If you’re looking for an amazing Central American country to explore, look no further than Guatemala. This beautiful country is home to awe-inspiring volcanoes, stunning lakes, and colonial towns that will take your breath away. We had the opportunity to visit Guatemala for three months and were blown away by all the incredible things there are to see and do. Here are our top things to do in Guatemala!
We spent a few days in Guatemala City and then proceeded to find our way to Antigua and we are so glad we did.
Something that we really loved about Antigua was the fact that it was a great base for exploring the rest of Guatemala while having that small-town feel. We were able to take a week-long drive through the country and see some of its top highlights, including the Mayan ruins of Tikal, the beautiful Semuc Champey, and the active volcano of Acatenango. Antigua is also home to some stunning colonial architecture and is a great place to learn about Guatemalan culture. It was the modern times, original capital city (1500’s).
The town of Antigua is one of the most charming towns in Guatemala. It was originally founded by the Spanish in 1543 and is home to some stunning colonial architecture. Antigua is a great place to learn about Guatemalan culture, and there are a number of day trips that can be taken from here. Some of our favorite things to do in Antigua include finding the hidden courtyards seemingly behind every door in town. Whether it be a hidden restaurant or a “small” shop that goes on forever.
One of the most incredible experiences we had in Guatemala was climbing Volcano Acatenango. This active volcano is over 3,000 meters tall and offers stunning views from the top. The climb itself can be quite challenging and takes around 5-8 hours to complete, but it’s well worth it for the incredible views you’ll get at the summit. On a clear day, you can even see the nearby Agua volcano and neighboring and Fuego (Fire). With Fuego erupting every 15 minutes or so, you are up close and personal to view lava and smoke spewing hundreds of meters up and feeling the earth tremble as you watch. Whether you decide to make the climb or just enjoy it from afar, Acatenango is an amazing sight that should not be missed!
Traveling through Guatemala with kids is another great way to experience this wonderful country. From Antigua there are plenty of family-friendly day trips to take, such as exploring the Aguateca ruins and walking through the lush Cloud Forest of Monterrico. These trips provide a great way for kids to learn about the culture and history of Guatemala while having fun.
Tikal is a Mayan archaeological site located in the Petén Department of Guatemala. It is one of the largest and most famous archaeological sites in Central America, and it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Guatemala. The ruins are believed to have been constructed between 600 and 900 AD, and they are home to some of the tallest pyramids in the Mayan world.
Visiting Tikal is a truly incredible experience. The ruins are massive and offer a glimpse into the incredible engineering skills of the Mayan people. It’s easy to spend a whole day exploring the different temples and palaces at Tikal, and there are some great guided tours available if you want to learn more about the history of the site. Be sure to watch the sunset over the ruins; it’s an unforgettable experience!
Semuc Champey is a natural wonder located in the department of Alta Verapaz, in Guatemala. The name Semuc Champey means “place of the champeys” in the local Q’eqchi’ Maya language. The site consists of a series of natural limestone bridges and pools, and it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Guatemala.
The pools at Semuc Champey are a popular spot for swimming and diving, and the bridges make for some great photo opportunities. The site is also home to a number of caves that can be explored, and there are some great hiking trails to be found in the area. Semuc Champey is definitely a must-see destination while traveling in Guatemala!
Bonus: You can visit a nearby cocoa farm and make your own chocolate and also a nearby coffee farm to make your own blend from tree to cup.
Overall, our expectations before arriving were questionable as to what we would experience based on our own preconceived judgments. We were overwhelmingly surprised and absolutely love Guatemala. It’s an incredible country with lots of exciting things to do. From Antigua to Acatenango and beyond, there are endless opportunities for exploration, adventure, and learning.
So if you’re looking for an amazing place to visit in Central America, look no further than Guatemala!