Why I Visited These 6 Off Path Destinations In Guatemala

Why I Visited These 6 Off Path Destinations In Guatemala

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

Though Guatemala has been rising in recognition 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

One of the crucial fashionable locations to go to in Guatemala is Antigua, the nation’s colourful colonial capital. Antigua is quaint, lovely, and surrounded by volcanoes, two of which (Pacaya and Acatenango) are fashionable for mountaineering.

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 protected areas which can be 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, situated about two hours away from Antigua, is likely one of 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 price a few {dollars} for a trip.

San Marcos is a hippie paradise, San Pedro is an inexpensive haven for backpackers, Santiago is house 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 might not be identified for its seashores in the way in which 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’ll be able to 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 achieve, Semuc Champey is likely one of the most breathtaking locations in Guatemala.

Positioned 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 among 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 referred to as Xela, and completely fell in love with this metropolis.

It’s Guatemala’s second-largest metropolis after Guatemala Metropolis, but it surely has a totally totally different vibe. It’s protected and delightful, with distinctive structure and a local weather that continues to be cool and delicate year-round.

Xela is a superb place to take Spanish courses for a particularly inexpensive worth. (So is Antigua, however since Xela is much less touristy, you’ll be able to apply 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. Positioned within the jungles of the northern a part of the nation, Tikal is house to among the best Mayan ruins on this planet.

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

In case 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 in the future to see them!)

Tikal ruins in Guatemala

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