a must.
Where to Stay near Tikal
1. When picking a hotel close to Tikal I highly recommend one with A/C because the heat can get pretty annoying during the night. Hotel Peten does, it is a lakeside hotel with a great swimming pool for kids.
2. El Gringo Perdido Eco Lodge – This one is located in El Remate village near the Tikal park. It has its own docks with hammocks as well as luxury rooms that you will love to stay in.
3. Jaguar Inn – This one to me is the best if you want to do the famous sunrise tour. Because it is located within the national park. so you won’t have to get up at midnight to make it on time for the 4AM tour.
Lake Atitlan is on the list of the ‘One most beautiful lakes in the world’. So if you come to Guatemala, of course, you have to see it! It is surrounded by tiny Mayan villages, hotels, bars shops, and volcanoes.
Things to do in Atitlan
1. One of the most unique experiences of the area is watching the Mayan Rituals toward a mixture between a catholic saint and a Mayan God that they call Maximon. It is unlike anything I have seen before.
2. If you want to party, the lake side town of Panajachel of Atitlan is the place for you. It is filled with shops and bars. During the day it is the best place to get souvenirs, but as the sun goes down the party starts.
3. Santiago is the biggest of the villages around Atitlan Lake. It is home to Guatemala’s oldest church which was built in 1547. It has a relaxed ambience and is not so touristy as Panajachel.
Where to Stay in Atitlan
1. Posada de Santiago is a lovely hotel located next to the lake that offers private cabins. The front yard had an amazing view of the lake and one of the surrounding volcanoes.
2. Hotel Selina in Panajachel – It is a fun and high-end hostal mainly aimed for single young travelers who are looking for a fun time in a clean and colorful place. It has private rooms but most of them are shared.
3. Lush Boutique hotel in San Marcos la Laguna – It is a unique place with colorful suites built into the mountain with unique glass art and gorgeous views of the lake.
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