Places to visit in Guatemala

Stretching from the Pacific to the Caribbean coast, Guatemala is a hugely varied country. The west is peppered with volcanoes, the north east is covered in verdant jungle, and the interior offers beautiful towns, waterfalls and Mayan ruins. Our sample itineraries include many of the highlights, but it’s impossible to include everything! If you would like guidance on what will work best for your family, please get in touch and we will be happy to help.

Places to visit in Guatemala - teenager on boat trip with parent on Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan is one of our favourite places to visit in Guatemala – there’s kayaking, cliff jumping, boat trips, hiking, and much more

Antigua & Pacaya Volcano

Antigua is just lovely, a delightful mix of cobbled streets, pastel-coloured houses, pretty plazas dripping with frangipani blossom and all set against the backdrop of a perfect cone volcano. Climb up to the viewpoint above town for stunning views, then stroll through the streets, past imposing churches before stopping to refresh yourselves at a rooftop café.

Santa Catalina Arch, Antigua

Outside the city, you will find Pacaya Volcano, which is well worth climbing for its spectacular views as well as the opportunity to see a (moderately) active volcano up close. Near the top is a vast lava field from the most recent eruption and there are various steaming vents where you can catch a sulphurous whiff of the roiling lava below.

Or it is possible to tackle Acatenango Volcano on a challenging overnight climb to witness the explosive eruptions of Fuego Volcano (older, experienced hikers only).

Volcano Fuego, Guatemala

Deep in the jungle lie the famed ruins of Tikal, the trees alive with the deep-throated cackle of howler monkeys. Tikal has the unusual distinction of featuring on the UNESCO World Heritage list not only because of the Mayan ruins and history but also the incredible natural world. Climb the steps to the top of a pyramid, with intricate carvings adorning the giant stone blocks, for superb views and a sense of the enormity of the site.

Mayan ruins at Tikal -photo gallery 3
Lake Atitlan

Set against a backdrop of two perfect volcanoes and dotted with traditional villages, Lake Atitlan is a scenic marvel. This really is Central America at its finest. Stroll through markets, past locals wearing beautifully embroidered smocks, head out onto the lake by kayak or SUP, or just find a quiet spot and soak up the extraordinarily beautiful views. Bliss.


Every Thursday and Sunday the little town of Chichicastenango is transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour, with traders congregating from across the country to sell their wares. Walk past stalls laden with brilliantly coloured textiles, intricately painted wooden sculptures, carved masks, beautiful pots and a million other items. There’s jewellery, sandals, incense, fabric, CDs, fresh fruit and vegetables, squawking chickens and ducks, cushions, baskets, belts and so much more. Give the children a small amount of cash and unleash them to bargain (hard!) for that perfect souvenir!

Semuc Champey

One of the most beautiful wonders of nature in the country, Semuc Champey is created from a natural land bridge 500m long which forms the backbone of a series of descending pools and small waterfalls. The water that fills the pools comes from the Rio Cahabon, churning as it plunges into an underground chasm from where it reemerges downstream at the end of this massive limestone overpass. This is a great place to have a wild splash around, jumping and swimming into the pools, surrounded by sub-tropical forest- a natural water park.

Rio Dulce

Rio Dulce (Sweet River) begins in Lake Izabal and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Journey through the canyon, beneath towering limestone cliffs over 300ft high covered with tropical vegetation, following the ancient commercial route of the Mayas. On your cruise, you will cross through ‘El Golfete’, the wider area of the river in which the Chocon Machaca Park and the floating gardens are located. You also stop at Ak’Tenamit, a local cooperative before arriving on the coast at Livingston. 


The only town in Guatemala in which the Garifunas settled in the 1800s. It has a unique laid-back ambiance that will remind you more of a Caribbean island than of Latin America. From here you can visit the Siete Altares, a beautiful site where seven freshwater pools flow from the rainforest to the Caribbean Sea. On the opposite side of Livingston Bay lies Punta De Manabique, one of the most beautiful beaches on the coast and home to tapirs, manatees, and sea turtles and where you can snorkel with turtles just 10m from the short.

Pacific Coast

Guatemala’s wild Pacific Coast is a mecca for surf lovers. Very different in feel to the Caribbean coast, this is where waves hit hard, sleepy fishing villages provide an insight into local culture, and mangrove boat tours can be enjoyed.  However, if you are looking for swimming and relaxation on tranquil sandy beaches it would be better to head to neighbouring Belize.


Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.

01728 752751

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