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Want to visit a country brimming with tropical vibes, rich culture, and outdoorsy wonders? Guatemala will give you the Pacific Ocean, lakes, volcanoes, jungles, national parks, and vibrant markets. But that's not all intoxicating the visitors setting foot in this country, wedged between Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. Guatemala also crumbles with ancient Mayan history and delicious homegrown coffee. Whether seeking intrepid expeditions or a simple beach-lounging vacation, Guatemala will win you over with its colourful and memorable culture and storied history. You hooked? Read on to find out more about this charming Central American country!
Things to know before visiting Guatemala
Prepping for your trip to Guatemala is essential before mindlessly tossing items into your suitcase and booking a flight. Travelling to the tropics typically means heightened diseases, thanks to the heat and mosquitoes, among other things. Find out important pieces to know before visiting Guatemala below:
Make sure your vaccines are up to date! You will likely also need yellow fever, typhoid, MMR, hepatitis A and B, tetanus, diphtheria, influenza, and rabies. Double-check with your health care provider before you go.
Bring sunscreen and other forms of heat protection.
You cannot drink tap water, so prepare to buy bottled water.
Bring extra feminine hygiene products along, especially if you're exploring outside Guatemala City.
Bring bug spray! You may not have to worry about malaria in places below 1500m, such as Guatemala City, Lake Atitlan, and Antigua, but other areas may have a higher risk. It is always good to protect yourself as much as possible.
Brush up on common Spanish phrases before hopping on a plane!
The best time to visit Guatemala
The best time to visit Guatemala is from November to April in the dry season. If you can't make it during this time, no worries! The rainy season is never too intense, just a few hours of rain in the afternoon.
Things to do in Guatemala
Explore diverse scenery in Guatemala, all while catching a glimpse of the country's fascinating, fun culture. So what should you do in Guatemala? Check out some options below:
Check out the Mayan Ruins at Tikal National Park
Hike Acatenango Volcano and camp under the stars
Swim in Lake Atitlán (find out which spots are safer to swim in before taking a dip)
Meander the sights and soak up the culture in Antigua
Explore Pacaya Volcano
Visit the remote Chichicastenango market
Access Semuc Champney, bright blue pools flanked by limestone in the jungle, via ATV or hike
Hit up the Caribbean coast in the charming beach town of Livingston
These are just some things to help sketch what Guatemala has to offer!
Getting around Guatemala is part of the overall adventure!
The main form of public transportation is the bus. You can take a chicken, a revamped school bus or a "higher" class bus. Don't expect a toilet, TVS, and total comfort on every "first-class" bus, though. Chicken buses tend to be crowded and hot, so mentally prepare yourself for a squishy, memorable experience.
If you're going more remote, a chicken bus might be your only option, as the comfier buses only drive the main highways. The driver will also grab your bag and tie it to the bus's roof, if you happen to be travelling with a larger pack.
Uber also recently came to Guatemala!
Tours in Guatemala
Want to explore Guatemala but don't feel like researching every nitty-gritty detail? One of the tours below might suit your vacation style:
5-Day Guatemala Multisport Tour: Why go to Guatemala for one adventure when you can maximize your time and squeeze in multiple activities and sights in five days? Bike the Acatenango Volcano, meander the vibrant streets of Antigua, and kayak Lake Atitlan.
Hidden Wonders of Guatemala Family Tour: Spend seven days exploring Guatemala's secret gems, where a gold pot of culture, adventure, and attractions will shower you with a wealth of entertainment.
8-Day Guatemala Multisport Tour: Feel adrenaline spike on the fast-paced, exciting 8-Day Guatemala Multisport Tour! You'll spend most of your time outdoors on this guided tour: hiking, kayaking, biking, or camping.
Best of Guatemala in One Week: Have you ever wondered what Guatemala offers? Why not book the Best of Guatemala in One Week for a quick deep dive into its stunning gems? Enjoy exploring the outdoor wonders in and around Antigua before flying to Tikal National Park to walk amongst Mayan ruins.
Is something about Guatemala catching your eye? How about neighbouring Nicaragua or Costa Rica? If you feel like making Central America the focal point of your next global adventure, be sure to reach out and one of our adventure travel specialists will happily answer all of your questions!