10 essential places to visit in Guatemala


There are many essential places to visit in Guatemala, a small country, located in the heart of the Mayan world, perfect for any type of traveler, due to its great diversity, where you can enjoy from the adventure of climbing an active volcano to bathing in a natural pool in the middle of the jungle.
Although we must bear in mind that natural wonders are not the only attraction of this country, since these, next to the ancient Mayan ruins, the beautiful colonial cities, the lakes surrounded by volcanoes or the endless markets next to a rich gastronomy, They have become Guatemala in one of the fashion destinations in recent years.
During our trip to Guatemala and Honduras for free we visited many of its wonders and based on our experience, we have made a selection of those we believe, they are the 10 most essential places to see in Guatemala. We start!

1. Tikal

The Tikal National Park, declared a World Heritage Site, is one of the best archaeological sites in the world and one of the essential places to visit in Guatemala. Located in the middle of the jungle, it remained hidden by the jungle and abandoned by the Maya for more than 1000 years, until it was discovered in 1848 and just over an hour from Flores, this important city of the ancient Mayan civilization is formed by a multitude of temples, steles and pyramids, which we are sure, will captivate any traveler.
There are several outstanding places to visit in Tikal such as the monumental Grand Plaza that is surrounded by tall pyramids and large buildings, the Acropolis, the 57-meter-high Temple V, the Jaguar Temple and Temple IV, the perfect place to See a magnificent sunset over the jungle.

Although you can visit it in several hours, we recommend you arrive early in the afternoon to see the sunset in the park and sleep near the entrance, then you can visit the site early the next day, with few people.
Our accommodation in the park was the Tikal Inn, located a few meters from the entrance of Tikal, a perfect location, both to watch the sunset and the next day, to make the visit.
To get to Tikal, the best option is to take a transport in Flores, there are numerous private minivans that you can book in the town and come to look for you at the hotel even if you only have one day or want to know better the history of Tikal with a Expert guide in the Mayan culture is highly recommended to book this excursion in advance from Flores.

2. Antigua

The city of Antigua, a World Heritage Site, is one of our favorite cities in the world and another of the most beautiful places to see in Guatemala.
This ancient capital of Guatemala stands out for its stone streets, the beautiful pastel-colored facades of the colonial houses, the old churches and convents, and for being surrounded by three impressive volcanoes, which give it unique and unforgettable perspectives. In addition, the city has a very cozy backpacking and traveler atmosphere, in which charming coffee shops, craft shops, local markets and magnificent cuisine are mixed, perfect to satisfy the most demanding stomachs.
In addition to wandering around, something essential, some of the places you can not miss in La Antigua are the Central Square, the Cathedral of Santiago, the Convent of Santa Clara, the Convent of Santo Domingo, the Church of Carme, the Convent of the Capuchinas, the Church and Convent of la Merced, the Arco de Catalina and the Mirador del Cerro de la Cruz with stunning views of the city and its volcanoes.

A good option to learn more about the history of the city is to book this guided tour in Spanish for its most interesting places.
For the more adventurous and in good physical condition, you have the possibility to book this excursion to one of the active volcanoes of Guatemala, the Pacaya.

In Antigua we stayed at the beautiful Hotel Mesón del Valle, a highly recommended accommodation, both for its central location, as for its facilities, in addition to the friendly treatment of the staff.

San Felipe Castle in Río Dulce

10. Church of San Andrés Xecul

The picturesque church of San Andrés Xecul with a facade full of color, is the last recommendation of the list of places to visit in Guatemala. This church of Catholic origin is said to have been without parish priest for years and the locals finished the work based on their Mayan culture and tradition, making their predominant color of the facade, the mustard yellow that represents the color of corn and is the food most important of the Maya, he became the real protagonist.
In addition, its dome full of colors or the figures of angels with boots and socks, make the church unique and a great tourist attraction for this small town.

Map of places to see in Guatemala

If you feel like helping us complete the list of the 10 places to visit in Guatemala, add yours in the comments.