Guatemala is a fascinating and very cheap country in which to travel. The highlands of Guatemala have interesting and colurful indigenous markets and towns to visit such as Chichicastenango. There's beautiful colonial towns to visit such as the old capital city of Guatemala, Antigua. Lake Atitlan makes a beautiful and scenic place to relax in hotels or go hiking for a fews days. But the real highlight of any holiday is the Mayan ruins of Tikal. The only thing Guatemala lacks are decent beaches - if you want a beach vacation after your tour it's best to had to one of the Cayes in neighbouring Belize.
Guatemala Travel Highlights
Antigua is a beautiful colonial town, just 40 minutes from Guatemala City - as such most people stay here at the start of their trip. Antigua is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the most beautiful colonial towns in all Latin America.
Chichicastenango - on Thursdays and Sundays one of Latin America's largest indigenous markets takes place at this fascinating small highland town.
Panajachel is the largest of the lakeside towns of Lake Atitlan. Lake Atitlan is a beautiful place to relax, explore indigenous communities or go hiking amongst the volcanoes.
The Maya ruins at Tikal are quite possibly the most spectacular ruins in all of Latin America and the highlight of all vacations and tours to Guatemala.
Other Vacation Ideas
Flores, the capital of Petén, is set on a tiny island in Lake Petén Itzá in Northern Guatemala. Its easy pace and dignified atmosphere is embodied in its genteel cobbled streets and ageing, red roofed houses, rising up a hill presided over by a twin-domed cathedral. Flores is small enough for tourists to explore in a couple of hours, but it offers some good restaurants and excellent lake views. There are some good Spanish Schools on the other side of the Lake. Flores is the main gateway for visits to the Mayan ruins at Tikal. Taca has cheap flights from Guatemala City to Flores. From Flores / Tikal one might want to travel onwards to Mexico.
At the foot of the Cuchumatanes mountain range, activity in Huehuetenango (or Huehue) revolves around coffee growing, mining and farming. It is known for its daily Indian market, which is filled with traders who come down from remote parts of Guatemala to sell their goods.
Quetzaltenango is the second city of Guatemala and is the centre of the Quiché Maya people. The city itself is mainly modern but the restoration of it's narrow streets of the 19th century town centre gives it a historical feel interesting for vacations. Quetzaltenango makes an excellent base from which to visit surrounding hot springs, volcanoes and market towns. There is a market at Quetzaltenango on Tuesday.
The boat journey up the Rio Dulce, through the sheer-sided canyon, is still held to be one of the best things to do in Guatemala. As it is on the Caribbean coast, the town has a very carribbean and laid back feel. Rio Dulce village lies on the eastern extent of Lake Izabal, either side of the Rio Dulce River. It's an interesting place to relax for a few nights on your Guatemala travels. Villa Caribe is a good nearby hotel.