6 Awesome Places to Visit in Guatemala

Guatemala is a beautiful country located in Central America, bordered by Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. Known for its stunning natural landscapes, ancient Mayan ruins, vibrant culture, and colonial architecture, Guatemala has become an increasingly popular tourist destination over the past few years. If you're planning a trip to Guatemala, here are six awesome places you should definitely visit.

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The former capital of Guatemala during the Spanish colonial period, Antigua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most picturesque cities in Central America. Founded in the early 16th century, Antigua still retains much of its colonial Spanish architecture, with beautiful churches, monasteries, palaces, and cobblestone streets. Major sights include the majestic Cathedral of Santiago, the imposing El Carmen church and monastery, the Santa Catalina Arch, and the colorful central plaza. With a spring-like climate year-round, Antigua makes a lovely base for exploring nearby volcanoes and Mayan villages. 


The ruins of Tikal are one of the most impressive Mayan sites and Guatemala's most famous attraction. Hidden deep in the dense rainforests of Petén, Tikal features soaring temple pyramids, spacious plazas, ballcourts, palaces, and stelae. Dating back to between 200 to 900 CE, Tikal was one of the largest and most powerful Mayan city states. Climb to the top of Temple IV for panoramic views over the jungle canopy and get a sense of this ancient civilization. The park is filled with native wildlife like monkeys, colorful birds, and if you're lucky, glimpses of jaguars. 

Semuc Champey

One of Guatemala's most stunning natural sights, Semuc Champey is a natural limestone bridge with a series of turquoise pools underneath, great for swimming and cliff jumping. Located near the small town of Lanquín, this gorgeous 300m long cascade is set amid lush tropical forests in the Alta Verapaz region. Take a day to relax and swim in the refreshing pools, explore the surrounding caves by candlelight, or go tubing down the nearby Cahabón River. 

Chichicastenango Market

The famous market of Chichicastenango gives a fascinating look into the culture of the indigenous K'iche' Mayan people and is one of the largest traditional markets in Central America. Every Thursday and Sunday, local vendors from the surrounding hills flock here to sell handicrafts, produce, flowers and textiles. Watch the ritualistic burning of copal incense and admire the colorful woven fabrics and crafts. Be sure to bargain for souvenirs like masks, pottery, and woven textiles. Don't miss the impressive 400-year-old Santo Tomás Church overlooking the market. Places like this are often a part of authentic tours of the country.

Rio Dulce

The rugged Rio Dulce is located where the Caribbean Sea meets Guatemala’s eastern border. This is Guatemala’s aquatic playground, with opportunities for boating, kayaking, fishing, birdwatching and more. 

Pacaya Volcano

Located just 50km south of Antigua, the smoking black cone of Pacaya, a still active volcano, provides a challenging but achievable hike. Along the way, admire views down into the volcanic crater and see red-hot lava stones. As you reach the summit, feel the heat rising from the lava flows below and perhaps even witness small eruptions of lava. Just remember to hire an experienced local guide to lead you on this adventure.

With captivating natural beauty, ancient ruins, indigenous culture and colonial charm, Guatemala has so much to offer visitors, and you won’t be disappointed. From adrenaline-pumping adventures to laidback town squares, you're sure to find plenty to enchant you in this diverse country. So, start planning your Guatemala itinerary and get ready to be awed by the top destinations this Central American gem has to offer.

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