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Guatemala - Best Tours & Trips 2019

177 trips to Guatemala tours from 49 tour companies. 78 reviews. 4.5/5 avg rating.
This smaller Central American country still packs a major punch: you’ll find Mayan ruins, volcanoes, beautiful lakes and beaches, rainforests, colorful markets, colonial cities, and intriguing cultures. While in many ways a highly desirable tourist destination, various safety concerns mean that Guatemala is best explored by guided tour.
All Guatemala tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 32 $ 10,000+

Price Per Day

Trip Length

Countries

Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

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Activities

Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

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Continents & Regions

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Guatemala's Must See Highlights

Global Basecamps
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 344 / day
$ 2,751
From : $ 3,384
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • The treasures that you simply cannot miss in Guatemala
  • Experience the colonial culture
  • Indulge your senses with coffee tasting
  • Explore the fascinating Mayan sites
  • Venture out into the stunning landscapes
Visits:
Guatemala
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Journey through Guatemala & Belize

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
14 days
$ 285 / day
$ 3,985
From : $ 5,380
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Snorkel in Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Caye Caulker
  • Sunrise tour of Tikal
  •  Incredible archaeology of the ATM caves
Visits:
Antigua, Blue Hole, Caye Caulker, San Ignacio, Tikal, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Belize, Guatemala, Argentina
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Guatemala Experience

Intrepid Travel
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
9 days
$ 243 / day
$ 2,151
From : $ 2,688
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Gaze over the jungle from the magnificent ruins of Tikal
  • Be immersed in Antigua's old-world charm
  • Take a boat to vibrant Santiago, a traditional village on Lake Atitlan
Visits:
Antigua, Caribbean, Lake Atitlan, Santiago, Tikal, Guatemala
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Guatemala Highlights

Lost World Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 254 / day
$ 2,797
From : $ 3,440
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Explore the stunning beauty of this tropical paradise

  • Visit Tikal, the grandest of all Mayan Ruins
  • Visit Yaxha National Park, an interesting site
  • See the paradise for birders, nature lovers and amateur archaeologists
Visits:
Antigua, Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlan, Santiago, Santiago Atitlan, Tikal, Tikal National Park, Antigua And Barbuda, Guatemala
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Mayan Encounter

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
12 days
$ 100 / day
$ 1,499
From : $ 1,619
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Listen to howler monkeys from the top of temple iv at tikal
  • Revel in caye caulker sunsets
  • Sway to reggae beats wafting through the belizean air
  • Wander the colonial streets of antigua
Visits:
Antigua, Caribbean, Caye Caulker, Playa del Carmen, San Ignacio, Tikal, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico
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Ancient Maya Guatemala

Project Expedition
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 155 / day
$ 1,700
From : $ 2,380
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Discover the highlights of the ancient Maya civilization
  • Take an amazing boat ride through Rio Dulce national park
  • Enjoy the benefit of natural hot springs
Visits:
Tikal, Guatemala
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Enchanting Guatemala Honeymoon

Global Basecamps
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
10 days
$ 895 / day
$ 8,946
From : $ 10,198
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • The perfect itinerary for a blissful, Luxury trip to Guatemala and Belize
  • Experience through the eyes of local with your own expert private guide
Visits:
Antigua, Guatemala, Belize
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Taste of 8 Day in Guatemala

Project Expedition
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 178 / day
$ 1,420
From : $ 1,988
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Visit Azotea Coffee Farm & taste Guatemala's finest beans
  • Sail across Lake Atitlan
  • Visit a woman's textile cooperative & learn local techniques
  • Enjoy a sunset tour of the beautiful Yaxha Ruins
Visits:
Tikal, Guatemala
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Guatemala Highlights

Peregrine Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 310 / day
$ 2,068
From : $ 3,348
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Your 2-night feature stay at hotel atitlan, an elite establishment on the shore of lake atitlan with botanic gardens, a spa and jaw-dropping views of the lake and volcano
  • Journey into the jungle and uncover the remains of the lost maya civilisation in tikal
  • Immerse yourself in the traditional communities around lake atitlan and attend a local artist workshop
Visits:
Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Santiago, Tikal, Guatemala
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Colorful Guatemala

Global Basecamps
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
9 days
$ 392 / day
$ 3,530
From : $ 4,342
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • This adventure showcases the best the country has to offer
  • Unique cultural immersion of this beautiful country
  • Get unique access to areas rarely seen by tourists with your own private guide
Visits:
Guatemala
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Mexico & Guatemala Highlights

Intrepid Travel
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 129 / day
$ 1,415
From : $ 1,910
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Revel in the beach vibe of Playa del Carmen
  • Explore incredible Maya pyramids at Chichen Itza
  • Travel along Mexico's amazing Yucatan Peninsula
  • Experience the great outdoors on the banks of Lake Atitlan
  • Trace the lines of ancient history at the Palenque ruins
  • Sample classic Guatemalan fare in Antigua
Visits:
Antigua, Chichen Itza, San Cristobal, Central America, Chichicastenango, Palenque, Guatemala, Mexico
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Volcano Adventure – Antigua to San José

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
21 days
$ 105 / day
$ 2,749
From : $ 2,969
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Explore the mayan ruins of copán
  • Wander the cobblestone streets of colonial antigua
  • Hike through the mist of a cloud forest
Visits:
Antigua, Caribbean, San José, Granada, Ometepe, Lake Nicaragua, Split, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua
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Caribbean Encounter(Twin Room,Start Cancun, End A ...

Contiki
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
10 days
$ 225 / day
$ 2,249
From : $ 3,149
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Relax on the white sand beaches
  • Sunset beach dinner
  • Locally guided tour of Tikal National Park
  • Included flight to Antigua
Visits:
Antigua, Caye Caulker, Playa del Carmen, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico
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Guatemala with Tikal, Atitlán and Antigua

10 days
$ 130 / day
$ 1,395
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Visit a coffee plantation and sample fresh Guatemalan coffee
  • Opportunity to visit Tikal is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Explore Guatemala City
  • Discover Antigua UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the best preserved colonial cities
  • Get a fascinating cruise across Lake Atitlan which is one the most wonderful lakes
Visits:
Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Tikal, Tikal National Park, Antigua And Barbuda, Guatemala
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Central America Explored

35 days
$ 103 / day
$ 3,620
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Relax on an Island getaway in Caye Caulker, Belize
  • Explore the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Tikal
  • Spend a night at our community project Manos Amigos
  • Spend some time in the Bay Island of Roatan in Hondura
  • Explore the Cerro Verde National Park in El Salvador
  • Get active in the Costa Rican cloud forests at Monteverde
  • Free time to explore La Fortuna including visiting the town's famous waterfall and Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Spend the night on Isla Ometepe
Visits:
Antigua, Caye Caulker, Chichen Itza, Chichicastenango, Copan, Granada, Lake Atitlan, Leon, Mayan ruins of Copan, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Ometepe, Playa del Carmen, Roatan, San Ignacio, San José, Tikal, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua
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Top Guatemala Experiences and Attractions

Top Guatemala Experiences

Experiencing the grandeur of the ancient Mayan temples and pyramids of Tikal.

Walking the cobbled streets of Antigua to view the beautifully preserved Spanish-style colonial buildings. 

Taking a boat ride on the crystal blue waters of Lake Atitlan to visit the small villages that dot its shores. 

Wandering through the crowded market at Chichicastenango

Hiking up an active volcano, if you dare. 

Relaxing on a beach along Guatemala’s Caribbean shore. 

Enjoying nature walks, birding, and viewing sea turtles in the rainforests and along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

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Guatemala Trip Reviews

78 Guatemala Tour Reviews - Summary 96% Recommend

4.5 out of 5
Excellent 53
Great 20
Average 2
Disappointing 0
Terrible 3
Value
4.5
Guide
4.5
Activities
4.5
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.5
Meals
4.5

Tour Reviews Write a Review

Cultural and Wildlife experiences.

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Educational. Exhilarating. Demanding. Cultural and Wildlife experiences. Friendships. Amusing.

Read more
Operator Dragoman

Our trip through in Central America was great

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Our trip through in Central America was great, fun, interesting and allowed a lot of learning about the different countries. Tony and Louise were always kind. Both are excellent drivers! They were very competent in all the support during the trip.

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Operator Dragoman

I enjoyed it all.

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

I enjoyed it all. Central America is amazing!

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Operator Dragoman

Thoroughly enjoyed

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Thoroughly enjoyed my 11 weeks on the road through Central America and Colombia.

Read more
Operator Dragoman

Enjoyed the culture of the old Mayan ruins

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Every country was an adventure. Enjoyed the culture of the old Mayan ruins as well as the biodiversity of Costa Rica and Colombia. Highlights were snorkeling in Caye Caulker, seeing the native frogs in Costa Rica, sleeping in hammocks and standing on the equator line in Ecuador.

Read more
Operator Dragoman

Incredibly enjoyable trip

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Incredibly enjoyable trip saw amazing sites and national parks and crew were absolutely brilliant.

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Operator Dragoman

Guatemala Tours and Travel Guide

Guatemala Attractions & Landmarks Guide

This smallish Central American country, about the size of Kentucky, still packs a lot punch: you’ll find Mayan ruins, volcanoes, beautiful lakes and beaches, rainforests, colorful markets, colonial cities, and intriguing cultures. While in many ways a highly desirable tourist destination, various safety concerns mean that Guatemala is best explored by guided tour.

Bordering southern Mexico and Central American neighbors Belize, El Salvador and Honduras, as well as the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, Guatemala rivals any nearby country for sheer dramatic beauty, historic sites, and intriguing culture.

But like much of Central America it has a long history of political unrest and corruption, and lacks the infrastructure that helps attract visitors to tourist favorites like Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize. Crime, sometimes violent, is also a concern. 

That said, a guided tour to Guatemala can be a perfectly safe and extremely rewarding experience. The country contains outstanding Mayan ruins, splendid colonial cities, colorful markets and pageants, and numerous opportunities for eco-tourism adventures

The Big 3 in Guatemala: Tikal, Antigua and Lake Atitlan

Sprawling in the jungles near the Belize border, Tikal (“Place of Voices”) is one of the most extensive and best preserved Mayan ruins in existence. Dating as far back as the 6th century BC, it especially thrived in the first millennium AD, when a quarter million people or more made it their home.

Today you can still view Tikal’s impressive temples, soaring pyramids, and grand plazas. Some 3,000 structures lie amidst the rainforest and wildlife in Tikal National Park. 

Antigua, the former capital of Guatemala until a huge 1773 earthquake left much of it in ruins, is now a well preserved Spanish-style colonial town known for its wealth of churches and convents, many of them reconstructed. It enjoys a beautiful mountain-ringed setting as well. Wandering through the old city with its cobblestoned streets, you may come upon a parade or fiesta; during spring Holy Week, the festivities are spectacular. 

Surrounded by volcanoes and itself located in a volcanic crater in Guatemala’s highlands, Lake Atitlan won plaudits as the most beautiful lake in the world. A number of villages line its shores, and you can take boats across the lake to visit them and their craft shops. Boats leave from the city of Panajachel. 

Markets, Beaches, Eco- and Other Adventures

While you can find shops and stalls throughout the country selling traditional crafts and textiles, the most colorful – and hectic – market is located at Chichicastenango (often shortened to “Chichi”). Vendors flock here from around the region to sell vegetables, fruit, textiles and crafts, mainly to locals. Chichi is off the beaten path so it’s best to limit your visit to market days: Thursdays and Sundays. 

Guatemala is blessed with a number of good beaches, but some of the prettiest are found around the Caribbean coastal town of Monterrico, where the hot, humid air draws visitors to the shore – but beware of the big surf here. Monterrico is also known for its nature reserve that protects sea turtles, birds, and mangrove forests. You can take boat tours through the mangroves to view birds and other wildlife. 

If hiking is something that appeals to you, there are many great hiking and walking tour options in Guatemala.You’ll want to take a guided hike up Pacaya Volcano near Antigua, with an elevation of more than 8,000 feet. The volcano has been active for the past 40 years and lava flow is always a potential hazard.

Another less volatile volcano, Tajumulco, is Central America’s highest mountain and is open to climbing. Tajumulco is near Quetzaltenango (“Xela”), the country’s second largest city (after the capital, Guatemala City), Xela has a number of Neoclassical buildings dating from the 1800s and the attractive Parque Centro America. 

With time, other activities beckon as well. Guatemala City boasts a number of excellent museums and vibrant nightlife. The coastal town of Livingston, reached only by boat, has an interesting culture, a hybrid of Mayans and the descendants of escaped slaves known as Garifuna. And the town of Coban can be used as a base to search for the rare, resplendent Quetzal. 

Birding and Fishing Tours in Guatemala

Guatemala is one of the best birding spots on the planet, and as result there are plenty of options if you’re interested in going on a birding tour of the country. In the jungles of the country, you have the chance to see the infamous Quetzal, keel-billed toucans, and over 20 species of hummingbird. The wide swathes of coastline also mean that there are dozens of species of seabirds to see, as well.

Fishing is another a popular wildlife-based activity. With access to the Pacific and the Caribbean, there will be plenty of opportunities to charter a boat for a day on your tour, especially if you’re targeting pelagic fish. Marlin, yellowfin tuna, and dorado are all within easy reach.

Food in Guatemala

With a combined Spanish and Mexican influence on their national food, Guatemalan food is flavorful and usually not too spicy. Most dishes somehow incorporate beans, corn, tortillas, and rice. If you like stews in particular, you will love Guatemalan food.

Guatemala is famed for their delicious street food, and so you should take the opportunity to try it. This will guarantee you and authentic food experience. However, there are still some delicious restaurants for those who want to treat themselves on their vacations. There are some truly incredible steakhouses and seafood restaurants in Guatemala City, and along the coasts.

Other popular Guatemalan attractions are food related. For example, in Guatemala you can experience the unique opportunity to go to a coffee finca of macadamia nut farm. A small group tour in Guatemala might even take you to several coffee farms -- Guatemala is known for its renowned and flavorful coffees, which are considered by some to be the best in the world -- in order to get a taste for the different kinds of coffee produced by the country.

National Parks in Guatemala

Guatemala is full of natural beauty, featuring some distinct and exciting national parks to help protect these areas. The parks are often relatively small, but they serve a great purpose and provide a wealth of information for travelers eager to explore Guatemala’s incredible nature and wildlife.

1. Sipacate-Naranjo - Situated along the Pacific coastline, this national park was specifically created in effort to help protect the sea turtle population. Sea turtles use the beaches for nesting, and on of the great joys of a visit to Guatemala is witnessing the turtles in their natural habitat.

2. Biotopo del Quetzal - Spotting Guatemala’s famous national bird, the elusive and rare Quetzal, is not easy, but it might be slightly less difficult in the national park that bears its name. The surrounding cloud forest provides the perfect conditions for Quetzal spotting, and an early morning or early evening hike with an experienced guide will increase your chances.

Even if you don’t end up seeing a Quetzal the park is quite beautiful and you will certainly spot many other colorful plant and animal species.

3. El Mirador - Near the Mexican border, this Guatemalan national park contains several Mayan ruins. It’s a great place to visit for those who have already seen the famous ruins at Tikal and are looking for more Mayan history off the beaten track.

4. Naciones Unidas - Guatemala’s first national park, this area was officially designated in 1955. It’s not particularly wild, but does feature some lovely hiking trails, lakes, and vistas overlooking Guatemala City.

5. Pacaya - Fans of areas with volcanic activity will love visiting this park, which is home to an active volcano. The first eruption was 23,000 years ago, and the most recent eruption was in 2015. You can climb the volcano, or take a journey on horseback, to the summit for excellent views.

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Things to Know Before You Go

The most prominent language spoken in Guatemala is Spanish. The major cities do have English speakers but it is always a good idea to carry with you a translation book or app. It is also advised that you use the “usted” conjugation when speaking to locals as a form of respect.

Guatemala has a very diverse and expansive history that can be seen prevalently throughout the country. There are several historic Mayan sites in Guatemala, Tikal and El Mirador being the most popular. The city of Antigua exhibits Guatemala’s Spanish influence during colonial times with many of its building dating back to that era.

Ways to Travel in Guatemala 

There are a variety of ways to travel Guatemala. If you’re trying to get a genuine feel for the country, exploring Guatemala over land is probably your best bet. Guided tours take care of the hassle of figuring out navigation and let you focus on the scenery. Guatemala bus tours are generally more affordable, though it is advisable to book with a reputable group tour company for safety reasons. 

Many travelers try to get a feel for Central America by visiting Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico in tandem. Or, visit one of Guatemala’s islands, such as Antigua, on your way to the French Guadeloupe from the British Virgin Islands.

Another way to experience Guatemala’s natural beauty is to go on an eco tour. On this environmentally friendly style of tour, you're sure to see the lush greenery that surrounds the country. Lago de Atitlán is a great place to see Guatemala’s colorful shrubbery and crystal clear waters.

Guatemala also has many volcanoes, many of which are still active today. The most popular volcano to visit is the active volcano Pacaya because it is only an hour away from Antigua and is relatively easy to hike compared to the other volcanoes with a higher elevation.

Guatemala Travel Safety

There are certain safety precautions that should be taken into account when visiting Guatemala.

Before your trip, make sure you know where your country’s embassy is in case of an emergency. If you are a citizen of the United States, then you should enroll in STEP which sends you safety notifications while on your trip.

When traveling around Guatemala, always be aware of your surroundings. In the cities, especially Guatemala City, be extra careful at night. It is also advised that you refrain from traveling between destinations at night. Traveling with a tour company is always recommended to ensure your safety.

What to do in Guatemala at night?

Because of safety concerns, visitors staying outside of resorts are also concerned about what they can do safely at night. Tourists are particularly cautious about what to do in Guatemala City at night.

Zone 10 is the nightlife center of the city, though it is recommended to only take cabs called by your hotel or restaurant for getting around the city. 

All Guatemala tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.5 for all Guatemala trips.

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