After ensuring a long bloody civil war, Guatemala is rising as one of the most promising tourist attracted countries. The country is famous for its distinctive and rich culture uprooted from the mixture of Spanish and indigenous culture. The biodiversity of the land and abundant natural beauty attract thousands of tourists every year in this country. In fact, tourism is one of the main source of income in this country.
Guatemala is known for its enigmatic archaeological sites, pre-Hispanic cities and it has some of the beautiful beaches in the world. The national parks and protected areas are also hard to avoid. Here are some of the most fascinating tourist attractions in Guatemala you never like to miss on your first visit. So for you, here are our top 10 best places to visit in Guatemala.
Best Places to Visit in Guatemala:
10. El Mirador
El Mirador is one of the best places to visit in Guatemala. It’s a pre-Columbian Mayan settlement. It is flourished from about the 6th century BC and deserted at the end of the 9th century. The ruins of El Mirador were discovered in 1926 but this jungle-covered remote area did not get proper attraction until 1962. Now the area is one of the best tourist attractions in Guatemala but it is not an easy journey at all and it is not recommended for faint hearted people.
Although one of the major Mayan ruins, the remote area hinders to increase the number of tourists. The car is only accessible in the village of Carmelita, relatively nearest point to the spot. And then you have to make a journey of least five days and four nights through the jungle with mosquitoes, ants and other unfriendly bugs. So you see it’s a herculean job and not for general tourists.
Named after American jurist and politician Edward Livingston, Livingston is one of Guatemala’s jewels tucked away on the Caribbean coast. It can only accessible by boat. But two ferries relentlessly in service so transportation is not a big problem here. The town is the center of the Garifuna culture. The tourists have an opportunity to get a taste the local menu and music during their visit. You even can participate in local dance Punta. The dance with an incredible beat will certainly take your breath away. It is one of the best places to visit in Guatemala.
8. Parque Central Quetzaltenango
Parque Central Quetzaltenango is one of the best places to visit in Guatemala. It is the city center and a crucial cultural hub. Located in between three massive volcanoes, it gives an extraordinary picturesque view and primitive aura to the area. The town is locally called Xela and it is also the home the local natural sulfur springs, Fuentes Georginas.
From the city, you can take a trip to explore local Mayan villages or go to the sacred lake Laguna Chicabal, situated in the cloud forest and if you get lucky, you will get the rarest chance spotting a Quetzal bird in the wild. It is one of the best tourist attractions in Guatemala.
7. Volcan Pacaya
Who would miss the chance of visiting the spectacular view of the active volcano? And Volcan Pacaya is one of the best places to visit in Guatemala to watch an active, dangerous natural beauty of nature. Situated near to Antigua, Volcán Pacaya is one of the best tourist attractions in Guatemala. It is a complex volcano and has erupted at least 23 times since 23,000 years. Its last eruption date is May 27, 2010. So it is not a very long time ago and visiting the volcano is not meant for weak hearted people
Guatemala tourist attractions, Monterrico. Located on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, Monterrico is well known for its volcanic black sand beaches and annual inundation of sea turtles. The beach is one of the top Guatemala tourist attractions. The beaches have many interesting but weird steep angles and you have to keep in mind that the beaches are too hot to walk on barefoot.
The beaches are less crowded and earn a reputation as one of the best laid-back beaches in the world. The local sea turtle conservation efforts make it one of the best places to visit in Guatemala. The mangrove swamp and Club Auto Safari Chapín are also some of the major attractions in Monterrico. Baby turtle release could be quite a fun for you.
Flores should be on top of your list to travel to Guatemala. Situated on Lake Petén Itzá, Flores’s main attraction is its vicinity to Tikal. It is the most famous Mayan ruins in Guatemala. It was the last independent Mayan city held out against the Spanish defeaters. Previously known as Tayasal, the city island was flourished in the 9th century. Flores is a tranquil place and with a complete flavor of Guatemala culture. Filled with colonial, red-roofed buildings and narrow cobblestone streets give the town a mystic view and make it one of the best places to visit in Guatemala.
4. Chichicastenango Market
Familiar for its traditional K’iche’ Maya culture, Chichicastenango Market is one of the best places to visit in Guatemala. It is the best shopping place in Guatemala and most importantly the market will offer you something that you will not find elsewhere in the world. Shortly named as “Chichi”, it is the most common place to visit to travel in Guatemala. The main attraction of the market is a huge collection of local fabrics, clothing, textiles, masks, wood-crafted items and pottery.
The market represents the unique and rich culture of the native people of America. The items in the market are so fascinating that the travelers often have to compromise with their budgets. The town has also held a festive look always.
3. Santa Catalina Arch
Once the capital city of Guatemala, Antigua is now known for its old-world style Spanish architecture by way of palaces, cathedrals, universities, and hermitages. It is one of the best places to visit in Guatemala. The city was abandoned when a massive earthquake almost destroyed the city. Instead of flourishing further, the city stands for showing the picture of the world to its visitors. Antigua is truly a gem to Guatemala. The Santa Catalina Arch in Antigua is the main attraction in Guatemala tourism. It is declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
2. Lago de Atitlan
Located on the Western Highlands of Guatemala, Lago de Atitlan is often considered the most beautiful lake in the world. It is needless to say why it is the best places to visit in Guatemala? It is a volcanic lake and the deepest lake in Central America. The scenic beauty of the lake is beyond description. Maya culture is still influential in this area. The lake has a deep impact on the nearby town and regarded as a serene meditation place.
There are a lot of thrilling things you can do on your journey to Lago de Atitlan. Hiking, volcano tour, bike tour, coffee tour, bird watching tour, tour in the villages, kayak adventure, cultural tour by village around the lake are some of the best things to do in Lago de Atitlan. It takes an important role in Guatemala tourism.
Tikal is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Guatemala. Tikal was one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. It is also one of the largest archaeological sites of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. Tikal means “at the waterhole“. The city is built on limestone. Situated in northern Guatemala, the site is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The city ruin is surrounded by Tikal National Park, a large wildlife preserve. Nearly two days are required to explore the park. It is an important place for Guatemala tourism.