Guatemala

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  • Guatemala - Tikal
  • Guatemala - Pacaya
  • Guatemala - Lake Atitlán

Overview

Lucky visitors to Guatemala are treated to one of Central America’s most diverse little countries. Packed full of adventures, scenic gems and a dizzying array of ancient monuments and culture – there are plenty of surprises worth uncovering in the ‘Land of Trees’.

Enjoy an intoxicating blend of superb culture and nature, with some rich Guatemalan coffee to keep you buzzing. You’ll explore fascinating Maya ruins, the dizzying heights of Tikal’s pyramids and the charming and lively UNESCO city of Antiqua, with its stunning architecture and cobbled alleyways. For more active pursuits; take a trek through jungles, scale volcanoes, try some white-water rafting or zip line through the cloud forest to get up close to some of the 170-bird
species that live here.

Guatemala may not have as many national parks as other destinations, but it does boast some of the most impressive, due to the stunning landscapes and fascinating ancient monuments. Mostly given to bird watching, you’ll see toucan and quetzal – the national bird, hummingbirds and red-tailed hawk on your Guatemalan adventure.

Lake Atitlan National Park is famous for its natural beauty and the colourful Mayan villages that surround it. Three impressive volcanoes loom down over the crater lake, adding to the majestic beauty of the area. Take a boat trip on the lake, stopping to explore the local villages and hike or take a 4x4 drive through the Lake Atitlan region to spot the national bird of Guatemala - the Quetzal, as well as Guatemalan deer mouse and black-handed spider monkeys.

Explore the colourful markets at Chichicastenango, which lie about an hour north of Lake Atitlan and provide a fascinating glimpse into local life as well as the chance to shop for food, textiles and bags.

Ancient Tikal is the most famous of Guatemala’s Maya sites. Known as El Peten, explore the impressive temples which sit within the national park. Hike through the jungle, accompanied by the sound of howler monkeys and tropical birds as you go in search of Tikal’s five elaborate temples. Pacaya Volcano is one of Guatemala's most accessible volcanoes. Still active, the Volcan de Pacaya is only about 30 minutes from Antigua and the most visited in the country.

 

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Quick Facts - Guatemala

Travel Seasons

  • Dec-Apr - High Season. The busiest time and highest prices are around the key holidays Christmas, Easter and New Year. Easter in Antigua gets very crowded so book early.
  • May-Sep - Low Season. Rainy season with daily afternoon rains, which can make it cool in the highlands and muddy in the jungle. Much less crowded, prices drop.
  • Oct-Nov - Shoulder Season. Rains ease up, but hurricane season is in October. It's a good time to go visit or go hiking in the Highlands with clear skies and mild temperatures.


General Information

  • Capital city - Guatemala City
  • Currency - Quetzal
  • Language - Spanish
  • Size - 108,900 km² (42,040 sq miles)
  • Population - 16.91 million (2017)


Health & Safety

  • Travel insurance is essential for all international travel. Click below to find out more:

  • The CDC recommends the following vaccinations for Guatemala: hepatitis A and typhoid. Check with your doctor which other vaccinations you might need and make sure your routine vaccinations are all up-to-date.
  • The Zika Virus is present and precautions must be taken, find out more about the risks here >>
  • Malaria is present in some rural areas of Guatemala lower than 1,500 m, with no risk in Antingua or Atitlan. Get medical advice on which prophylaxis to take if necessary.
  • It is best to stick to bottled water.  


Tourist Information 

Pros & Cons

Pros 

  • Stunning natural beauty
  • Remarkable architecture 
  • Archaeological sites and museums
  • Wide range of adrenalin activities
  • Superb flora and fauna 

Cons

  • Check with the Foreign Office about any current volcanic eruptions which may affect travel to Guatemala

Travel Info

Arriving in Guatemala

  • The main gateway is the international airport La Aurora in Guatemala City, which was recently modernised. Flights mostly arrive from Central and North America. The second airport is Flores, Petén with flights from close destinations such as Belize, Honduras and Guatemala City. 

Getting Around

  • Regular domestic flights operate between Guatemala City and Flores only. 
  • There are several first-class (Pullman) inter-city bus companies which originate or end in Guatemala City. Most tend to leave in the mornings and it's worth buying a ticket in advance to guarantee a space. 
  • The Caribbean town of Livingston is only accessible by boat while in Lago de Atitlan fast fibreglass boats whizz between the villages.

Visas

  • Most nationalities don't need a tourist visa for Guatemala, including UK, USA, Canada, Australia and many EU countries, but check before you travel. 

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