The nation of Guatemala is so beautiful, which makes it tempting to want to see everything the country has to offer during your Guatemala vacation. This is possible, but maybe not in the span of a single trip. Guess you'll have to visit the country more than once! In the meantime, you can visit three to four destinations in a 7-10 day period, and have an entirely different experience in each of them. Whether you're looking to play in nature in Panajachel or want to explore the country's cultural dimensions in Quetzaltenango, you're guaranteed to find something you like on this list of destinations.
Guatemala is big and has a varied landscape that includes the mountains of Sololá, volcanoes in Santa Cruz La Laguna, the jungles of Baja Verapaz, the famous Lake Atitlán, and the beaches of Lívingston. This is nice for you, because this impressive variety is sure to keep you from getting bored during your vacation in Guatemala. Although, you have to search for boredom in here. One minute, you're trekking through Tikal, the next, you're dining in Antigua. When you find yourself in the great outdoors, you can go mountain biking, birdwatching, explore ruins, shop, fish...the list goes on.
The following destinations are arranged into categories that will help you decide where to go. You decide how much fun you'll have (Spoiler Alert it's bound to be a lot)!
Frequently asked questions
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- Are Guatemala's parks and reserves well developed?
Guatemala's national parks and nature reserves are fairly well developed. More popular parks, like Tikal, tend to have better facilities than lesser-known parks.All parks will have a basic ranger station where you can talk to a park ranger, check out maps, and learn about the park. All parks also have restrooms.
Most parks have trails with signs and picnic tables. Do note, however, that remote parks may have poorly signed trails, so be careful when you're exploring these places. For this reason we recommend using a guide when visiting a park or reserve.
- Where Are Guatemala's Airports?
Guatemala’s main international airport is the La Aurora International Airport (GUA), which is located in Guatemala City. This airport recieves international flights from around the world.There is one other international airport in Guatemala. The Mundo Maya International Airport (FRS) is located in Flores and serves the northern department of Petén. This airport recieves flights from Guatemala City, Cancún, and Belize City.
- Can I expect to see wildlife in Guatemala?
Yes. Guatemala has an incredible amount of biodiversity. In fact, fourteen of the 38 Holdridge Life Zones are found here.What will you see? That depends on where you go and what time of year it is. In general, you have a great chance of spotting a range of birds. Guatemala is home to over 700 different species of birds, the most spectacular of which are the resplendent quetzal and Petén ocellated turkey. A number of large cats also live here, including the jaguar, jaguarundi, puma and margay, although you'll need loads of luck to spot one of these ellusive critters.
Monkeys are often seen in Guatemala. You might hear the cry of howler monkeys or see spider monkeys playing in the trees. Smaller animals are often easy to spot, including white-nosed coatis and kinkajous.
Finally, there are lots of reptiles and amphibians in Guatemala. These include crocodiles and the red-eyed tree frog. It's especially important to be on the lookout for snakes whe you're hiking, as there are a number of deadly snakes that live in Guatemala. These include fer-de-lances, coral snakes, and tropical ratlesnakes.
- Are national parks and reserves safe in Guatemala?
For the most part, Guatemala’s national parks and reserves are safe. Larger animals like jaguars keep clear of people. Snakes and spiders can be dangerous and present, but if you're smart about where you walk you should be fine. Stay on trails and be careful around piles of leaves or rocks.Mosquitos can be pesky in the jungle and also transmit disease. For this reason, when you visit a national park or reserve it's important to wear insect repellent and long sleeves/pants if possible.