20 Best Places to Visit in Guatemala

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Before we get into the list, let’s talk about what makes these places so great. Guatemala is an eclectic mix of ancient ruins, colonial architecture, and vibrant villages. With over 80% of the country covered in lush rainforest, a visit to Guatemala is a fantastic escape from modern society that still allows travelers to enjoy the comforts of home.

To help you plan your trip we’ve put together this list of 20 of the best places in Guatemala that are sure to satisfy your travel desires! Whether you’re here for adventure or sightseeing there are plenty of activities to choose from as well as some nice hot weather ahead!

1. Flores

Flores is a favorite spot for travelers in Guatemala. It’s a beautiful little town with great weather and plenty of friendly locals.

While there are many popular activities in Flores, the main attraction is the Bajamar Lakes and their amazing backdrop of mountains and ancient villages. The lake is filled with warm water, which makes for some very comfortable swimming during the summer months (when it’s not too cold!). Flores is also known for having some of the best-preserved colonial architecture in Guatemala. Some areas have been redone by artists who have gone on to win many awards, however other areas remain untouched to preserve the old world charm.

2. Tikal

The world-famous Tikal National Park is the most popular tourist attraction in all of Guatemala. Discover traces of long-lost civilizations and spectacular Mayan architecture. You will never forget your time at Tikal. While it is an excellent place to see ruins, it’s also a great eco-tourism area in its own right with lots of waterfalls and wildlife. Some popular activities include zip lining, rafting, horseback riding, and hiking through the many different trails available.

3. Coba

Coba is an excellent and fast-growing city to visit in Guatemala. The highly-rated city offers a wide variety of attractions and activities yet still maintains a small town feel for those who prefer not to be overwhelmed by the massive crowds. The city is known for its many active volcanoes, which can be seen from it’s many hills overlooking the city. Those looking to keep active can enjoy hiking or cycling through the areas surrounding Coba.

4. El Mirador

El Mirador is a popular spot in Guatemala for those who enjoy outdoor sports. El Mirador is known as the “place of the lookout” due in part to its many hills with views of the surrounding jungle and lakes. The area is also home to some of the best-preserved ruins in all of Guatemala, which are worth a visit for history buffs.

5. El Boqueron Canyon

El Boqueron Canyon is located in the department of Santa Rosa in Guatemala. Not only is it an excellent place for hiking, but it’s also a stunning natural attraction as well. The canyon offers fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean and many waterfalls galore!

6. Cahabonagre Waterfalls

The Cahabonagre Waterfalls are located in Bosque del Rio Cahabonagre Nature Reserve which is a popular spot for bird watching. This reserve provides a beautiful natural setting with spectacular views from the top of the falls.

7. Quinta Verapaz

Quinta Verapaz is a very unique and interesting area of Guatemala. It’s a popular spot for those who enjoy exploring colonial architecture. The area is also known for its fascinating villages filled with friendly locals. There are many restaurants and coffee shops in this area of Guatemala so you will never go hungry or thirsty! It’s also an excellent place for eco-tourism such as hiking and bird watching.

8. Finca Paraiso

Finca Paraiso is a paradise for nature lovers. There are many trails and biking paths available as well as plenty of water features. It’s also a great place to go horseback riding or even fishing! The cascading lake and the beautiful waterfall are just a few of the amazing sights you will see while visiting this heavenly attraction.

9. San Juan La Laguna

The beautiful San Juan La Laguna is famous for being home to 2 world-class universities that offer an incredible education at prices much lower than those in North America. This area is also known for its churches made from wood and adobe, which contribute greatly to the charming ambiance felt in this area of Guatemala.

10. Castillo de San Felipe de Lara

Castillo de San Felipe de Lara is located in the city of Antigua which is one of the most popular cities in Guatemala. It’s famous for its colonial architecture and museums, parks, shops and restaurants. There are many interesting and fun things to do in this area, including: zip-lining, rock climbing, hiking, and more!

11. Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey is a must-see attraction in Guatemala. The amazing underground caves provide a spectacular visual display with stalagmites, stalactites, and even some unique formations such as the “Christmas Tree”. One of the many reasons why Semuc Champey is such a popular place is the gorgeous setting of Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan, which lies in the distance. The lake is home to numerous lagoons and waterfalls that can be seen from afar as you tour through the underground caves.

12. Antigua

Antigua is a very popular place to visit in Guatemala. It’s the oldest city in the country and the second-largest. Due to its popularity, Antigua has become quite a tourist destination and there are many attractions surrounding it. Some of these include churches, museums, restaurants, and hotels.

13. Quetzaltenango

The city of Quetzaltenango is the second largest in Guatemala. There are many interesting things to see in this area, including exotic restaurants, beautiful architecture and plenty of friendly locals.

14. Chiquimula de la Sierra National Park

Chiquimula de la Sierra National Park is a very secluded and peaceful place to visit in Guatemala. This park is home to scenic scenery, waterfalls and the unforgettable Laguna Azul which translates to “Blue Lake”.

15. Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan is a beautiful lake in Guatemala which is home to lots of waterfalls and other spectacular natural sights. The lake is especially beautiful during the rainy seasons when the waterfalls contrast with the calmness of the lake.

16. Guatemala City

Guatemala City is the capital of Guatemala and it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Central America. There are many famous attractions in Guatemala City, such as parks, cathedrals, and museums. The city also offers a wide variety of entertainment options including music, dance and theatre. Not only that but there are also many bars, restaurants, and nightclubs to enjoy after you’re done sightseeing.

17. Chichicastenango

Chichicastenango is one of the most important towns in Guatemala. It’s well-known for its outdoor markets and festivals which have become a tourist attractions in and of themselves. You can find anything here from fresh produce to handcrafted goods.

18. Lake Izabal

Lake Izabal is located near Livingston, Guatemala where you can enjoy a wide variety of water sports such as swimming, kayaking, and sailing. The lake also offers many different options for resorts and hotels to accommodate those who prefer to spend their vacation relaxing rather than sightseeing.

19. Volcan de Pacaya

The Volcan de Pacaya is a large volcano located in Guatemala which is known for its beautiful eruption lights. The volcano is located in the department of Escuintla and can be seen from many surrounding places.

20. Iztapa

Iztapa has some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Guatemala. The area is very popular with surfers, however, it’s also great for other water-based activities such as swimming and snorkeling.

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