If you're going to travel abroad, you don't want to see some of a new country, you want to see all of it — you want the most authentic experience possible. Well, the only way to see what other travellers miss is to go where they don't. Discover Guatemala off the beaten path, and see amazing sites low on tourism but big on adventure. Guatemala is a sizeable country with diverse terrain, which offers you plenty of lesser-visited places to explore.
Trek through deserted Mayan ruins in Guatemala in Yaxchilán; explore rugged rainforest paths near Río Dulce, Fronteras; and get to know the Guatemala's people in small highland communities. Unique places in Guatemala offer authentic backdrops of both the cultural and environmental variety. Though these destinations are often in more isolated, harder to reach parts of the country, what they lack in deluxe amenities they more than make up for in adventure.
If you consider yourself an open-minded traveller with an adventurous streak, then this is the most unique Guatemala vacation you can possibly plan. It's waiting for you, all you have to do is explore Guatemala off the beaten path.
#1: Lake Izabal
Lake Izabal is an enormous lake that has plenty of space for guests to spread out. This natural destination is somewhat underdeveloped, leaving lots of hidden gems for you to discover. Visitors leave from Lake Izabal for tours of the Río Dulce, which offers incredible sightseeing. You can easily find hotel rooms that have views of the river — maybe even a bungalow that’s right on top of the water.
Along the banks of the river, you’ll see ruins of colonial Spanish fortresses, like El Castillo de San Felipe. A boating tour of the San Felipe River brings you to the Caribbean town of Livingston. You might also set sail for coastal attractions like Playa Blanca and the Siete Altares, a series of seven pools connected by small waterfalls. For more waterfall bliss, head to sites like Finca Paraíso, which has a warm cascade for scenic swims.
Not far from the river, you can explore the Bocas del Polochic Wildlife Preserve and immerse yourself in the rare environments of wetlands and flooded forests. The Chocón Machacas Biotope is home to one of Guatemala’s most endangered species — the manatee, a slow-moving, potato-shaped animal that occasionally raises its head from the water to munch on vegetation.
#2: El Remate
El Remate is a remote town on the eastern shore of Lake Petén Itza. Here you can fill your days with afternoons spent swimming, hiking, and kayaking.
Because of the remote location, this is a good place for birdwatching. At reserves like Biotopo Cerro Cahuí, you'll have the chance to see parrots, trogons, toucans, and ocellated turkeys.