Guatemala is a world to discover, and for numerous reasons. Guatemala city attracts people eager to discover new delights, untamed wilderness, smoking volcanoes, and other rare sights. There are so many things you could venture around from marvelous relaxing beaches to action-packed trails and sights. No matter if you are eager to explore ancient Mayan culture and ruins, or if you are merely looking for roaming around the blue lakes, cloud forests, and cobbled streets, you can find almost everything in Guatemala. We tried to narrow down the top places to discover and visit in this mesmerizing country, so read on.
- Roam around the enchanting Mayan ruins of Tikal
Located in the northern part of Guatemala and surrounded by lush and humid jungles, this imperial spot played a vital role in Mayan culture. The preserved ruins of the city of Tikal cover around 16 square kilometers and are close to the Belize border so anybody cruising around the gulf can stop and go on a field trip to Tikal National Park and see the breathtaking ruins. This archaeological site was occupied between 600 BC and AD 900 and has more than 3,000 preserved structures such as temples, pyramids, plazas, and even an acropolis to showcase to tourists and visitors. Only, bear in mind that there are plenty of spider monkeys and other monkey species that will also greet you, so be mindful.
- Witness the colorful Antigua
A former capital of Guatemala, Antigua can brag about being one of the most beautiful cities in the whole of Central America. Only in Antigua, you can find cobbled-stone, incredible churches, and convents. Being surrounded by three volcanoes such as the grandiose Pacaya volcano, Antigua used to be impacted by earthquakes which left consequences on the city’s buildings, but the city has risen from the ashes many times. If you are looking for ways to immerse in the culture and people, in Antigua you can find cheap hotels, excellent restaurants, and welcoming people. The best way to explore Antigua is by signing up for an amazing volunteer overseas program and helping reconstruct buildings, getting involved in reconstruction, and giving your contribution to innovation.
- Dwell in the deep jungles and Semuc Chapey
Set deep in the jungle, Semuc Champey is going to be worth visiting even though it’s an utterly hard spot to reach. You can hop on a tour from Lanquin and then either hike around 2.5 km or go on a bumpy and crazy 4×4 ride. If you choose the second, get ready for a bumpy ride over swirling roads and lush jungle, but also get ready to have your jaw dropped. Semuc Chapey is actually a set of pools with warm and calm waters that vary in vivacious colors of green and turquoise. This amazing world’s gem is worth the trip because you will have the opportunity to check out the caves, see the dense forest, and witness amazing wildlife.
- Unwind at Lake Atitlán
Some people reckon that Lake Atitlán is one of the most gorgeous lakes in the world, and it does deserve the title. Located in the high country, tourists and visitors would need around two hours by car from Guatemala City and even less from Antigua. The lake itself is a volcanic crater that is situated 1,538 meters above sea level and it’s embellished with a plethora of villages on the shore and charming houses. Visitors ought to approach the city of Panajachel, see the main street, check out the stalls for fresh produce and souvenirs, and then take a boat ride to other villages such as Santiago Atitlán, San Pedro, or Santa Catarina Palopó. Each village is charming and has a fairytale-like view of the lake, and the best thing about visiting this lake in Guatemala is that you can go swimming all year round because the water is always warm and soothing.
- Sip cocktails at Livingston
Don’t get tricked by how small this town is, because Livingston has a remarkable charm that will make you come back for more. Caribbean rhythms and vibe combined with Mayan history and Latin culture are what attract an abundance of tourists from all over the world. People come to Livingston to breathe in the fresh air, swim in crystal clear waters, listen to Caribbean-inspired music, go snorkeling and explore the Rio Dulce, and sip cocktails at Cayos Sapodillas. To sum things up, if you need to unwind from the daily grind, enliven your senses, and simply be surrounded by a laid-back atmosphere, you should visit Guatemala’s Caribbean coast.
- Spend some money at the multicolored Chichicastenango market
The derived meaning of Chichicastenango is “a place of Chichica” which is an itchy plant. For some people, this is a quiet and small town, but every Thursday and Sunday a real party starts in the city center. This is the time when numerous sellers head out to the streets to sell everything you can imagine. However, the most famous products in the Chichicastenango market are vibrant and colorful textiles, blankets, dresses, and fresh local produce. The town of “Chichi” is surrounded by rising valleys and awe-inspiring mountains.
Guatemala is undoubtedly worth the visit. From east to west, north to south – you’ll find rare and mesmerizing things along the journey.