Insight /

Guatemala

Cool Guatemala

We’re shining a spotlight on Central America’s coolest country.

The lowdown

  • When To Go:

    Although technically the wet season runs from May to October and the dry from November to April, it is possible to enjoy Guatemala’s temperate climate year-round.

  • How To Get There:

    With no direct flights to Guatemala, we recommend flying via a European or US hub.

  • Who For:

    This is a destination that appeals to a wide range of traveller – from curious couples to adventurous families.

The birthplace of the Maya civilisation, Guatemala is still unearthing ancient ruins from dense jungle while its cities buzz with culture, volcanic lakes glimmer, rivers dissect dense rainforest and Maya villages rub alongside colonial charm.

Read on for Guatemala’s hotspots which can be woven together for the ultimate itinerary in this Central American jewel.

    Caribbean Beaches and Rainforest Rivers

    With a distinct Caribbean flavour, Livingston is found on the Guatemala coastline, a mellow fishing enclave populated by the Carib-Afro Garífuna people. In Livingston, sample unique coconut-infused cuisine and hang out on Guatemala’s best beach: Playa Blanca. Access to Livingston is only by water and travelling along the River Dulce allows you to see an unspoiled part of Guatemala’s riverways. Drift past high walls of dense foliage, carpets of water lilies, deep-rooted mangroves, riverside villages and an incredible number of birdlife.

    Hidden Temples Draped in Jungle

    Amazingly, Maya archaeological sites are still being discovered in Guatemalan forests, and even established sites like Tikal and Yaxhá look like they’re only just emerging from the jungle. Yaxhá has a lesser-seen twin pyramid complex and climbing Temple 216 at a lofty 37-metres affords a mesmerising view of neighbouring pyramids poking through the jungle canopy. Finish your day on a boat trip on the shimmering lagoon watching the sun set over the atmospheric ruins. Tikal has over 3,000 structures that rise up from the rainforest floor of this ancient city that thrived from the 6th century BC to the 10th century AD. With a mysterious atmosphere, where monkeys crash in the treetops, the impressive, towering Temple of the Jaguar is the place to sit and muse on the wonder of the ancient Maya civilization.

    Volcanic Lakes and Maya Villages

    Surrounded by three dormant volcanoes, Lake Atitlán and its sparkling waters is one of Guatemala’s prettiest spots. The lake’s verdant shores are home to a variety of Maya villages, each with its own colour and character from the local T’zutujil and Kaqchiquel Maya people. Experience Lake Atitlán in a variety of ways. On the water, enjoy a tranquil kayak, watching fishermen in canoes haul their catch or take a boat ride to visit the ceramic arts of San Antonio Palopo village or San Juan’s natural dyes and handwoven textiles. Hike the trail to the village of Jaibalito which offers stunning panoramas of the lake and the soaring volcanoes. Or simply swing in a hammock at the water’s edge and soak it all in

    Colonial Charm & Colour

    Colourful Antigua is a reminder of Guatemala’s colonial past. Small and easy to explore, its charming, cobbled streets and pastel-hued houses lead to impressive plazas, churches, monasteries, museums and a cathedral. Once an important city for the Spanish Empire, today Antigua buzzes with café-culture where you can enjoy a coffee in the presence of lofty colonial buildings in every direction. Antigua is excellent for curio shopping too, with markets selling handcrafted jade jewellery, colourful tunics and Maya weaving.

    Like what you read? Call us and allow us to craft your perfect itinerary in Guatemala.

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