Guatemala is a hidden gem in Central America known for volcanic landscapes, magnificent Mayan ruins, and the vibrant spectacular cobblestone colonial city of Antigua. There are many spectacular towns and cities worth exploring including Coban, perched on top of a hill with some great accommodations boasting spectacular views. Discover the second largest city in the country, Quetzaltenango decorated with attractive historic buildings dotted around Parque Central. The country is covered with magnificent ruins including Tikal, the country`s highlight with magnificent temples set in the verdant jungle. Excellent stone artwork and ancient carvings can be seen in Copan, and El Mirador is a fascinating place to see archeologists uncover hidden gems. Soaring volcanoes can be seen all around Guatemala including Tajumulco which is the highest point in Central America offering an exhilarating climb including an overnight camp.
There are endless views offered in Santa Maria with sights as far as Mexico and Antigua out to the Pacific. The peak of Pacaya is a favorite for hikers. Laguna Magdalena boasts a tranquilizing turquoise lagoon set in the mountain ranges of Chchamatanes. The stunning coastal village of Monterrico is the place to see whales swimming in the open blue waters and maybe see a turtle or spot some interesting bird species. The Quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala and can be spotted in the cloud forest of Biotopo del Quetzal along with an abundance of other bird species. Shopping in the country`s largest and oldest market at Chichicastenango is filled with hundreds of colorful stalls, stunning souvenirs, vibrant authentic handicrafts, and delicious food. The country offers some great remote escapes and unique accommodations like yoga and wellness retreats at San Marcos La Laguna, swing in hammocks on the beach at El Paredon or go surfing, sit back at secluded jungle lodges at Rio Dulce or head to the hills above Antigua to the Earth Lodge.
Antigua is a quaint vibrant town boasting beautiful ancient cobblestone streets and colorful colonial buildings with Baroque architecture. A former capital city is known to be the best-preserved Spanish colonial city in Central America with volcanoes looming in the distance and famous for Semana Santa, a holy week full of parades and rituals. Tikal is set in the exuberant tropical rainforest of the sprawling Tikal National Park filled with massive ancient Mayan pyramids and temples. Flores is a vibrant island decorated with colorful houses lining the shore of Lake Peten Itza, it is the gateway to Tikal. Chichicastenango is a vibrant town known as `Chichi` nestled in the Guatemalan highlands surrounded by rolling valleys and soaring mountains. The delightful town features ancient cobblestone streets, red tiled roofs and one of the most fascinating outdoor markets in the country.
The tropical country of Guatemala features a wet and dry season with a generally pleasant warm climate throughout most of the year. The summer runs from November through April and is usually the dry season and the best time of year to visit. Guatemala has been labeled the `land of eternal spring` with warm days and mild nights all year round. The coast of Guatemala is hot most of the year with temperatures ranging from 72-90 degrees. The highlands and elevated cities of Antigua, Guatemala City, and Copan have cooler evenings and mornings and more of a temperate climate, at this elevation temperatures can sometimes drop to freezing. May through October is the wet season when it rains a lot at the beaches. The high season tends to run from December to March when it is winter in northern countries and the dry season in Guatemala. This is a busy time of year with sold-out accommodations, packed attractions, and beaches. The weeks of Easter and Holy Week are huge national holidays in Guatemala, Antigua when hotels sell out as quickly as a year in advance.
We recommend 7-10 days based on what you want to see and do. We offer flexible vacation packages so you can select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities. We suggest a minimum of 3 nights in larger cities.
By Bus:Some buses travel all across Guatemala offering frequent, cheap, and most of the time crowded services. The best buses for visitors/tourists are the `Pullman,` `especial` or `Primera Clase` which are more comfortable and offer a bit more luxury and sometimes offer bathrooms, tvs, and food service. The Pullman routes originate in or end in Guatemala city, the longest bus journey is from Guatemala City to Flores.
By Car: Driving in Guatemala is possible with your home country driver`s license. Roads here can be completely different from what you are used to, look out for blind curves, steep uphill climbs and narrow passes. There are not many road signs in Guatemala and turn signals are rarely used here. Hiring a private car and driver is available and probably the best means of getting around by car to the major tourist attractions in the country. Shuttle services can be booked by every hotel and many local travel agents with regularly scheduled shuttle service or private cars and drivers.
By Minibus: Minibuses are available to transport tourists to the major attractions in Guatemala, providing a quick and comfortable ride along the major routes. They cost more than buses but are much more convenient with door to door service from your hotel. Popular shuttle routes include Guatemala City airport - Antigua, Antigua - Panajachel, Panajachel - Chichicastenango, and Lanquin - Antigua.
The unit of currency in Guatemala is the quetzal. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for pounds upon arrival. Currency exchanged desks can be found at the airport and in many locations throughout the city.
The official language spoken in Guatemala is Spanish English is spoken and understood by most individuals in the service industry. We suggest you get a good English-Spanish Guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you and numbers 1-10.