Overview Guatemala

Visiting Guatemala

Nestled between Mexico to the north and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast, Guatemala boasts an incredible history and amazing biodiversity, making it a great vacation destination for archaeology buffs and outdoor lovers alike.

While its history of human occupation reaches back past 12,000 B.C., it’s Guatemala’s Mayan history that remains its biggest draw. Legendary sites like Tikal, Yaxha and Quirigua all boast a host of monuments, shrines, ballcourts and statues, with many sites still awaiting excavation from a millennia of overgrowth and neglect.

Guatemala’s mountainous and hilly terrain has led to some of its most beautiful natural features. The natural limestone bridge of Semuc Champey is a popular destination for tourists who come to swim in the stepped turquoise pools atop the bridge. The active... Read More
Nestled between Mexico to the north and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast, Guatemala boasts an incredible history and amazing biodiversity, making it a great vacation destination for archaeology buffs and outdoor lovers alike.

While its history of human occupation reaches back past 12,000 B.C., it’s Guatemala’s Mayan history that remains its biggest draw. Legendary sites like Tikal, Yaxha and Quirigua all boast a host of monuments, shrines, ballcourts and statues, with many sites still awaiting excavation from a millennia of overgrowth and neglect.

Guatemala’s mountainous and hilly terrain has led to some of its most beautiful natural features. The natural limestone bridge of Semuc Champey is a popular destination for tourists who come to swim in the stepped turquoise pools atop the bridge. The active volcano of Pacaya is another popular feature, though after a recent eruption in May, 2010, hiking and climbing access to Pacaya may become more restricted.

So whether you’re a first-timer or a frequent visitor, a business traveler or a budget explorer, IgoUgo has all the travel-planning tools and resources you need to create a memorable vacation. Read traveler reviews of the top hotels, restaurants, and things to do, browse amazing photos; ask for advice in our friendly travel forums; and find cheap Guatemala flights and hotels. Then, after your trip is over, share your travel reviews, tips, and photos with friends and fellow travelers right here on IgoUgo.    Close

Stories and Tips Guatemala

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Even More Ruins

Written by Andariega on 22 Aug, 2005

These ruins are within a few blocks of each other, northwest of the plaza. Santa Catarina Past Also known as Santa Catalina, this convent was built in 1609 to address a lack of housing for local nuns. In 1693, an arch was built over the street, connecting the…Read More


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Nearby Villages

Written by Andariega on 20 Aug, 2005

Planning to visit the Valhalla Macadamia Farm, we decided to make a morning of it and see some nearby villages. Although we went first to the farm, backtracked to Ciudad Vieja, turned around again to San Antonio Aguas Calientes, on to Santa Catarina Barahona and…Read More


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Neighboring Towns

Written by Andariega on 10 Mar, 2005

We made various trips to neighboring towns from Panajachel. Our last day there we were planning to take the lancha (boat) to some of the lakeside communities not accessible by car, but unfortunately, a nasty wind (xocomil) kicked up and the few boats still operating…Read More


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Tips for Co-existing with the Mayans

Written by evilchris on 11 Sep, 2004

Like most travelers on la ruta maya, the colors and pageantry that I associated with the Mayan culture and its history compelled me to make Guatemala the main stop on my travels through Central America. The 22 language sub-groups that make up the Mayans…Read More


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Around Lago de Atitlán - Hiking the Western Shore

Written by evilchris on 11 Sep, 2004

San Pedro can be considered relatively remote in comparison to Panajachel or Antigua. When you compare infrastructure, number of Internet connections, or number of gift shops, this is certainly the case. But because San Pedro does have a fairly constant stream of day visitors…Read More


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Spanish Schools and Hiking around Todos Santos

Written by lcampbell on 21 Oct, 2004

I lump the Spanish Schools and Hiking around Todos Santos together because the guided day hikes in the area are primarily lead by folks from the Spanish Schools. Actually, most activities – including movies, discussion groups, and field trips are organized by the Spanish…Read More


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Historical Walking Tour

Written by lcampbell on 28 Mar, 2005

Start the self-guided Historical Walking Tour at the town square. While I was intensely drawn to the beauty and activity buzz of all the town squares in Guatemala, Antigua’s plaza is especially impressive. The massive trees offer friendly shade, and combined with the…Read More


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Climbing Volcano Pacaya

Written by lcampbell on 28 Mar, 2005

The guidebook warned against climbing Pacaya without a guide. I got the impression that there were bandits around every corner, ready to jump out of the bushes at any time. So we signed up for a guided tour with Gran Jaguar. When we showed…Read More


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San Marcos

Written by lcampbell on 22 Jan, 2005

My first impression of San Marcos was not a good one. First, after being overcharged for our bus ride, we were also overcharged for our boat ride. The boat money collector blocked our way onto the dock until we paid what he demanded.…Read More


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Tikal National Park

Written by lcampbell on 04 Aug, 2004

The monkey was gesturing at me. I swear he was. I looked over my shoulder. My husband was long gone down the trail, and there was nobody else around to see. I looked back at the monkey. He was doing…Read More


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