Things to do in Guatemala (1)
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Things To Do in Guatemala Top Activities and Hidden Gems

Visit the heart of the Mayan world and explore the rich heritage and culture, of Guatemala. This diverse Central American country has breathtaking landscapes, towering volcanoes, ancient ruins, and pristine lakes. in this blog you expect Top Things To Do in Guatemala that covers top activities and hidden gems in Guatemala.

Guatemala is a fusion of Mayan heritage, Spanish colonial history, and modernity. Bustling with lively markets, vibrant textiles, scrumptious cuisine, and visually stunning artwork, your experience in this country will be truly exceptional.

History of Guatemala

Ancient roots and Spanish colonization have shaped the country’s historical trajectory. Once known as the heart of the Mayan Civilization, Guatemala is a cultural hub with a significant historical legacy. The amazing architecture, intriguing art, and advanced knowledge of astronomy and mathematics made the Mayans a thriving civilization.

Post the rise and fall of the Mayan civilization, the land was colonized by the Spanish empire led by Pedro de Alvarado in the 16th Century. The colonization led to the exploitation of indigenous labor, the imposition of Catholicism, and the establishment of haciendas.

This led to the struggle for independence in the 19th century. Guatemala declared independence from Spanish Colonizers in 1821 and in 1823 joined the United Provinces of Central America.

Top 10 Things to Do in Guatemala

Discover an array of experiences with these 10 things to do in Guatemala, from exploring ancient ruins and vibrant markets to trekking through lush rainforests and relaxing on pristine beaches.

Acatenango Volcano

Arenal Volcano

Adventure-seekers should definitely visit the Acatenango Volcano. The 13,045-foot-tall majestic volcano undoubtedly promises a distinctive experience. The hike to its summit is a blend of green canopy, rugged terrain, and volcanic ash fields. As you journey towards the summit, you might come across unique flora and fauna along the way.

Don’t forget your camera! Upon reaching the summit, the panoramic and breathtaking view will leave you speechless. You can camp near the summit to stay overnight and enjoy the mesmerizing view of the stars. While staying at the summit, you may occasionally witness the eruptions of Fuego Volcano. The bright shades of red lava explosions in the darkness of the night make your stay memorable. Acatenango Volcano is one of the best Things To Do in Guatemala.


Mercado de Artesanías Antigua Guatemala (1)

Welcome to Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage site displaying the beautiful Spanish Colonial architecture. With a variety of activities to do and places to explore, this city is a treasure trove waiting to be explored by eager travelers.

Delve into the history of Spanish Colonization with colonial architecture, the Antigua Guatemala Cathedral, and church ruins. With museums and art galleries explore the rich history and culture of Guatemala.

Want to spend a relaxing and fun-filled day? Visit the Choco Museo and explore the art of chocolate making! Indulge your taste buds with a tantalizing array of chocolate-infused treats at the museum’s café.

Savor rich hot chocolates, decadent desserts, and artisanal chocolate creations made with the finest cacao sourced directly from local farmers. Coffee aficionados can take tours of coffee farms and cacao plantations. From hiking up the volcanoes to taking a bus tour, this city offers a wide range of activities for you!

Iximche Ruins

Iximche Ruins

Take a trip through time with Iximche Ruins. The echoes of ancient ceremonies and rituals still resonate in the atmosphere as it was a thriving ceremonial center and capital of the Kaqchikel Maya civilization. The stone structures and the carvings showcase the craftsmanship of the Mayans.

You can take a guided tour to understand the ancient customs, beliefs, and practices and learn more about the sacred ball game, the rituals of bloodletting, and the astronomical observations that guided Mayan calendar systems.

Iximche isn’t just a historical site telling the takes of the past. It is an active place for indigenous people to celebrate Mayan rituals. Ultimately, whether you’re a history fanatic or a cultural explorer, Iximche undoubtedly offers a memorable and unique experience.

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlán

Heed the call of nature’s embrace. Surrounding dormant volcanoes and Mayan villages like Panajachel, San Pedra, and San Juan, this lake is revered as one of the world’s most beautiful lakes and the largest and deepest in Central America. It is a cultural tapestry waiting to be explored. Immerse yourself in the serenity of the lake as you set sail across its glistening surface.

Adrenaline junkies can go hiking through the lush forest and hidden waterfalls or go kayaking and canoeing. End your day with the vibrant nightlife of the lakeside villages and enjoy some delicious cuisines. Savor traditional Mayan dishes made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and toast to new friendships forged amidst the beauty of Lake Atitlán.

Lanquin Caves

Lanquin Caves

The limestone caverns filled with fascinating rock formations, underground rivers, and lagoons are a must-visit for every thrill-seeker. The rough path with wooden bridges, stairways, and rope ladders makes a unique cave exploration experience.

Moreover, the Lanquin Caves offer more than just natural beauty. These are sacred to local Mayans and believed to be passages to the underworld. Locals actively use these caves for ceremonies.

There are ancient petroglyphs and ceremonial artifacts in the caves depicting the spiritual beliefs and practices of the people. In short, these caves are a gateway to the past and culture along with the quest for adventures for curious travelers. Lanquin Caves is one of the best Things To Do in Guatemala for family, friends and love birds.

Pacaya Volcano

Pacaya Volcano

Located near Antigua, this 8200-foot-tall volcano calls out to every daredevil out there. Towering over the bountiful greenery, Pacaya Volcano provides panoramic views of the countryside and forests. The constant lava explosions, trembling ground, and molten lava flowing in streams provide a spine-tingling adventure.

Wilderness explorers, trap your best hiking boots as this expedition will take you through the rugged terrains, molten lava, and cloud forests. Keep your eyes peeled for exotic birds, playful monkeys, and elusive jaguars as you explore this wild and untamed landscape.

With an array of things to do be it observing volcanic activities or nature strolling or just enjoying roasting marshmallows over the heat emanating from the hot spots, Pacaya Volcano is one of the must-visit places in Guatemala. Book your ticket to experience Pacaya Volcano from here.


Tikal National Park Guatemala (1)

Welcome to Guatemala’s crown jewel of Mayan civilization, Tikal. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this site is the largest and best-preserved Mayan city in the world. This ancient marvel is located within the lush greenery of Guatemala. Tikal, formerly known as Yax Mutal, was a major political and economic hub in the 4th Century BC. Tikal houses 3000 ancient structures including pyramids, temples, plazas, and an Acropolis.

Travel back in time with the ancient ruins and explore the rich history and culture of the Maya Civilization. Admire the imposing structures that dominate the skyline, including the iconic Temple of the Great Jaguar, the towering Temple of the Masks, and the majestic Temple of the Double-headed Serpent.

Keep your eyes peeled for colorful toucans, elusive jaguars, and playful howler monkeys as you explore the dense jungle that surrounds the ancient ruins. With an ancient ruin site between the lush green forest, this site definitely gives off a mystical vibe and makes your experience otherworldly. You can book your tickets to visit Tikal from the official site.

Yaxha National Park

Yaxha National Park

A perfect blend of history and biodiversity, this national park houses a sprawling complex of Maya ruins dating back over 1,300 years including pyramids, royal palaces, and ceremonial plazas. Surrounding the monument is a lush forest with exotic birds and howler monkeys.

Embark on guided hikes along scenic trails, winding through dense tropical forests and past tranquil lagoons. Keep your eyes peeled for elusive jaguars, colorful toucans, and vibrant butterflies inhabiting this biodiverse paradise.

Nature enthusiasts will love the camping opportunities within the park that provide the opportunity to experience nature, admire the night sky, and let the music of the wilderness serenade your senses. In other words, this park will certainly provide an unforgettable journey into the heart of Guatemala’s cultural and natural heritage. You can book tour packages to Yaxha National Park from here.

Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey Natural Monument (1)

Say hello to the remote paradise of Guatemala, Semuc Champey. This natural monument features a stunning river and jungle landscape. Nestled within the confines of the Alta Verapaz region, Semuc Champey is a true testament to the raw power and beauty of Mother Nature.

The Cahabon River flowing under the limestone bridge creates several turquoise-colored natural pools in rice terrace style along the way. The main attraction of Semuc Champey is its series of tiered limestone pools, which are perfect for swimming, wading, and relaxation. Dip your toes into the cool, refreshing waters and feel the stresses of everyday life melt away as you immerse yourself in nature’s embrace.

Want to experience Semuc Champey? If you’re up for it, there are two options available. You can either hike to the El Mirador viewpoint or alternatively, you can hike down to the river and swim in the pools.



Known by its indigenous name, Quetzaltenango, or simply “Xela” for short, this vibrant city offers a rich tapestry of culture, history, and natural beauty waiting to be explored. Walking through the cobblestone streets you can see the colonial-era architecture, colorful markets, and bustling plazas.

Take a look at the neoclassical cathedral, Plaza Mayor, and the historic Municipal Theater a testament to Xela’s rich colonial heritage. Exploring the Mayan art and attending cultural events and workshops is one of the things that you can do in Xela in Guatemala.

Also, you can trek to the Santa Maria volcano to view the picturesque landscape or soak in the rejuvenating waters of the Fuentes Georginas hot springs nestled in the nearby mountains. Whether you are drawn to the history or the natural beauty, Xela in Guatemala definitely provides an exciting experience and has various things to do while you are there.

Best Time to Visit Guatemala

The dry season, from November to April, is considered the best time to visit Guatemala. The days are sunny with low humidity and minimal rainfall, making it ideal for outdoor activities.

Famous Food in Guatemala

Savor the delectable local cuisine in Guatemala. Although some have been a staple Mayan meal, others have been introduced more recently. Try the hearty stew, Pepián, made with chicken, beef, or pork, simmered in a rich sauce made from tomatoes, peppers, onions, and spices. Kak’ik is a traditional Mayan turkey soup flavored with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and a blend of aromatic spices.

Fiambre is a colorful and elaborate salad made with a variety of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and pickled ingredients. It’s traditionally prepared for All Saints’ Day and served cold as a main dish. Indulge your sweet tooth cravings with Rellenitos; these sweet plantain fritters, stuffed with black beans and fried until golden brown, are sure to satisfy.

Famous Drinks in Guatemala

To quench your thirst, try Atol de Elote a warm, creamy beverage made from corn, milk, sugar, and cinnamon. For cold weather, people make Chilate, a traditional hot beverage, using roasted cacao beans, corn masa (dough), cinnamon, and other spices. Locals make Rosa de Jamaica, a vibrant red beverage, by steeping dried hibiscus flowers in water and sweetening them with sugar.

How to Reach Guatemala

You can reach Guatemala by air, land, sea, and private vehicle. The main international gateway to Guatemala is La Aurora International Airport (GUA) located in Guatemala City, the capital.

Many major airlines operate flights to and from Guatemala City, connecting it to cities across North America, Central America, South America, and Europe. When traveling from neighboring countries, you can opt for international bus services operating between Guatemala and neighboring countries, providing a convenient and affordable overland travel option.

If you want to travel by sea, then cruise ships are your best option. Puerto Quetzal, located on Guatemala’s Pacific coast, is the country’s main cruise ship port and receives cruise ships from various destinations in North America and South America.

For Central Americans and Mexicans, you can travel to Guatemala by private vehicle. The Pan-American Highway runs through Guatemala, providing road access from countries to the north and south. Before embarking on your journey, do ensure to check border crossing requirements, road conditions, and travel advisories.

Guatemala is a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural marvels. The intriguing ancient ruins, vibrant markets, and warm hospitality of the locals promise an unforgettable experience for its visitors. Therefore, get ready for the incredible adventure in Guatemala.

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