About Guatemala

WHY VISIT?

Guatemala is a fascinating country, where you can explore ancient Mayan temples, colonial cities, rugged mountains, and dense jungles. It’s a backpacker’s paradise, as prices are low and travel is relatively easy to coordinate. Most people who visit end up loving the country more than they expect, perhaps due to the laid back, culturally-rich lifestyle paired with an abundance of natural wonders.

BUCKET LIST ADVENTURES

In Guatemala

1. Visit the Mayan Ruins at Tikal

Tikal is home to one of the most impressive archeological sites in the world, an ancient Mayan city that’s one of the largest of its kind. As you wander from temple to temple, you’ll learn how the city was once interconnected with a sprawling Mayan community, over a thousand years ago in a world that remains largely buried. If you’re up for even more adventure after Tikal, you can head to Semuc Champey to bathe in its turquoise cascading pools. It’s a good 10 hours by bus, but this is relatively close compared to other major attractions in Guatemala.

2. Climb a volcano near Antigua

Most travel itineraries for Guatemala will feature Antigua, a classic colonial town with cobblestone streets and colorful storefronts. While the city itself is well-worth visiting, the real treasures can be seen on the horizon – four conical volcanoes known as Agua (12,355 ft), Acatenango (13,040 ft), Fuego (12,346), and Pacaya (8,373 ft). Of these, Pacaya and Acatenango are the most popular to climb, the first because its relatively easy and the second for its beautiful views.

3. Trek to the best views of Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan is a unique place where Bohemian and traditional Mayan communities co-exist. It’s also a place of extraordinary natural beauty, as can be best witnessed from Indian Nose Mountain (Nariz del Indio). It’s a steep, multi-hour journey to hike up Indian Nose, but you’ll have the reward of panoramic views of the lake and its surrounding peaks. Trekking to the summit is particularly breathtaking at sunrise, when you’ll often be climbing above low clouds.

4. Rock climb on Cerro Quemado

Cerro Quemado has some of the best climbing in Guatemala with a range of bolted routes and bouldering opportunities. It’s located in Quetzaltenango (a.k.a. Xela), Guatemala’s second largest city. While many tourists skip over Xela, it’s a great place to take Spanish lessons while having access to top-notch hiking and climbing areas.

5. Join a lakeside yoga session

Lake Atitlan is famous for its New Age culture, as best shown through its wide range of yoga and other workshop offerings. The teachers there well-trained and creative, and most studios have sweeping lake views. It’s the perfect place to gain some perspective and much-needed serenity.

UNIQUE EVENTS

You Won't Want to Miss

Cosmic Convergence Festival

The Cosmic Convergence Festival is a celebration of conscious living and Mayan culture, set on the shore of Lake Atitlan. It’s a relatively small festival with only a few thousand participants, but that means you’ll have a better chance to mingle and get to know people, since you’ll see the same people over and over again.

Empire Music Festival

Empire Music Festival is one of the biggest music festivals in Central America. It features an impressive, mixed-genre line up each year, as well as Mayan-themed mega stages. Among the many world-class artists that have headlined EMF are Alesso, Zedd, Incubus, Claptone, and Marshmello.

When to Go

Climate

Tropical climate with wet and dry seasons, though the weather is pleasant year-round. Even in the wet season, showers are short – lasting only a few hours. But if you are planning a trip to multiple countries in Central America, know that the wet season can be more disruptive in countries like Costa Rica and Belize.

By Month

January

Peak travel season. Pleasant and dry.

February

Peak travel season. Pleasant and dry.

March

Peak travel season. Pleasant and dry.

April

Peak travel season. Hot and dry.

May

Shoulder season. Hot with increasing rains.

June

Wet season.

July

Wet season.

August

Wet season.

September

Wet season. Intense rains in other parts of Central America.

October

Wet season. Intense rains in other parts of Central America.

November

Peak travel season. Pleasant and dry.

December

Peak travel season. Pleasant and dry.

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