Why I Visited These 6 Off Path Locations In Guatemala

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Have you ever ever thought-about visiting Guatemala? I spent a number of months touring on this underrated Central American nation, and these have been my favourite locations.

Though Guatemala has been rising in reputation as a vacationer vacation spot, it nonetheless doesn’t obtain as many guests as neighboring Mexico, which noticed over 18 million tourists in 2022.

In the meantime, Guatemala peaked at 2.5 million guests in 2019.

Atitlan Lake in Guatemala with two piers going out into the water and two mountains in the distance

Probably the most fashionable locations to go to in Guatemala is Antigua, the nation’s colourful colonial capital. Antigua is quaint, stunning, and surrounded by volcanoes, two of which (Pacaya and Acatenango) are fashionable for climbing.

However these are some extra off path locations in Guatemala that shouldn’t be missed:

Archway in Antigua Guatemala

1. Guatemala Metropolis

Many guests skip proper over Guatemala Metropolis and head instantly from the airport to Antigua, about one hour away.

Though Guatemala’s capital metropolis will get a foul repute for being harmful, there are secure areas which are price visiting. It’s gritty, vibrant, and concrete, and jogs my memory of Mexico Metropolis.

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Main square in Guatemala City

2. Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan, positioned about two hours away from Antigua, is among the most magical locations in Guatemala.

It surprisingly jogged my memory of Lake Como in Italy, with its dramatic surroundings and clear blue water. The cities round Lake Atitlan every have their very own distinct persona, and you may get round to all of them through lancha — small native boats that solely value a few {dollars} for a trip.

San Marcos is a hippie paradise, San Pedro is an inexpensive haven for backpackers, Santiago is dwelling to conventional Mayan tradition, and Panajachel is a bustling hub on the lake.

empty wooden pier leading to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, Mountain View in the distance

3. El Paredon

Guatemala is probably not identified for its seashores in the best way that neighboring nations are, however this nation has a number of nice seashores.

I visited El Paredon on the Pacific Coast, about two hours from Antigua. This sleepy fishing village has been reworked right into a laidback surf city in the previous few years.

Along with browsing, you may go to a sea turtle hatchery or take a ship tour of the close by mangroves, which empty out into the ocean.

Sunset on the beach in El Paredon, Guatemala

4. Semuc Champey

Though it’s not straightforward to succeed in, Semuc Champey is among the most breathtaking locations in Guatemala.

Situated about 9 hours away from Antigua down bumpy, winding roads, Semuc Champey is a pure formation deep within the jungle identified for its pure tiered limestone swimming pools with clear turquoise water.

Swimming within the swimming pools and waterfalls, tubing on the river, and caving are simply a number of the adventurous actions that await you at Semuc Champey.

Aerial view of pools at Semuc Champey

5. Xela

I spent two weeks in Quetzaltenango, higher often called Xela, and completely fell in love with this metropolis.

It’s Guatemala’s second-largest metropolis after Guatemala Metropolis, but it surely has a very completely different vibe. It’s secure and exquisite, with distinctive structure and a local weather that continues to be cool and gentle year-round.

Xela is a superb place to take Spanish courses for an especially inexpensive worth. (So is Antigua, however since Xela is much less touristy, you may follow extra!) There are additionally volcanoes and sizzling springs close by.

Main square of Xela, Guatemala

6. Tikal

Tikal Nationwide Park is a must-visit vacation spot in Guatemala. Situated within the jungles of the northern a part of the nation, Tikal is dwelling to a number of the best Mayan ruins on this planet.

This historic metropolis is a sight to behold, and I discovered it to be a lot much less crowded than comparable ruins in Mexico. That is partially attributable to its measurement (Tikal is very large) and the truth that it doesn’t obtain almost as many guests.

Should you’re actually up for an journey, go to El Mirador. These distant Mayan ruins are solely accessible through a two-day hike or an costly non-public helicopter. (I didn’t make it to those ruins, however I’d love to return to Guatemala someday to see them!)

Tikal ruins in Guatemala

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