If your looking to immerse yourself in the Spanish culture and spend some time in low tourist areas; then Guatemala is the place for you! This beautiful Central American country is full of old architecture, huge adventures and very little English. Keep reading for the best things to do in Guatemala!
Summit Acatenango Volcano
Completing this overnight expedition is one of the most thrilling and challenging things to do in Guatemala. I`ll be honest with you.. this hike is not for the faint of heart. Picture hours of climbing up steep shale pathways in 30 degree heat. For every step forward you take you will slide back almost half the distance.
The first day ends with spectacular views of Fuego Volcano erupting right in front of your camp site. At 4 AM the next morning you begin by racing the sun to the summit of Acatenango. After climbing to an elevation of 3976 m you will be rewarded with views of Mount Fuego spitting fire right beside you. You`ll stay to watch the sun rise in the horizon with a panoramic view of Guatemala.
Swim at Semuc Champey
Semuc Champey is a series of stepped, turquoise pools located in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle. You can take day trips here from Lanquin including a hike, free time in the pools and a guided trip through the nearby cave. Although somewhat out of the way; Semuc Champey is 100% worth it when deciding on the best things to do in Guatemala.
Visit Lake Atitlan
Lake Atitlan is a gorgeous lake located in a huge volcanic crater. Only a few hours drive from Antigua, shuttles run multiple times per day. Said to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world; it is surrounded by several small villages and towns all offering different vibes and activities. Some highlights include chocolate factories, fabric weaving workshops, hiking, kayaking and even high altitude scuba diving!
Related Post: La Fortuna at Atitlan: Stunning Eco Hotel in Guatemala
Stay in Antigua
Antigua is the former capital of Guatemala and one of my favorite places in the entire country! The colorful old buildings, views of the surrounding volcanoes, and the diverse culinary scene make this city unlike anywhere I`ve ever been. Because of the of old architecture and great food; it`s very popular to stay here for a week or two while taking a Spanish class!
Related Post: 10 Awesome Things to do in Antigua
Tikal is the largest Mayan Ruins site in all of Central America. The structures are incredible and the local guides are very knowledgeable. The best place to stay for a tour is in Flores; which is located in the northern part of Guatemala. You really only need 2 days to see the ruins and Flores before heading south! Heads up: Flores is known for having more scams than anywhere else in the country; so be cautious when booking tours or buses.
Stay At La Fortuna
La Fortuna at Atitlan is a spectacular eco hotel located in a private cove on Lake Atitlan. This stunning property boasts 5 unique luxury bungalows set amidst a secluded waterfront cove! Enjoy the serenity as well as the convenience of a private dock allowing easy access to anywhere on the lake. La Fortuna at Atitlan is the perfect place for a romantic getaway or to treat yourself to some affordable luxury.
Eat Your Body Weight in Chocolate!
Since chocolate is one of is Guatemala’s main exports; they have chocolate factories in almost every town you will pass through. It`s really interesting learning about the process and they usually have free samples (score!). My favorite chocolate shop in Antigua is Pachamama where they sell a variety of homemade chocolate, teas, and coffee! The Chocolate Museum in Antigua also has a free chocolate tour, a number of workshops, and tons of great chocolate products to purchase.